Megatrends: A Cultural Movement.

Megatrends: Cultural Movements

At Merit, one way we face this challenge is by looking at megatrends. Megatrends are cultural movements. They point to values under negotiation in a society — to narratives around what is desirable and what is not. Whereas trends are by definition fleeting, megatrends span across industries and often signal long-term change. Adopting megatrends doesn’t mean following the latest flash in the pan. Instead, megatrends provide brands with an easy “in” to the consumer’s mental landscape. They allow a brand to align with a general concept — for example “organic” or “blockchain” — that consumers already care about. They create a brand identity that is simultaneously unique and relatable.

Megatrends: Consumerism

Another example is what we call “consuming experiences.” This megatrend describes how many people in modern cultures “collect” new experiences as a form of romanticized consumerism. Romantic consumerism, as Yuval Noah Harari describes in his book Sapiens, exists at the intersection between two prevailing cultural myths. Harari asserts that the first myth, Romanticism, tells us that “in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships… cuisines… music.”

Megatrends: World Class Examples

Consider, for example, Chick-fil-A’s cell phone coop. In 2016, the sandwich chain launched a campaign giving free ice cream to families who left their phones in the “coop” for the whole meal. In a similar spirit, the Dutch museum Rijksmuseum strongly discouraged the use of phones, inviting guests to sketch the art they saw instead. Other organizations joined in “banning” or discouraging cell phone use in favor of human connection and reflection. Many consumers rejected this movement, but for others, it resonated. It was countercultural, a bit against the grain. And often, that’s how new megatrends begin. A strategic understanding of megatrends doesn’t mean blindly chasing what others are doing. Maybe your brand can take a megatrend into an industry where it’s desperately needed. Or maybe, what’s truly needed is the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing.



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Hello. We are Merit. We are business consultants and futurists who activate brands with creativity and rigor. Market Invention is the philosophy that drives us.