And a Merry Christmas to everyone! As yet another COVID-infested year draws to a close, I wondered what are the big trends we need to consider for 2022.

1. I’m the boss of me

After two years of remote working – or studying – most of us are used to managing our work life balance. This means taking breaks when you want, working on a holiday, or having champagne for breakfast.

We are not going to go back to a control and command environment easily and organizations yearning for the “good ole days” need to rethink.

2. Boss is the CEO

I did a series of 5 minute interviews with 7 Future Ready Changemakers. One of them, Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, CEO, Great Place to Work, triggered this thought – in the virtual workplace, your primary point of contact and decision maker is your boss, not your peers or the larger organization as drop-ins are harder to do. This puts a lot of pressure on the boss role and requires organizations to empower them differently too.

3. Make it easy for me – Maggification of Life

This was my top trend for 2021 and it makes an entry into 2022 too. I think this will be an ongoing trend and “Ease of Experience” ought to be a key parameter when evaluating any product or service.

DIY is an ongoing trend that continues from 2021 to 2022 too – but it’s got to be easy to do DIY – think Maggi for “home-cooked” noodles.

4. Mental Health

The pandemic has hugely disrupted social structures and norms. Digital has helped keep the transactional elements going but without face to face interactions and touch and smell, something is missing for many. Organizations and brands that are able to embed wellness into their offerings are likely to have an edge.

I got a mail offering decluttering of your home. I’m guilty of indulging in shopping as entertainment when nothing else is there to do, and wouldn’t mind using a service to clear two years of impulse purchases. Decluttering helps with mental health too. So we need to take a broader view of what helps and be mindful of that whether it is design or recovery of products and services.

5. Tolerance to Ambiguity

Generally speaking humans hate chaos and much of progress is around making life safe and predictable. Older relatives used to preface sentences with DV which stands for “divine volentum” a fancy way of saying “god-willing”. Like “DV I will be able to sell my crops next month”. That acknowledged the uncertainty of human plans. In recent decades we’ve had far more predictability in our lives, and we stopped factoring the power of Nature to throw a spanner in the works.

COVID has reversed that ongoing trend – just when we thought vaccines were the solution, Omicron crawled out of the woodwork. After two years of this, we have become more used to the chaos that is every day work and life now. The travel industry has responded with flexible options. But I think there is opportunity for more to be done in this space.

6. Me.

The pandemic has left us with much more time to ourselves. It has narrowed the focus to us as individuals. So there is an uptick in services that cater to this – beauty, learning, mental health, entertainment – both the physical and digital options for these.

Boredom is history. Noone with a phone ever needs to be bored. What does that mean for us as marketers and consumers?

Me and my book:

Speaking for myself, COVID gave me the time and space to work on my second book – Marketing Without Money! It’s officially launching on 30th December and I’m signing copies of it in Bangalore on that day – catch me at Higginbothams at 12.15pm, Gangarams at 1.20pm and Sapna at 2.45pm.

And in the spirit of “Me” here’s my new website.

Thanks to those who wrote in last week and got their free copies of the book. This week too, 5 books are up for grabs for those who write in about a key trend they see for next year. Offer is only in India and you need to share your postal address and mobile number for me to ship it to you.

I’m off for a digital detox in Coorg. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. Supply chain willing, hope Santa brings you all that you wished for 🙂


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