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2018 Game Changers… And Why It’s Imperative You Know Them For 2019

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2018 Game Changers… And Why It’s Imperative You Know Them For 2019

By Claire Murray, Brand Innovation Supervisor, The Marketing Arm


It’s the most wonderful time of the year… when trend reports projecting the next trip around the sun begin filling your inbox!


While these pdf files full of brand wisdom, future innovations, and insights are undoubtedly valuable and a necessary holiday read, there is something incredibly more important that should be done first: an assessment of innovations and trends that have disrupted the consumer landscape in 2018. You know, the game changers! The things that grabbed the attention of consumers and changed their habits and expectations.


So, before we ring in a new year, let’s take a few minutes and think. What changed the game in 2018? What changed for your consumers? And then the best question of all… what does that mean for you and your brand in 2019?


While the list of game changers could easily go on and on, here are four that are on our radar.


#1 Blockchain

From Bitcoin buzz to big time Wall Street deals, 2018 was a year where blockchain broke out of the shadows and made a name for itself. With applications that seem nearly endless, the brands that strategically utilize this technology in 2019 are set to please consumers with transparency, trust, and business efficiency. With massive brands like Walmart and the music industry testing the blockchain waters, it’s time to see what the application is to your brand. In 2019, blockchain will no longer be a buzzword but a technological reality.


Why it matters:

Transparency and trust will continue to be highly important to consumers in 2019 and blockchain is a technology that can meet that need. Brands that utilize the power of the blockchain will not only get ahead, but will deeply resonate with consumers.


#2: Rebranded Genders

Masculinity and femininity were both redefined in 2018. With the focus on traditionally taboo topics such as mental health, grooming regimes, parenting roles, and even monthly cycles becoming more open and fluid, both genders are set for confident individuality in 2019. As brands look at their consumer profiles for the coming year, it would be wise to view them through the lens of the updated femininity and masculinity – even motherhood and fatherhood!


Why it matters:

Gender evolving means that culture is evolving. And in 2019, a brand being culturally tone deaf is not only a recipe to be tuned out, but an unforgivable mistake for many younger consumers.


#3: Sensory Lead Marketing

With it being scientifically proven that experiences and products are more memorable based directly on how many senses they activate, sensory marketing saw a huge surge in 2018. Consumers are so digitally saturated that it’s becoming more difficult to break through the noise and get their attention – so in 2019, brands will fight it out by activating consumers’ senses (touch, sound, scent, taste, sight). Read more about the power of sensation here.


Why it matters:

The world will only get louder and more crowded in 2019, meaning that any way to stand out must be utilized. Currently, only 28% of marketers are utilizing all five senses with their consumers, which means this area is ripe with opportunity.


#4: Holistic Wellness

2018 was a year where health officially became more than just a physical state and what was on a physician’s chart. To our consumers, health now means so much more – it encompasses the holistic being that they are and captures how healthy they are overall. Some examples of the expanded definition of wellness include: social media wellbeing, emotional health, financial health, relational health…etc. The list truly could go on! In 2019, be prepared for consumers to want to more heavily invest in and engage with brands who are contributing to their holistic wellness.


Why it matters:

The pace of our consumers’ lives is so fast that they are now obsessed with the idea of self-care and more aware than ever before that holistic health matters. 62% of millennial consumers now believe that in order to survive in the future, every brand will need to have a wellness component.



If you’re curious about other 2018 game changers or trends that will rule the world stage in 2019, let us know! We lead the industry in client education by consistently equipping our clients with must-know innovations, insights, and trends.


2019 is going to be incredible and even more so if we take the learnings and game changers from 2018 with us. As Mark Twain said, “the best way to get ahead is by getting started.”



About the author:

Claire Murray is a trendwatcher, innovation writer, speaker, and travel enthusiast who works within TMA’s Innovation Strategy group from Washington, D.C.