Joining The Big Conversation Manchester


What did we learn when we hosted Mintel’s The Big Conversation? Strategy Executive, Emma Young shares her learnings from a morning of insights and trends.

Emma Young Emma Young Strategy Executive Manchester Mintel The Big Conversation Manchester

Hosted by Dentsu Aegis Network, and with a packed audience of our people and clients, we joined The Big Conversation with Simon Moriarty, Mintel Director of Trends EMEA. The session was divided into two as he looked at the concepts of Individualism and Connectivity, and the trends that weave their way through these. First up was the concept of Individualism and its three trends: Total Wellbeing, Redefining Adulthood and Challenge Accepted.

Looking first at Total Wellbeing, Simon acknowledged the growing trend of individuals seeing their body as an ecosystem and seeking solutions personal to them. Putting this to the panel, Emma Mead, Director of Ecommerce at Holland and Barrett said, “One of our [Holland and Barrett’s] points of difference is advice, every colleague in our stores is qualified to give tailored advice. The problem at the moment is there’s so much information out there… how do you help customers navigate what’s right for them?”  

At the heart of this trend is new technology, and one current development on trial from researchers at RMT in Melbourne is a swallow-able sensor that could provide a better understanding of the microbiome and consumer gut health. Holland and Barrett have developed Health Box, a subscription service, giving consumers an online consultation that then feeds into personalised advice and a delivery of supplements tailored to them. 

The next two topics, Redefining Adulthood and Challenge Accepted, looked at the changing experience of the everyday. From the economic challenges facing Gen’s Y and Z – and the gap between the milestones they’d like to achieve (e.g. home ownership) and the problems they face (e.g. saving for a deposit) – to challenging ourselves to achieve something every day, be it better food choices or being active. These experiences provide opportunity to brands to get behind consumers’ needs.

In the second part of the session we were introduced to the concept of Connectivity, and the three themes which sit underneath this: On Display, Social Isolation, and Rethink Plastic. The first two trends – On Display and Social Isolation – look at our relationships with social media and the world available to us through our phones.

Firstly, through On Display we thought about how our ability to interact with brands has changed because of social media: consumers are now able to reach out to brands directly to praise or criticise a brands’ actions, and responsiveness from brands is key here. There was also acknowledgement of #JOMO (joy of mission out), and the growing traction of this trend as people consciously take time away from social media. On this subject, panellist and Group Head of Clients at iProspect, Heidi Kenyon-Smith noted that there’s a growing trend towards encouraging children to be bored – teaching them to spend time on their own.

Linked to this, Mintel’s next trend, Social Isolation, continues to permeate the public consciousness globally. Whilst tech is often considered a contributing factor of the loneliness epidemic, it also provides an opportunity for users to find a way out of loneliness. This enables tech to become a window into communities and help services.

Finally, Simon opened the floor to discuss the last trend, Rethink Plastic. Whilst taking the viewpoint that plastic isn't inherently bad, Simon highlighted that the current throwaway culture of plastic has increased the need for innovation in recycling. People need support to make their consumption habits and this allows brands to become enablers for consumers in the market to make sustainable choices easier.

Emma Mead of Holland and Barrett, recognises the challenge to both consumers and brands when it comes to packaging, noting that some compostable solutions can only be composted in industrial recycling units, which are not widely accessible, and options such as glass raise other complications. This issue is something that brands are beginning to tackle, and it’s clear that consumers are ready and willing for solutions.

If you’d like to learn more about these trends, you can read Mintel’s report here.

Emma Young Emma Young Strategy Executive Manchester Mintel The Big Conversation Manchester
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