Paving the way for creative thinking in 2022

The events of the past two years have caused a shift in consumer habits, online behaviour and workplace set-ups, sparking new trends for the creative world. 

The events of the past two years have caused a shift in consumer habits, online behaviour and workplace set-ups, sparking new trends for the creative world.

But if there’s one thing we’ve all learned, it’s that the future can’t be predicted, especially in fast-paced creative environments. What we can do, however, is monitor emerging trends and try to keep our collective finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not in the current landscape.

With this in mind, the Kenyons team have rounded up their thoughts on what 2022 could have in store for those working across marketing, PR, social media, design, and video and animation.

First up, our Managing Director, Rosie Kenyon, shares her thoughts on what direction the industry could be heading in… 

“Brands will be increasingly called to act on their promises. Many brands are aware of the need to demonstrate their values and stand up for just causes – many have been doing their bit for a number of years. Some brands, however, have been paying lip service in the form of promises or implied promises in adverts and other promotional communications. 

Now, with important action needed on many fronts – the environment and equality being two significant aspects that organisations can make significant contributions to – consumers are looking past words and looking for brands that deliver and genuinely seem to care beyond their bottom line.  

Further actions will also be taken to make the world of social media a fairer, less harmful place. Brands and comms managers (broadly speaking – agencies and individual professionals, for example) – are increasingly aware of their responsibility to nurture safe, transparent and progressive online communities, but how will they protect their audience? Different tactics will be tried, from public policies with tighter guidelines to complete switch-offs. Time will tell which tactics make the difference… 

From a marketing implementation point of view, experiential activity will rise as restrictions ease. Brands have been back to embracing this kind of activity for a little while but have been held back from going full force by changing restrictions. A potential easing in restrictions – and an overall easing of nervousness – would see brands firing up their experiential ideas once more.”

The world of PR has begun to shift more digitally over the past few years and with this in mind, Elliot Ramsey, our Creative PR Manager, discusses the onus on measurement… 

“In 2022, I think we’ll continue to see a keen focus on effective measurement and evaluation in the PR industry. The days of measuring coverage by column inches or AVE (advertising value equivalent) are largely behind us, and both clients and communications professionals are now focused on more meaningful ways of evaluating the success of PR outputs. 

That being said, media relations and securing press coverage is just one small facet of modern-day PR. We now incorporate social media, influencer engagement, SEO and numerous other tactics that contribute to the positive reputation of brands and businesses. 

It is this expansion of PR as a discipline that has led to the need for insight-led measurement and evaluation strategies. For clients – who, above all, want to see a return on investment – an embracing of new, digital-forward channels will ensure that PR demonstrates its value. 

These new methods are increasingly data driven. This could mean acquiring a certain number of backlinks from high domain authority websites; obtaining high-quality coverage in well-read publications; hitting a target number of visits to a landing page; or achieving significant reach on social media to build brand awareness. 

There are many ways to measure the success of PR activity, but ultimately, understanding a client’s goals and objectives, and setting achievable targets, will allow PR agencies to deliver results that have real impact.” 

Clio Young, our Campaigns Manager, talks us through her predictions for the marketing world for 2022… 

“In terms of marketing trends we’re going to see flourishing, I think the peer-to-peer promotion of products and services will be central to many agency and client-side strategies. Whether that’s through social influencers or brand ambassadors, working with people who genuinely align with the brand, product or demographic is very powerful. 

Within this strategy itself, I think we’ll continue to see agencies and businesses opting to work with lower-level influencers with smaller (but more engaged) followings. Size isn’t everything, and working with individuals who communicate authentically, are values-driven, and operate with a level of relatability can be just as impactful as working with high-level, macro influencers. 

In 2022, we’ll see relatable content shared by relatable people – and adding this strand into the marketing mix will help to boost content across other channels, through an integrated approach.” 

Looking at the key trends we’ll see in the world of brand and design, Richard Davison White, Art Director, says… 

“In 2022, there will be more focus on designing with accessibility in mind. Accessibility is all too often viewed as an add-on in the world of design, coming into focus at the end of a project, rather than being front and centre throughout. For all media, accessibility needs to sit at the heart of the creative process. 

For me personally, I will be using more high contrast in my work. Dark Mode can look great, but from an accessibility point of view, it can make it harder to use – not only in web design.  

With accessibility first and foremost in mind, the next trend I would love to see is ‘minimalization’, rather than minimalism. This doesn’t mean simplifying. It means to present the information, product, service or offer in a clear and accessible way to all audiences and markets. This minimalisation will help retain focus, removing distraction and encouraging certain behaviours and engagement from all audiences.” 

Aaron McDonald, Creative Content Director and lover of all things tech, discusses what he thinks is in store for 2022, with things just getting “better and Meta” 

“With high-speed 5G internet growing in availability, 8K TVs now below £1K and camera tech getting bigger numbers on the box, video and animated image quality has grown to a level where even our own eyes cannot detect the difference.  

And even though the technology has been around for some time, especially for the tech and creative industries, I see 2022 becoming the year that 4K begins to finally become a standard of digital content to the everyday person. 

One area of content that has painfully struggled to grow over many decades has been virtual, augmented and mixed reality. With tech giants such as Facebook (now Meta) redirecting their brand, and headsets becoming smaller, lighter and cheaper – like it or not, it seems the Metaverse is about to begin. 

And at the heart of all these NFTs and crypto currencies is content. I see a big push in 360 video and immersive animation, which will see it become an upcoming trend as we progress through 2022.” 

So, there you have it, our predictions for what the creative landscape holds in 2022… If there’s a trend that you think we’ve missed, let us know @WeAreKenyons!