2022 Trends from the West Coast

If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that everything you thought was true can be upended and your life totally transformed overnight. In all my years of trend watching and forecasting, I’m not sure I could have ever in my wildest dreams predicted the great life change that occurred globally in March 2020.

So, it’s hard for me to feel totally confident in making predictions for what portends to be another unpredictable year. However, in the interest of forward momentum and having a little fun, here are some thoughts on what trends we might see shaping our lives in 2022 (and, if you haven’t read my West Coast partner Kate Weaver’s bite-sized piece on food trends informing consumer habits yet, there’s more): 

Self-Care Evolves into Self-Soothing – As we move into year three of the “new normal,” we’re still looking for new ways to take care of ourselves. The self-care movement is quickly evolving into a self-soothing moment and consumers are taking it to extremes — booking extravagant vacations, paying top dollar for that new car, needing that “it” bag. What this means for brands is that if you can help fill the void we’re still all feeling in some way (and you can deliver with instant gratification), you will continue to win hearts, minds and dollars.  

Cross-Platform Audience Engagement – With brands looking at the Metaverse as the next territory to conquer, it’s important to consider not only activation in the virtual world, but integration across all platforms. Think about your campaigns in this way – first, how do they work cross-platform and second, how can they be maximized within each platform to best focus on the benefits or differentiators of that platform?  

Bespoke is Better– Once isolated to the clothing world, “bespoke” is becoming the word du jour across all industries to represent customized, personalized (read, special) experiences. I don’t think I’ve heard bespoke used more in daily parlance since I went to fashion school in the 90s. Bottom line: How are you tailoring your brand experience to meet customers where they are personally? 

ESG and Woke Washing – Remember 2020, when every company made big promises about how they were going to do their part to bring about a more equitable and just society? Well, just in time for the mid-term elections of 2022, it’s time to show how the rubber hit the road. What results do you have to share? Were those empty promises or have you made progress? If not, be transparent about why it’s been more difficult than you thought. If so, help others who may not be moving as quickly learn from your progress so they can do the same. We are, after all, in this together. Consumers are still looking to the business sector to lead the way and take a stance in all aspects of the environment, society and governance, and the elections will provide a major moment of reckoning as politicians once again stir-up the hornet’s nest of issues we are facing.  

Crypto and NFTs – In L.A., you can’t go to a meal without overhearing your neighbors talking about their latest crypto or NFT find. As much as naysayers may be tired about hearing about them, digital currencies aren’t going away. Get on board or get left behind. Our Digital team will be sharing more on this space soon, so keep your eyes peeled. 

It’s bound to be another wild ride. Buckle up.  

Kim is a leader in our West Coast office, and a member of our consumer PR and issues management teams who enjoys watching as trends take hold on the West Coast and move east. She doesn’t own any crypto…yet.