Purposeful Trends for 2019

January 4, 2019

Purpose Blog 2019 Predictions

To kick off the new year, I’m sharing a few of the trends I will be watching in 2019.

Legislative Brands

As brands continue to explore their roles in advancing social and environmental issues, I expect we will see more organizations pushing political and legislative boundaries. We saw this take off in 2018 with Patagonia, Nike and recently TOMS.

In November, TOMS announced a $5 million campaign to End Gun Violence. In addition to financially supporting organizations committed to ending gun violence in the U.S., TOMS also asked supporters to send a postcard to their representative through their website. 

Source: Trendwatching.com

An Uncertain Future for Facebook

Facebook isn’t going away any time soon and for marketers it is still too big to ignore. However, there are a few different trends right now pointing to a uncertain future. One in particular is the movement of niche brands and influencers to other platforms. Of the podcasts, blogs and influencers I follow, many have already begun migrating their FB followers to other channels. This article from Gini Bianchini provides an interesting assessments. (read here)

Social Influence

As companies seek to elevate their social and environmental impact, more businesses are looking to their partners. We saw this first as businesses looked to suppliers and manufacturers to increase sustainability then to protect human rights. In 2019, I believe this influence will extend even further into advancing social policies.

In 2018, Microsoft announced it will require all U.S. suppliers with more than 50 employees to provide paid parental leave (read here), and BlackRock, joined by other investment groups, are pushing for requirements to add more women to public company boards (read here).

Niche Business 

Seth Godin refers to it as the Smallest Viable Audience in his new book, This is Marketing. Gini Bianchini referenced it in her article about Facebook, acknowledging that niche brands will be the first to own their engagement and move away from the platform. Organizations that have identified their niche, defined their purpose and are willing to engage more authentically will be the breakthrough brands in 2019.

The Fourth Space

First it was the “third space.” Coffee shops, where people would work, socialize and hold meetings. Now, we are amidst the rising “fourth space”: co-working spaces.  While co-working spaces aren’t new, I’ve noticed a few interesting trends within the co-working space.

A. Work/Life Integration: Amenities at co-working spaces are becoming more inclusive of the entire family with child care onsite, vacation homes and family game rooms. Expect to see more creative offerings inclusive of work and entire life integration. 

B. Customization. At Columbus TEDx 2018, LC Johnson talked about her motivation to start Zora’s House, a co-working and community space for women of color. In Columbus, we have co-working spaces for women, chefs, craftmakers and in center court at the mall. Expect to see more purposeful customization among co-working spaces.

C. Business/Retail Environments. As co-working spaces redefine the work experience for small business owners, I believe we will also see more organizations blending the “fourth space” lines in 2019. Expect greater integration of office space, community space, leisure and retail. The folks at Frame outlined five brands blurring the lines for customers and employees. (read here)




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Karen Bailey is a brand purpose consultant and specializes in helping companies define their purpose and align their business around it. In 2017, she launched the blog, Purpose Greater Than Profit, to start a meaningful conversation about the increasingly important role of brand purpose, purposeful leadership and a better way of doing business.


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