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Trend Briefing 2023 round-up, Balenciaga ventures into resale, and one third of US adults believe college debt wasn't worth it.

Our annual Trend Briefing addresses the challenges of 2023

The Future Laboratory's Trend Briefing 2023 at the Royal Academy of Arts, UK
The Future Laboratory's Trend Briefing 2023 at the Royal Academy of Arts. Sponsored by Laurent-Perrier, UK
The Future Laboratory's Trend Briefing 2023 at the Royal Academy of Arts, UK

London – The Future Laboratory revealed its latest macrotrend on Thursday 6 October at the Royal Academy of Arts in London to a capacity auditorium, who gathered post-event for in-person networking complemented by Laurent-Perrier champagne.

In The Paralysis Paradox we explore how, post-Covid, markets are in flux and the realities of Brexit, COP26 and ongoing global unease are now affecting consumer behaviour. Our experts explained to attendees how Web3 is no longer a theoretical internet model of tomorrow and how the metaverse is already creating its own billion-dollar brands, businesses and organisations.

‘A brave new world of change, opportunity and challenge, one where we’re not resigning, but re-engaging, and rewriting the rules of how and why we’re doing it,’ explained Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory.

Offering solutions, as well as outlining those trends and strategic challenges that 2023 will throw at us, The Paralysis Paradox also examines how we are witnessing the rise of a 3L mindset among future-facing brands, businesses and organisations – Liability, Legitimacy and Legacy – all of which are set to change the very structure and purpose of doing business as we know it.

Strategic opportunity

The Paralysis Paradox is a macrotrend that all brands and businesses should be incorporating into their planning. LS:N Global members can access the full macrotrend here

A beverage brand which doubles as an NFT community

Leisure Project, US Leisure Project, US
Leisure Project, US Leisure Project, US

US – Leisure Project is the latest food and beverage company to elevate its brand experience using Web3. The beverage brand has built a community through a non-fungible token (NFT) launch before introducing its line of hydration and stress-easing drinks.

Targeting creative and mental health-conscious consumers, Leisure Project’s beverages are stress-balancing Wellness-Ades, which contain electrolytes, adaptogens and nootropics. To establish a loyal fan base within that group, Leisure minted a collection of NFTs a few months before products hit the shelves.

The Leisure Creature NFTs grant the owners membership to the brand’s Hydration Club, where the community co-creates the brand’s future and benefits from discounts and early access to new flavours and merchandise.

‘I think NFTs actually have a bigger benefit than the classic crowdfunding campaign,’ says Productsup’s chief innovation officer Marcel Hollerbach. ‘They keep delivering value, functionality, connections and so on, and that keeps the community alive.’

in Betterverse Bites and Crypto Dining Clubs we detail how food and drink brands can further explore Web3 opportunities.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers want to be involved in your brand’s future. Strong community ties and co-creation will supercharge your brand’s value and strengthen loyalty

Balenciaga unveils resale programme with Reflaunt

Balenciaga has launched a resale programme in partnership with circular fashion platform Reflaunt, allowing customers to exchange pre-owned Balenciaga items for store credits.

Following a successful pilot scheme the affiliation with Reflaunt will provide customer-facing logistical solutions including concierge pick-up services that include authentication, photography and pricing by the platform’s algorithm. Items will then be listed to Reflaunt's wider network including marketplaces such as Tradesy and Vestiaire Collective.

Balenciaga hopes to ‘encourage the practices of reducing, re-using and recycling', according to a press release. As the interest in second-hand clothing and sustainability increases, it’s only fitting for more brands to align their image with circular production models. Fashion brands across the spectrum have all been under fire, leading to an upsurge in brands experimenting with resale. It also gives brands the opportunity to regain ownership – and value – of their products and to capitalise on the growing need for pre-owned fashion.

Reflaunt, Singapore

Strategic opportunity

Ensure aligning with a circular production model starts with the core of your business – there is no space for eco-washing

Stat: US student loan debt highlights attitudes to education

Photography by SHVETS production Photography by SHVETS production

US – President Joe Biden’s pause on student loan repayments has thrown the lifetime value of higher education into question, with over 38% of US adults believing that attending college wasn’t worth the financial burden.

As millions of student loan debt-holders prepare to resume paying back their loans in January 2023, a survey of over 4,000 US adults by US-based data intelligence agency Morning Consult reveals growing division over the value of traditional higher education providers, both public and private – as well as an increasing lack of trust.

In addition, ambivalence about the value of for-profit and public universities may be giving community colleges and vocational programmes an edge when it comes to perceived value, the survey suggests. Among those who said they expect to apply for student loans in the next 10 years, 78% said community and two-year colleges were a good value, while 75% said the same about vocational and professional certification programmes.

Strategic opportunity

This disappointment in traditional education pathways could lead Gen Z and Gen Zalpha to further question higher education structures; they are already seeking to reform, re-assemble and decentralise outdated societal systems – topics we discuss in The Zalpha Reckoning and Social Learning Networks

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