Top Topics 2024

January 5, 2024  |  Stephanie Barkow, Abby Rennicke

BVK  |  Education  |  Travel & Tourism

Each year key themes rise to the top of the collective consciousness. Salient topics such as virtue-signaling skepticism, self-care, lifestyle reinvention, gender roles, and AI are pervading society and are likely to influence consumers for the year(s) ahead. Brands that are aware of and integrate with these cultural conversations will be poised to better resonate with their audiences.

Cause Reprioritization

Following years of pushing brands to speak up about social causes, many consumers have become disillusioned with virtue-signals. While 81% of Americans prefer brands to focus on their product/service (Kantar U.S. Monitor), values remain critical as 84% agree that companies must have a track record of acting on their values to be taken seriously (The Harris Poll). Brands that bake their values into their positioning and operations will appear more authentic and appeal to today’s skeptical audiences.

Focusing Inward & Nearby

Just as brands are being called to prioritize their core, consumers are also turning inward to prioritize themselves and their closest connections. After an era of focus on societal level challenges, Americans are acknowledging self-care as a necessity to be equipped for an impactful life (American Express Travel). This sweeping mindset has led to healthier relationships such as 58% of singles being more open about their mental health with their loved ones as a result of their focus on self-care (Bumble).

Lifelong Reinvention

The emphasis on self-care comes as Americans are living longer, healthier lives, allowing for non-linear pathways. People are increasing career exploration, with an average of 12+ job changes in peak career years (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), and are less likely to ‘settle down’ with 7% more childless households versus a decade ago (U.S. Census Data in MarketWatch). Brands that acknowledge these new norms can act as partners in their audiences’ winding life journeys.

Gender in the Spotlight

Women and girls seem to run the world with recent cultural and economic influence. Barbie, Taylor, and Beyonce dominated screens, stores, and stages with billions of dollars in economic impact (NPR). Meanwhile, advertising spots showed a dated story with men 73% more often cast in professional roles (Creative X). This pop culture moment has brought discussions of gender roles into the spotlight inviting brands to contribute with more on-pulse representation of their consumers.

Artificial vs. Authentic Intelligence

Beyond female and male roles, human vs. bot roles is a new conversation. AI is advancing with an estimated potential contribution of $4.4 trillion to the economy each year (McKinsey & Company). These projections don’t come without wariness, with over six in ten people still preferring human-created content such as marketing websites, journalism articles, and illustrations (Ipsos). Brands must proceed with thoughtful steps in this fast-changing landscape of both authentic and artificial intelligence.

If you’re ready to join the top conversations in culture, check out our general consumer and industry-specific Top Topics decks below, and feel free to reach out to us to chat.

This content was created in collaboration with members across the BVK Insights Team and BVK vertical leaders.

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is an SVP Insights & Planning at BVK

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Abby Rennicke is a Brand Strategist at BVK

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