My predictions for 2022 are a mixture of projection, prophecy and hope. But I believe they will come true to some extent at least.
Ready? Here we are:
1. 2022 will be the year of the creator
Fifty million people in the United States alone describe themselves as designers today, and that number reflects a global trend. This number is set to increase sharply with the advent of Web 3.0. Web 2.0 has turned out to be an oligopoly of walled gardens. Web 3.0 will be closer to the open Internet than it was always meant to be, helping usher in a new era of creativity.
Not only individuals, but businesses and brands will also see an increase in originality and expressiveness. Creativity will become the engine of business and brand success more than ever in 2022. More pervasive data and technology will be the differentiator. Already, some of the most valued companies – Apple, Netflix and LVMH (which owns the Louis Vuitton brand) – differentiate themselves with their innate creativity.
In 2022, we will see creativity as the differentiator for more companies, brands and people than ever before.
2. The term non-fungible token, abbreviated NFT, will be on everyone’s lips in 2022
In 2021, we saw American artist Beeple’s digital art NFT titled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” sell for $ 69.3 million, a higher price than what master paintings like Salvador Dali. An unreleased song by the late Whitney Houston was also sold as NFT for almost a million dollars. Closer to home, Amitabh Bachchan’s NFTs, including one for Madhushala’s poetry, recorded with his voice, were sold for a similar price.
And he is not the only Indian to board the NFT wagon. Stars Rajnikanth and Salman Khan and cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar are among the others who have started their own NFTs.
Brands have also started experimenting with NFTs. Pepsi launched a collection of 1,893 pieces of NFT art, called Mic Drop Genesis NFT, to commemorate the year of her birth, 1893. Nivea partnered with artist Clarissa Baldassarri, who temporarily lost her sight at the age of 19, to offer him NFT art for free. The theme, appropriate to the brand, is about the value of touch. Many more brands are entering NFTs and we will see an explosion of brand-related NFTs in 2022.
3. With the increase in non-fungible tokens, can fungible tokens be far behind? I’m referring to cryptocurrencies, of course
Indian authorities have talked about regulating or even banning cryptocurrencies, but no decision has yet been made. India is one of the largest crypto markets in the world and I suspect it will continue to grow in 2022, albeit within the confines of a regulatory framework.
After all, how are we going to buy all this NFT art if our crypto wallets are empty?
4. In 2022, the Indian consumer will favor sustainable brands
Conservationists like young Greta Thunberg and 90-year-old Sir David Attenborough have all too made us realize how on the brink of the world the world is on the brink. And the fact that if we don’t act now, the window of opportunity to save the planet will be closed forever.
We also have our climate activists in India. For example, 10-year-old Licypriya Kangujam has campaigned since 2018 to pass laws to reduce pollution and make climate change studies part of the school curriculum. At that tender age, she already addressed the UN at a conference on the environment.
Thanks to activists, crusaders and concerned citizens speaking out, public awareness of the sustainability crisis has increased, with children educating parents in many cases.
Pressure from a more conscious public will cause companies to take sustainability more seriously in 2022. And this will become a more important criterion for brand choice.
Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for sustainable products. This is because they realize that society and the environment are paying too high a price for âcheaperâ products. That said, for sustainability to be long-lasting, Indian brands will need to find cost-effective ways to produce products that are sustainable over the long term.
5. DCI – short for diversity, equity and inclusion – will become a more familiar abbreviation in 2022
DCI stands for encouraging the representation and participation of diverse groups of people in the business world and in society in general. These diverse groups include people of different genders, sexual orientations, religions, cultures, ages, abilities and disabilities.
At the organizational level, diversity has been compared to the invitation to dance; and the inclusion of actually being invited to dance. So it’s about having a diverse workforce and ensuring that everyone’s voices are heard. Some companies will make an effort to bring the IED to their workplace. Others will extend it to their advertising and communication. We may not see a dramatic transformation in 2022, but definite progress will be made in the right direction.
In advertising and communication, diversity and inclusion will mean going beyond the symbolic. It’s going to be about including humans from different backgrounds, not just in diversity stories, but in brand stories in general.
At school, we learned that India is synonymous with unity in diversity. Maybe 2022 is the year we give this idea contemporary relevance.
These are my five predictions. Now let’s get down to turning them into reality. Happy 2022!
– Sumanto Chattopadhyay is President and Creative Director, 82.5 Communications, A WPP Company. Opinions expressed are personal.