Last year, I predicted that in 2012 we will experience a new frugality (store brands), a retro revival (letter-writing, vintage style), and a boom in alternative spirituality. The latter did not happen, but I was (sort of) right about the first two. On store brands alone, as the leading economic publications attest, the growth and increase in significance was marked (http://incomemagazine.ro/articole/ce-se-ascunde-in-spatele-marcilor-proprii-din-hypermarketuri; http://www.wall-street.ro/articol/Companii/138570/produsele-marca-proprie-a-magazinelor-alegerea-pe-timp-de-criza-a-tot-mai-multi-romani.html).
As 2013 is well on its way, there are other trends and buzzwords. JWT, the leading trend-spotter, has listed its usual 100. Business magazines, websites, fashion editors and many more have come up with their own.
This year, my top trends include Infographics, crowd-sourcing everything (translations, funding, design) and fair travel, by which I understand socially conscious travel (whether travel with a social component, avoiding excessive luxury or accommodation and travel that contrasts heavily with local conditions, supporting local tourism ventures over big-brand establishment, etc.)
I am only going into detail regarding infographics, as they are the most relevant to my profession.
Say it with infographics
Charts and drawings have been around for decades, but as the world swung between the power of the written word, and “a picture is worth a thousand words” illustrations were a communication sidebar. However, as of last year, they are an increasing presence in our communication “protocols” and will continue to gather importance in 2013. Simply put, infographics are visual representations of bulk data or processes. They attempt to break down the data into manageable chunks, highlight the important aspect and clearly display relationships. Designed to be synthetic, short and memorable, infographics are also eminently shareable on a variety of platforms, from Facebook to image based Pinterest, which increases the likelihood of adopting the medium. Interestingly, research is also beginning to prove that infographics may be particularly suited to delivering “counter-attitudinal information” (i.e., facts that directly contradict one’s beliefs on a subject). At the basis lies the very nature of infographics: since they are data-based, there is a psychological bias to believing them more objective. Infographics have the added benefit of bringing marketers, analysts and designers together to discuss the best way to share information. I would therefore venture to say that, barring a major upheaval in social media platforms, infographics are the top 2013 global business communication trend, and will become a marketing buzzword.