Trendwatching Report 2018: Influencer marketing, Shopstreaming and Forgiving by Design

Trendwatching Report 2018: Influencer marketing, Shopstreaming and Forgiving by Design

Trendwatching Report 2018: Influencer marketing, Shopstreaming and Forgiving by Design

Last week, I was invited to Future of Media conference to hold a presentation on marketing trends. FoM (Creative Digital Communication conference) is about new communication trends and innovations, relevant marketing campaigns and case studies, as well as about an inspiring welcome to a new business year.

I was part of an interesting panel named “Major trends with big impact in the marketing world”, being honored to share the table with 3 top notch business leaders:

  1. Gabriela Lungu, Integrated Creative Leader, founder of Wings Creative Leadership Lab
  2. Anca Ungureanu, Vicepresident, Identity & Communication Director, Unicredit Bank Romania
  3. Laurentiu Dumitrescu, Managing Director, Digital Star

Our moderator, from the same breed of top notchers was Claudia Chirilescu, General Director, Spoon. We two were joking that we only meet at conferences and swap roles of speaker and moderator. I was the last plug-in on the list due to my last plug-in cooperation with Trendwatching, the world’s leading trend firm.

I am an independent business ambassador for Trendwatching Premium in Romania, a service available for 1,200+ world’s leading brands and agencies, including Air France, CK, Coca Cola, DDB, Deloitte, Dentsu, Disney, Google, McCann, Microsoft, Unilever, Universal Music and many more.

The new 2018 Trend Report was freshly baked by November 22nd, so the Romanian marketing and advertising community who attended FoM conference on November 23rd was the first to hear 3 of the 16 mega-trends. These 16 mega-trends form the foundation of TrendWatching’s research and analysis process.They are big, slow-moving currents that remain broadly stable year-on-year, and they can be applied across regions, industries and demographics. With each new report launched on a yearly basis, you get new trends that fit into these 16 mega trends, as well as hundreds, thousands of examples.

My choice of trends was random. Or not completely random, I tried not to overlap with Laur, who was also presenting trends. In the same time, my randomness was following one simple rule: examples that could be copied, replicated, reengineered by th Romanian professionals in the Romanian business environment.

Here they are:

  1. Mega trend 1: Status seekers. New trend: WOKEFLUENCERS
  2. Mega trend 2: Infolust. New trend: SHOPSTREAMING, China leading the way
  3. Mega trend 3: Helpfull. New trend: Forgiving by design


Maybe names like Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, DeRay McKesson, Julia Tolezano or Gurmehar Kaur are not top-of-mind references for influencer marketing, but check their Twitter, Instagram or Youtube accounts anf learn about the new breed of role models: outspoken, committed to driving meaningful change. 

  • Xiuhtezcatl is just 17, lives in in the US and is a climate activist and a hip-hop artist, with a published book and a climate lawsuit that we will hear of in 2018. He has 22,000 followers on Instagram.
  • Deray is 32, lives in the US and is the most followed Black Lives Matter activist. He ran for mayor in Baltimore and came the sixth in place. He has 1 million followers on Twitter.
  • Julia is a vlogger and journalist, lives in Brazil and uses her Youtube channel (1.2 million subscribers) to discuss gender issues, body image, homophobia and racism. She often films her low-budget, unpretentious videos whilst doing household chores or wearing pyjamas. 
  • Gurmehar Kaur is a University of Delhi student. During a February 2017 protest against campus violence, Kaur shared a photo of herself holding a placard: ‘I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone.’ ABVP is a Hindu nationalist student organization. The image went viral. Her memoir will be published in Q1 2018.

Why are these names relevant for the marketing? Because the smart brands will turn to these new type of influencers in their quest to create true connection with their consumers based on share values. These brands will wake up to the AWOKENING!

Under Armour has already took the opportunity in their latest commercial, using Yusra Martini, a Syrian refugee as their endorser. 

Check the youtube video here:


2. SHOPSTREAMING or how Chinese consumers push the limits of livestreaming

In May, Facebook announced that one in every five videos watched on the platform is now a livestream. For Chinese not living in the big cities, live streaming bring glimpses of far out styles. Moreover, 52%of Chinese consumers shop from mobile devices daily/weekly (compared to 14% globally, source: Goldman Sachs, August 2017). So, the natural response was a mix between streaming and shopping in the form of shopstreaming, the perfect fusion of retail and entertainment for Asia’s socially-savvy, mobile video hungry shoppers.

What would you say if you could make $4.4 millions in just 6 months? Pearl Bro can tell you how.

Xinda Zhan (Pearl Bro) works at a family pearl business in Zhuji, China. He began streaming the process of harvesting pearls and quickly grew a devoted audience. Customers pay $8.5 for a mussel and then watch live to see if it contains a pearl. Instead of looking for new ideas, maybe you could start looking for pearls:)

What about $1 billion in 2 minutes? Alibaba can tell you how.

Alibaba livestreamed a lavish countdown gala before their Singles Day Sale Event on 11.11. Directed by an Academy Awards producer, it featured international celebrities like Pharrell, Maria Sharapova and Nicole Kidman. 



Life is complicated and so are the consumers needs. Customers demand that brands will forgive them for a future not matching their past and adapt almost magically to their changing whims. Trackability? Forget about it, consumers will embrace offerings that adapt as if by magic to their needs - even long after purchase.

According to a survey done by Accenture in February 2017, 78% of customers say they retract loyalty faster today than 3 years ago. Life is getting more spontaneous, therefore they expect the same approach from brands: don’t make me plan ahead, adapt as I change! While many physical products are fixed, you could still shape a service around that is adaptable.

RYU activewear brand offers discounts for existing customers who change seize. Shoppers could return back the products, buy new ones at half price and the returned ones will be donated to local- fitness related charities.

Visit Oslo. Tourism Organisation “rescues” travellers from bad holiday. While you plan a truly FORGIVING innovation, you can still playfully adapt a purchase that a consumer has already made in the meantime. After a couple posted on social media about crowds blocking their view of the Mona Lisa, tourist association Visit Oslo quickly ‘rescued’ them with an all-expenses-paid trip to Oslo, Norway. Over 48 hours in September 2017, the travellers toured the city, met with Norway’s prime minister and viewed Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ (with no crowds in the way). The video for the stunt received over 1 million views. 

I did not forget that the rule for picking these trends was about scalability to the Romanian environment. I am not that old yet (and never:). So:

  1. Look for the Romanian or any local wokefluencers. Which are the people who have a purpose to change the world? Without knowing that Catalin Tenita was awarded the Communicator of the Year at the PR Gala Award a night before, I named him as a Romanian wokefluencer example. He is the voice of the civil society! There are some others, just dig a little bit to find them.
  2. We still have a lot of audience on TV and a lot of online sale events, why not to mix them like Alibaba did on their Singles Day sale event? The Voice and Black Friday? 
  3. Any tourism agency can make a similar stunt like Visit Oslo’s instead of repeating same and same tactics. They can even have an exchange: send a couple somewhere and bring another one in Romania. Not mentioning that any fashion retailer can copy RYU’s approach. I am a long time member of a FB group where women exchange clothes, be they new or worn. Some changed seizes, some have too many. Two years ago I had the idea to develop a platform to facilitate this change. I discovered one this year, it is called Shedd and it was launched in Romania. Ideas need to spread!

Long live inspiration and welcome 2018! If you want to become a billionaire, do not forget that China is creating one every 5 days:) Good luck in the new year!

P.S. If you want to get the full 2018 Trendwatching report, go here to check details: 

and contact Paul Backman, Customer Success Director at [email protected]

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