What each model must survive 2023: relevancy and belief

With the economic outlook for 2023 looking decidedly gloomy, business as usual for brands won’t cut it. Instead, they need to make crucial changes now to prepare for the future, says Wolff Olins’ Wayne Deakin

With the first Christmas marketing live by Halloween, the festive season began early this year. But with minds now fixed on the all-important ‘golden quarter’, brand owners must not lose sight of what is, arguably, their greatest challenge if they are to survive and prosper in 2023: the need to deliver unprecedented levels of relevancy and trust.

Consider the context as we approach the new year. Economic output shrank 0.2% in Q3 – the first fall in GDP since the start of 2021, Office of National Statistics figures recently showed. Consumer confidence fell significantly below the score for September 2021, 18 months into the worst of the pandemic. Six in 10 Britons expect to have less money to spend over Christmas, while 8% plan to buy no gifts at all. And the Bank of England has warned we stand on the brink of the longest recession in 100 years.

Gen Z – which will be the largest generation, at around 82 million in the US, by 2026 – and its younger cohort, Gen Alpha, are among the most sceptical of consumers when it comes to brands. In the US, for example, 78% of Gen Z are sceptical of brands’ commitments to equity, diversity, and sustainability. Meanwhile, just 8% feel ‘seen’ – for which read ‘understood’ – by brands.

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