1) Sustainability and creating Social Impact is vital for Brands
As a sustainable branding agency with a focus on branded merchandise, we are happy to see this first trend and the impact it will have on brands. Brands of the future will be aligned with their values and will create programs and actions that further their values. Customers are demanding brands be accountable for their actions - from where and how their products are made, to standing for something greater than a product, to creating positive social change.
There is an opportunity for every company to engage with an issue or issues that are relevant. We know that there is an opportunity for branded merch to be part of telling your story in a meaningful way. Check out: http://www.50000in4.com - this is a campaign we launched in 2020 to support two non profits by making a donation to them with the sale of our Made in Canada face masks.
This is aligned with the first trend - and is more relevant than ever now. People want to know where their products are made, what is in them, what how employees are treated. What is the carbon footprint of the product, and what is the real cost to the planet, not just the retail cost?
One example is fashion. Consumers are demanding quality, purchasing local, reusing, caring about where their clothing is made, by whom and how - rather than the fast fashion consumption and throw away actions of the past.
Brands like Patagonia (and many others) are encouraging repair and reuse. And their business is growing because of the trust it builds.
3) Health and Wellbeing
Journalling, taking time for yourself and other wellness activities are more important than ever. Products like journals, great pens and colourful pencils have become more popular. These products and the focus on wellness activities can help create a necessary buffer between home and office.
We have worked with companies looking for beautiful journals for their employees along with a pen or pencil. Sprout pencils have plantable seeds in a pod instead of an eraser - so you can plant your pencil once it has come to the end of its first life. Imagine your employee opening up a 2021 kit of beautiful and sustainable swag from you. Whether this includes a mug, journal, ear buds for those ongoing zoom calls, or even tea and a candle - it makes an important positive statement when done well and can be cause for celebration if it is thoughtful, purposeful and useful.
Photo: Thom Holmes, Unsplash