Trend report 2021: The Future of Social Responsibility

The world didn’t stop during the pandemic. We might have predicted that people, consumers, activists, wouldn’t rally and gather because the free movement was heavily restricted. Instead, we saw more powerful change than we have in decades – and with it, real change and demands for brands have increased. It is no longer an option to be neutral.

We will take a look at a few trends that weren’t just a trend but changed our world.

1. Equality

There are no two ways about it; equality has been the one thing everyone has been talking about. After a whole decade of loyalty being the number one value for consumers, it has finally been replaced with equality. We have seen it in the #MeToo movement, LGBTQIA+ community, Black Lives Matter, and several other movements have been pushing this onto everyone’s agenda.
Saying that, the pandemic has also amplified inequality across the globe, especially in third world countries where the access to healthcare for remote areas has been challenging. We have seen firsthand what it means – and consumers are demanding strategic changes and plans from brands to help find answers.


3. Collective Empowerment

The powerful activists lead the way for consumers pushing for change too. It’s not only societal issues that have seen a difference. Consumers have also started using online forums and social media to challenge or question big corporations’ choices. 47% of Brazilian consumers agree that they are prepared to boycott companies who behave unethically1. Consumers don’t only raise a finger of wrongdoing. They rally behind and amplify the messages of brands embracing their cause and have created a new path for success.


2. Armchair Activism

#PullUpOrShutUp #BlackLivesMatters #StopAsianHate – you have seen at least one of these hashtags in the past year. Movements around diversity, racism, democracy, and even corona vaccines skepticism didn’t stop just because people couldn’t gather. Digital advocacy has transformed. It has been reinforced by strong online communities who created voices that elevated their causes by educating and mobilizing online. The online actions have translated into tangible offline change.


4. Senior Digitalization

The narrative for strategies quickly stirs towards Generation X, Y, and Z, but the generation before them, the Boomers, were the ones that were the real new market during the pandemic. They are not digital natives or tech-savvy, but the digital world was suddenly the only one they could access.
A few brands that embraced this were Xbox with their Beyond Generations campaign and several platforms that offered a new way to communicate with family and friends. Retail also saw a significant gap in the market and made it accessible for seniors to shop online.