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New Year, New Insights

February 1, 2024

Written By:

Julie Brock, McCall Moore, Avery Anderson, Melissa Pert, Sabrina Freeman

Welcome to 2024! Here’s a fun fact about Karsh Hagan: Did you know that throughout the quarter, our Insights & Strategy Team spends hours upon hours compiling the most important, interesting and actionable consumer insights we can find? 

We source this data from a multitude of different sources, and at the end of every quarter we work with our Media & Social Teams to create what we call the Quarterly Insights & Trends Report. We send this report directly to our clients with a full breakdown on Food & Beverage, Travel & Tourism, Banking & Finance, Healthcare, Higher Education, Social, and Paid Media.

In the spirit of the new year, we decided to give a look-behind-the-curtain, and what our experts at Karsh Hagan think will be top of mind in the coming months. This year especially, we feel that consumer sentiments will be constantly changing – and as a result, it’s imperative for brands to have a pulse on those changes as they make key decisions for 2024 and beyond.

Without further ado, here’s a sneak peek at a few of our favorite insights.

1. Authenticity in the Age of AI

2023’s word of the year was authenticity, and its relevance shows no signs of going away in 2024 due in large part to AI’s rapid ascent to omnipresence. A key way that authenticity showed up in 2023 was brands enthusiastically breaking taboos and embracing our raw humanity, and as the artificially-created becomes more and more commonplace it will be equally as popular to embrace what AI cannot replicate: the quirks and imperfections that make us human.

So, what's the takeaway? Find the unspoken truths that unite your audience and go all in. In the way that Dove embraced armpit hair and eHarmony celebrated our UNsexiest moments, your brand needs to figure out what universal yet under-discussed truth you can champion for your audience and then portray it in a raw and relatable way.

A stat to hit it home: 86% of consumers believe authenticity is vital when deciding which brands they like and support. - Stackla

2. Moments of Gathering vs. Opportunities for Connection

Late last spring, the World Health Organization made it official that we’re facing an epidemic of loneliness. Today, brands are still figuring out what that means regarding the role they need to play for their consumer. While at first it seemed to be enough to simply create environments in which people can connect, it’s becoming apparent that many of us need a little hand-holding – in other words, brands must actually find ways to help facilitate the connection.

The takeaway? If you’re planning an event or activation for your brand, make sure you’re also planning some ice breaker and/or social lubricant moments that will foster connection between attendees; for example, the way Levi’s offered various denim workshops at their 501 Experience in San Francisco.

And a stat: In a study from Sprout on what today's consumers want from brands, 46% of respondents want brands to unite people from different backgrounds, and 43% want them to act as leaders in our society.

3. Perception > Reality

Goldman Sachs predicts strong income growth in 2024 amidst cooling inflation and a robust job market. On top of that, their expectation that rate hikes have already delivered their biggest hits to GDP growth, and their view that manufacturing will recover, compound to create this belief. While all signs point to a booming economy, it’s imperative to keep consumer perception at the forefront.

What's the takeaway? Despite the facts, there’s still a sensitivity around the economy. Consumers have shifted from thinking the economy is in shambles… to thinking it’s causing shambles for everyone else. While the gap between perception and reality grows, it’s crucial that brands speak to that perception, not the reality. In other words: Keep a close tab on consumer’s mindsets, not just what the Fed is saying.

A stat to go:  In a recent Axios survey, 71% of Americans described the economy as either not so good or poor, with 51% saying it’s getting worse. Meanwhile, 60% said their financial situation is good or excellent.

If you enjoyed this Insights & Trends Report, feel free to reach out to our team at insights@karsh.com with any questions, comments, or feedback. We absolutely love insights (shocking for an Insights Team, we know) and would love to talk about them with you any time.

"Its not wether you get knocked down"

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If you could be anyone you wanted to be, who would you be? How exciting is it to think that you could start a new chapter in your life in a whole new world? Without the limitations of the physical world and human constructs that have been created around you?

Well that’s where the Metaverse comes in. There are whole new worlds being created out there that will remove the physical limitations of life and allow you to chase your dreams and be who you want to be.

Sounds pretty exciting right? Let’s dig in a little more to understand what this might look like.

SO, WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?

Simply put, the Metaverse is the convergence of all the digital things you do online into one virtual experience.

In a sense, it already exists. We sit on Zoom calls, research on the web, talk on social media, buy things on Amazon, watch streaming events and online video, and play games. The Metaverse is already here.

But think of tying all of it together and removing some of the limitations that still exist in your physical life when you access the web.

But how is this all of the sudden now possible?

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