Recent political events such as Trump and Brexit have forced brands to see retail in a new light. 2016 was a year characterized by polarized societies, the emergence of new populisms and large doses of anger.

Also, according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer posted in January this year, people’s trust in the four big institutions (government, business, media and NGOs) is at an all time low. Roy Morgan data shows that 54% Australians thinks globalisation brings more problems than it solves, 61% said the fundamental values of our society are under serious threat, and 56% thinks corruption is one of the major problems facing this country.

This says says it all, really.

So as we can see, it turns out that we have trust issues. This, combined with the shift in power from brand to consumer and the rise in conscious capitalism, leaves us wondering:

How do brands respond to this to keep up with the consumer?

TrendWatching have identified what they call five truths or forces in response to truthful consumerism that should be applied by businesses to stay meaningful and relevant:



“The accelerating expectation that consumers should be able to know everything about your brand and the world”.

We want to know everything about everything, and know it we do. Just take a look at Uber and how their work culture became a globally public affair.

Our access to information makes it hard for businesses to make mistakes that goes unseen. Which means, be transparent, don’t try to cover up faults and mistakes.

If sh*t hits the fan, be honest about it.



“Be better and make sure everyone sees it.”

It’s in our human nature trying to become better human beings – the constant strive for self-actualisation. When we achieve something great, we want people to know about it. We want status.

Status is shifting away from markers of material wealth – what I have – and becoming about who I am as a person.

The same goes for any business.

A snapshot from GoPro’s Instagram page

Take GoPro for instance, consumers strive to have their photos shared on GoPro’s Instagram page. The hashtag #GoPro currently have 27,5 million posts on the social media platform.

Businesses and brands that recognise and celebrate both their internal as well as consumers’ achievements will be respected and liked.



“Rise in demand that brands take meaningful action for the planet, the societies and individuals.”

According to Roy Morgan, 84% of Australians says helping others is an important part of who they are.

It’s not news that consumers want brands to have a positive impact on the world. We want to feel good when we buy a product we want it to reflect our core values, and knowing that buying that product will have a positive impact does just that – make us feel good about ourselves.

A good benchmark is Adidas and Stella McCartney designing a new running shoe which “feature Primeknit uppers made from Parley Ocean Plastic – a manufacturing process which replaces synthetic fibres with yarns made from recycled waste plastic from the sea.”

Parley Ultra Boost X trainers made from ocean plastic

Amazing, right?

Get amongst it. Find something worth fighting for and let the world know that you’re making a difference.



“The slow, uneven, but very real progress towards societies that accept and celebrate difference and diversity”

We see a rise in businesses communicating and showing their support in and love for diversity. It is no longer about being ashamed about who you are, pride is the new attitude and embracing it is key.

One example is fashion designer Ronaldo Fraga, who hired 28 transgender models to walk down the runway in his collection at São Paulo Fashion Week last year.

Raise your rainbow flag and celebrate the beautiful diversity of the world!



“The epic shift in power away from institutions and towards the individuals.”

The biggest contributing factor to this shift is our lack of trust in institutions. We seek and rely on information and advise from people who are like ourselves rather than trusting ‘experts’.

Also, the Internet is an endless isle of choices. Crowdfunding is perhaps the business model innovation of the past decade that best showed how liberated individuals (and ultimately shared communities) were from established corporate institutions.

If a consumer is sick of waiting around for a business to come up with that that product that only you seemed to be clever enough to come up with, she can create it herself. She has the power and resources to do so.

Dear business, recognise that you’re no longer the one with all the power, and instead ask yourself “how are we empowering our customers?”

“Brands that ground their innovation and their entire brand strategy on one or more of these truths will be on terrain that is meaningful and lasting”
– David Mattin, Global Head of Trends and Insights at TrendWatching