Four FINE Mega-Trends for 2024

Posted in Insights

Let us be among the first to tell you what’s in store in '24. We assembled FINE minds to identify four 2024 mega-trends, then predicted the impact they’ll have on some things we do (with you). Here’s what’s on the horizon, followed by what it means for Brand Vision, Digital Experience, Marketing Traction, and Collaboration Culture.

Mega-Trend 1: AI’s Your Ally?!
The coolest thing GenAI’s generating? A greater understanding of its limits in replacing human creativity, and potential in celebrating and enhancing it! We’re talking generative AI here–Google’s Bard, OpenAI’s DALL-E or ChatGPT–you know, the kind you got tired of hearing about in 2023. More than ⅓ of organizations already use it. It’ll increasingly impact roles rooted in language-driven creativity and may hit $1.3T by 2030. No need to run for the hills, fellow creatives. If wielded properly, AI could help up-level human creativity, not squash it.

*Source: McKinsey

Mega-Trend 2: Generation Stitching
Get used to 40 quite literally becoming the new 20 (and neither one acting their age). The population continues getting older on paper. But for brands it’s not that simple. Generation gaps (a Boomer term) close up online, and workplaces are more multi-generational. Old folks wanna be cool (“okay, Boomer”)) and Gen X thru Alpha like to meld eras. Some get along better than others, but they can all hang out together online.

Mega-Trend 3:Extreme Balance
We'll all shy away from “extra” mindsets and find many ways to embrace visual and verbal balance and coexistence. Don’t let noisy social media fool you–whatever your POV, if it’s extreme, people are getting pretty darn tired of it. With 65% of Americans saying they’re exhausted thinking about politics, it’s no wonder why our senses are in need of soothing. There’s even debate between the extremes of maximalist and minimalist interior design, or digital bells and whistles. To be “extra” isn’t the compliment it used to be.

*Source: PEW

Mega-Trend 4:Go To Grow
Today’s traveler doesn’t just fly to flop, they go to grow, and they wander to work. Despite the economy, 39% of travelers say they’ll spend more on travel in 2024. We’re thinking of new reasons to go (gig-tripping, budget bougie, etc), and re-thinking lines between where we work, live, and visit. A big driver is cultural exploration; 40% say it’s key to picking a destination.


Brand Vision

Prediction 1: Hello, “Blennials”
The convergence of Gen X, Y, Z, and Alpha created an aesthetic overload of stylistic rehashing. Y2K is now table stakes flooding the market, and maximalism has gone full tilt—trending to nauseating extremes. People will defy demographics and gravitate toward the quiet space between, ushering in a return to classic silhouettes and minimalist-inspired basics. Tonal combos and softening of harsh edges will trend with a colorcast magnetized toward blends of blues and oranges across fashion and broader design.

Prediction 2: Giddy Up, Travel Pals
As travelers continue emerging from a post-Covid haze and remote work stays status quo, we’ll see a rise in self-led extended travel and bleisure. Exploration for exploration’s-sake will circumvent classic programming. With its many regulatory and cost challenges, AirBnB alone won’t fill the void. Travelers will aim for mid-market and independent hospitality who will adopt community-centric subscription and membership programs to rival big box brands. This will build more authentic ties to location and further shift hotspots beyond major metros.

Prediction 3: AI: The Good, The Bad, and The Luxury
As AI spreads, we’ll see both increased adoption and friction. Solutions for climate modeling, environmental monitoring, or medicine will be a welcomed force of good. But AI use in branding will saturate us with homogenized design and storytelling. Look for the “luxury of craft” (a premium on raw, authentic, hand-hewn design), and the emergence of AI-prompted innovators leveraging algorithm-bending tools to spur a new wave of avant-garde.

Digital Experience

Prediction 1: Say it With Physics
The eternal dilemma–how to capture shrinking audience attention spans long enough to truly convey your value. They’ll expect improved load velocity across devices to stay engaged. And continually seamless motion will hold users through the scroll of the page, feeling the story (and brand) as they go. Visual fireworks and design maximalism will hit their limit as they clash with the requirements of UX design and move aside in favor of the subtle message of fast, frictionless delivery.

Prediction 2: Get Gamer-fied
The Atari, XBox and MOOG gamer eras are all converging on digital destinations. Sites will need to entice and enable more user interaction through gamified design. Wherever there’s a call to action, a little game makes things go, driving choices and results down to even the seemingly simplest of forms. 2024 will push web design to consider ways to make the UX engaging, fun, and memorable throughout the site for audiences that are used to playing.

Prediction 3: AI: Assisting Intuitively
AI tools will raise the bar for what site audiences expect. From recommended content and pre-filled forms, to improved chat plugins and relevant information getting served wherever you are in the world (or on the clock) when you see it, customized and user-specific experiences will become ever more prominent.

Marketing Traction

Prediction 1: Model the Mix
Rising costs, privacy controls, and looming ad-free subscription models will force advertisers to find creative ways of optimizing their funnels and closing the gap with data attribution. Marketing mix modeling will become increasingly important, especially as CTV and programmatic advertising take precedence over traditional methods and putting all your eggs in 1-2 baskets.

Prediction 2: Noise Reduction Mode
With Gen Z rising as the dominant consumers of social content, we will see a push toward “anti-aesthetic,” a rejection of clickbait, and a skepticism toward brands and influencers. Brands will need to find creative, timely ways, and perfect places to introduce more IRL and authentic content to their younger audiences.

Prediction 3: Glutbuster Content
AI is generating a content surplus on top of the existing information mountain. What that leaves room for is real thought leadership with glut-busting content. Original thinking and differentiation will be key to standing out in SERPs and in audience minds. Google and search engines will prioritize user information gain (where AI prioritizes, well, information overload).

Culture & Collab

Prediction 1: Storm Sheltering
Companies will focus on fostering stability in unstable times, creating safe spaces for folks to shine. It’s about being a shelter from the storm, reducing worry and insecurity in a challenging world, and helping people get in the right frame of mind to be human and be awesome.

Prediction 2: Connectivation
Connectivity is more important than ever for human collaboration and motivation. When you don’t always share office space, you have to share mindspace. Fostering authentic relationships to increase support, fellowship, and inclusion–whether you’re at a company that mandates your presence, or (like FINE) leaves you more room to roam.

Prediction 3: Credential Creep
As more and more AI and other software platforms run the show in 2024, companies will expedite their reimagining of credentials and secure authentication. We will see a shift away from clunky password management to device-based authentication that makes it easier to get to work.

More Insights