27 Feb 2023Keeping tenKeeping 10: insights that got us talking in February

From Gen Zers wanting relatable icons with a diverse appeal to social media users looking for joyful content and healthier tech-led habits and behaviours, brands are helping audiences navigate the digital divide. Here are the top ten insights and behavioural shifts that got us talking in February.

J’Nae PhillipsJ'Nae Phillips is an Insights Editor at Canvas8. After an early career working in fashion and media, her passion for culture and journalism grew and she made the transition to writing and editing full-time. Outside of Canvas8, she can be found writing for her style-focused newsletter or adding to her growing book collection.

🎶 Nostalgic music content attracts young audiences - Samara Joy’s wins at the 2023 Grammys represents a significant shift in younger audiences that are seeking nostalgic and future-facing content from relatable idols. User-generated content and community creativity can help brands engage with an icon's audience, allowing them to become an active part of cultural trends.

🫶🏼 Gen Z wants LGBTQ+ icons with diverse appeal - drag queen Trixie Mattel is a bonafide superstar and icon in the LGBTQ+ community whose growth and reach are fuelled by her community of avid online fans. Social media platforms can offer Gen Zers better access to intimate and authentic queer stories, which helps to develop engaged communities of fans.

Fauxels (2019)

🗣 Young people are left in limbo - generational labelling is treated as gospel for collecting data, describing groups, and self-identifying, but some people born on the cusp of Gen Y and Gen Z are rejecting both labels as they don't feel represented by either. To appeal to this shift in generational attitudes, brands can help young people's sense of belonging by harnessing micro-communities that adopt self-imposed labels.

💡 Social media users want entertaining content - in a sea of paid placements and influencer marketing, social media users are looking for content that is entertaining and lighthearted. By taking innovative and fun twists to branding and product placements, brands can stand out from typical promotion tactics through joyful moments that help people combat digital fatigue.

🍴Black Twitter foodies embody positive cultural gatekeeping - The New York Times' promotion of a beloved African dish has come under fire by Black Twitter’s dedicated foodies, with people stepping in to decry the meal. By working with underrepresented communities and creating space to authentically tell their stories, brands can avoid diversity-washing which will in turn protect cultural heritage and nuance.

📲 AI is changing how people engage with brands - technology is changing the way people experience information and engage with brands, but there are roadblocks towards real-time processing and the human touch is proving difficult to replicate. Openness and transparency will be key moving forward if consumers are expected to trust machine decision-making.

🎉 Americans want culinary joy - as grocery inflation hits the pockets of young Americans, they’re looking for moments of culinary joy and humour to lighten the mood. Through authentic and humorous content that has cultural relevance, brands can tap into moments of affordable indulgence that help consumers to feel good.

Andrea Piacquadio (2020)

📍 People want healthier social media habits - binge-watching shows or scrolling social media can lead to hours of entertainment, but there's a growing desire for media platforms to foster healthier habits as people become conscious of how much time they spend online. Building positive spaces where people are aware of how much time they spend looking at a screen can allow people to reclaim their leisure time in more mindful ways.

🔥 Ironic campaigns win over Americans - M&M’s called in Maya Rudolph for its 2023 Super Bowl commercial, playing on culture war issues following the backlash to the rebranding of its ‘spokescandies’. As Americans become used to callout culture and are cynical towards brand campaigns, ironic humour and satire can elevate modern-day brand communications.

📚 Students enjoy short-form educational content - students’ attitudes to education are continuing to evolve post-pandemic, and many are finding respite in short and snappy videos that break down complex subjects in easily digestible ways. Tech-led platforms can help students prepare for the future by creating alternative pathways for learning that are personalised and relatable.