Thistle, MassMutual, Square & Georgia Pacific Executives Share 2022 Predictions

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As brands enter the new year, everyone is planning for what is to come. At a recent Brand Innovators event on 2022 Predictions, leaders from brands across sectors talked about trends they expect to see this year.

Happy 2022! As brands enter the new year, everyone is planning for what is to come. At a recent Brand Innovators event on 2022 Predictions, leaders from brands across sectors talked about trends they expect to see this year.


Aaron Magness, chief marketing officer at Thistle has found that the funnel has shifted in the customer journey noting that there are tons of different ways customers discover brands. He expects to see this shift transform how marketers engage consumers this year.

“If your whole marketing stack is set on ‘How do I reach Gen Z?’ you are probably missing a lot of things,” says Magness.If you flip it to how do I show respect to my customer base, either current customers or potential customers, it could look a lot of different ways. That probably shifts a lot of old school thinking of demographics to modern day psychographics. We talked about the macrotrends, I think those are very real across all generations. Are they time-starved, do they want to spend money on things that matter to them and their health? Do they care about the planet and their fellow citizens? So then if you actually are creating a business that supports all of these aspects, it is a key to finding success.” 


As the hybrid lifestyle continues into 2022, brands will look to engage consumers through a myriad of digital channels. 

“Most consumers are much more attached to their screens than ever before living through a pandemic,” says Jennifer Halloran, head of marketing and brand at MassMutual. “The stay-at-home mandates really boosted the consumption of all types of media in multiple places. In 2020, consumers were spending an average of 53 hours a week on media. Digital is the big winner, which we clearly saw in 2020 and 2021 between social, audio, and video streaming. Streaming media as a group was one of the biggest winners around the pandemic and we’re watching that and we see there's a lot more growth, so these will be key tools for us to build in 2022.” 


Shopping has evolved over the past two years and brands will continue to offer consumers hybrid experiences in 2022. 

Innovation has to be a priority, especially as we’re coming out of the pandemic,” says Tia Cummings-Hopkins, senior vice president, global brand marketing lead at Square. “So much has changed, from the way we work to the way our businesses are run, to the way consumers are shopping and engaging with brands. I think you’d be hard pressed to return to business as usual when ‘the usual’ itself has shifted. I think that brands and businesses who fail to innovate in their messaging, across their products or services, and in their marketing activities are going to be left behind by the ones who are innovating.”

As brands prepare for 2022, they will also have to navigate supply chain challenges and how this impacts their business. 

“The last two years have seen a significant change and impact happening, so much disruption and challenge,” says Laura Knebusch, vice president of consumer experience at Georgia-Pacific LLC. “But it also created a really unique opportunity for brands like ours. These are household paper categories that are very stable, and household penetration doesn't vary a lot. For a challenging reason, due to the unprecedented demand for paper products during this time, we actually saw a number of new users come into the brand. It gave us a very unique opportunity to continue to build relationships with our current consumers and reassure them during this time period, to really understand who these new consumers are and build ongoing relationships with them. Not just based on necessity, not just based on being the product on the shelf, but being the product that they choose.”

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