THE CHANGING FACE OF SOCIALISING - Tracking the global trends that will set us apart from the crowd
Diageo’s first ‘Future Series’ trend report reveals the shape of socialising in the year ahead.
In the report, the team responsible for innovation and future-gazing at Diageo, the world leading drinks company behind brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys and Guinness, isolates three main social trends expected to accelerate into the mainstream in the year ahead.
Diageo worked with a team of cultural ethnographers to study social scenes from around the world and define three trends that will be influencing how we’ll spend our time in 2017:
‘Exceptional becomes the rule’: socialising is becoming increasingly spontaneous and experimental.
‘In with the ‘in’ crowd’: the home is turning into a place to create extraordinary experiences for friends and family.
‘Optimise not compromise’: consumers want greater control and choice over what goes into their body, without compromising on excitement and experience.
Zoe Lazarus, Global Future and Culture Planning Director at Diageo, commented:
”At Diageo, we are passionate about creating drinks of the future and helping people celebrate. We have been innovating for hundreds of years and have a strong history as industry pioneers in identifying and responding to trends."
”Innovation drives our company forward and for us it means staying ahead of trends, continually creating new products, categories and experiences for people to enjoy around the world."
”Our success relies not only on understating our consumers today, but also on tracking and responding to emerging socialising trends and behaviours that will become the mainstream of tomorrow.’’
Trend 1: ‘Exceptional becomes the rule’
Enhanced and enabled by digital technology, socialising is becoming increasingly spontaneous and experimental. The diary is dead. Fixed arrangements make way for spur-of-the-moment socialising that is dictated by the weather, a whim or what’s triggered an online buzz.
Our time is precious, and with increased and sporadic working hours, we desire more from our free time and crave unique experiences. 2017 will see immersive and shareable entertainment push the boundaries as people realise a growing desire to demonstrate their individuality through social media.
Virtual reality (VR) is also expected to become more prevalent with the number of active VR users forecasted to reach 171 million by 2018 and make immersive experiences more accessible to anyone, anytime. Diageo has already delved into this with an immersive VR adventure that allows whisky fans to discover and appreciate the flavours of its Singleton single malt Scotch whisky.
Trend 2: ‘In with the ‘in’ crowd’
In 2017, we will see the home become the place to create and curate extraordinary experiences for friends and family. It will become a destination to host events that previously we would have had to go out to enjoy: our personal theatre, pub and club all turned into one.
The huge proliferation of on-demand experiences and services is shaking things up and people can increasingly entertain at home with more and more products and experiences available the touch of a button.
Technology will continue to define at-home socialising. Tapping into this opportunity, Diageo recently launched its Johnnie Walker digital mentorship programme. Using their tablet, mobile or Amazon Echo devices, whisky fans are introduced to the brand’s heritage and blending expertise through a variety of unique experiences, heralding a new era of whisky education that can be enjoyed by adults from the comfort of their own home.
Trend 3: ‘Optimise not compromise’
However and whatever, 2017 will be the year of choice. Leading a balanced lifestyle is becoming increasingly achievable and aspirational. And it’s not just technology that’s driving this trend. The increasing prevalence of clear nutritional and calorie information on packaging makes it easier to manage our diets.
This year, people will continue to opt for products, experiences and attitudes that say something unique about them. Optimising through personalisation is a case in point at The Artesian bar at The Langham in London for example, where bartenders tap into customers’ personal experiences by creating cocktails that capture their mood and essence in a glass.
Diageo is offering consumers a wider range of options than ever before with products like Baileys Almande, a dairy and gluten-free version of the original, in North America; Guinness Zero, a non-alcoholic variant of the famous stout, in Indonesia or Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer, a low-carb, zero-sugar option, in the United States.