Towards new social and societal relations (Fjord Trends 2022)

Towards new social and societal relations (Fjord Trends 2022)

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By

Sohel Aziz, Executive Director France & Benelux of Accenture Interactive

Stéphanie Lafontaine, Executive Director and Head of Design at Accenture Interactive

Ludovic Tran, director executive of Accenture Interactive France

For the past two years, the systems on which our society is based have been in the midst of disruption. But the future could hold opportunities for us that will allow us to design new organizations and imagine new ways of living together. The choices we will have to make in the near future will therefore have far greater repercussions on our world than we can imagine. And this, as we come to a point where we can no longer turn a blind eye to our impact on the planet.

Everything is moving in the direction of a change in our relationships, whether with our colleagues, brands, society, our environment or the people who matter to us. Trends identified by the Fjord Trends 2022 report 1 reveal a dominant theme: the need to provide answers to the changes in our relationship to the world. Among the five trends that emerged from this study, two should be highlighted: the end of abundance and the emergence of the metaverse.

Towards the end of abundance

The scarcity of raw materials, labor shortages or logistical problems accentuated by the health crisis are all phenomena that call into question the feeling of abundance, hitherto based on the immediacy and ease of access to most goods and services. Awareness heightened by another phenomenon: climate change. In the face of natural disasters, we are beginning to understand the impact our consumption patterns have on the planet. Brands must be ready to manage new consumer expectations, both in terms of availability and sustainability.

Those who find the right balance between affordable and sustainable products will be the best equipped to stand out. When making purchasing decisions, more and more consumers are weighing the good of the planet against the basic needs of their families. Brands will therefore have to think differently. One solution could be to offer more value to customers by selling services that extend the life of a product, rather than constantly offering updates that encourage them to change models regularly. In fashion, for example, H&M launched a clothing rental service in Scandinavia, thus turning to a more circular business model.

In this period of fragile supply chains, companies have everything to gain by looking at their logistics with the aim of developing circular models like the concept of the “regenerative company” which explores new methods and practices, such as dynamic pricing, the relocation of manufacturing closer to end consumers or the use of micro-factories.

Brands will therefore have to radically change the way they operate by reconsidering their supply chains but also by explaining to their R&D teams that innovation is not necessarily synonymous with “new product” and by leading their company and their customers towards carbon neutrality. and, beyond that, towards goals of environmental positivity.

The metaverse, a cultural revolution underway

The metaverse also appears to be a major issue. This universe offers brands and users the promise of a new space to interact, create, consume and generate income. Although its true potential remains to be defined, it carries with it all the ingredients of a cultural revolution! On this new space for meeting and exchanging digital assets (land, buildings, objects, avatars, etc.), individuals can virtually go to a place that has its own spatial logic in order to experience it, by more of the physical place where they are. The metaverse allows you to escape physical limits to spend time in a virtual space that is another version, even an extension, of real life.

This very different approach offers unlimited potential for brands. Some are already trying to integrate into this new ecosystem such as Burberry to launch its first digital collection in a multiplayer game, NASCAR to offer virtual race horses on the ZED RUN85 platform or Visa which has purchased a digital work of art to enrich its collection of historical objects. JP Morgan bank has opened an “Onyx lounge” in the virtual world of Decentraland, in reference to its division dedicated to blockchain and which allows the exchange of values, information and digital assets.

But norms and standards of interoperability will have to be defined. Brands embarking on this field must be ready to chain trials and accumulate errors, without ever forgetting to place the user experience at the heart of their concerns. Finally, they will also have to think about the ethical issues of the metaverse, such as moderation, environmental impact or even accessibility.

A new relationship to life and work

The three other trends revealed by the Fjord Trends 2022 report are also fundamental movements that the health crisis has singularly accelerated. “Taking control of your life”, “demanding the greatest transparency” and “taking care of others” are not without consequences for brands. The changes in lifestyles brought about by the pandemic have encouraged some to develop less superficial relationships or to be open to new possibilities. Everywhere, people are questioning their identity and their priorities, particularly in their relationship to work. Businesses must strive to understand these changes in terms of aspirations and lifestyles. The challenge is to find the right balance between the flexibility offered to employees and the interests of the organization. For example, in France, Accenture now offers its employees to telecommute between 1 and 5 days a week.

A more reasoned and more demanding consumption

Lack of transparency, misinformation, radicalization of discourse… with the rise of the internet and social networks, all these evils have accelerated the decline in trust in experts and public authorities. Yet trust is essential in consumer affairs as well as in public health and politics. A more reasoned consumption, in line with the values ​​of consumers, thus tends more and more to develop. Customers expect brands to honor each of their commitments and provide proof of it. Responding to this thirst for information is a way to cultivate transparency and build brand credibility. The stakes are high: 72% of consumers worldwide (and 74% of French people) say they are ready to buy another product or another brand if they are not satisfied with the information they have found. , according to a study conducted by Akeneo and Opinion Way. In France, since 2021, the e-food retailer Omie has practiced a high level of transparency, indicating on each product sold the share that goes to the producer, the packer, the delivery person, the company as well as the financing of projects. bio-agroecological.

A quest for well-being

As for the desire to take care of others – a value placed at the heart of the public debate with the health crisis – companies can no longer ignore it. They must also take into account the fact that for many patients, technology is increasingly facilitating access to medical care. In France, Doctolib, for example, enabled more than 80 million vaccination appointments to be made in 2021. The start-up Careology, for its part, has developed an application allowing cancer patients to feel more in control of their care pathway and connect to a support network.

Companies must define the way in which they integrate the notions of benevolence, well-being and attention to others, both in their organizations and in their offers. Caring for employees is obviously a moral obligation, but well-being at work also has implications for business productivity, operational resilience and CSR. Companies must be in tune with current concerns, imagine new products and services and rely on technology to meet expectations of accessibility, psychological well-being and safety, but also inclusion and experience. of their employees.

1 Fjord Trends is drawn from an annual survey of over 2,000 designers and innovators in the Accenture Interactive Design community, supplemented this year by a series of focus groups in seven international markets (UK, US States, Brazil, China, Spain, South Africa and India).

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