The Meta Trending Trends: 2018

Top 19 Overlapping Cultural Trends From 13 Reports

Matt Klein
Dec 20, 2017 · 5 min read

When the air gets brisk, the stockings get hung, and the OOO notices get shared, it all means one thing: trend reports are coming.

Today, organizations attempt to flex their cultural foresight savviness by authoring a number of trends for marketers to leverage in the year to come. In the highest form of irony, the trend report has become the trend. But with so many to read and not enough time, I decided to read them all from you, conducting a meta-analysis…

I combed through +300 trends from 13 reports by: Forrester, Foresight Factory, JWT, Sparks & Honey, Ogilvy, Fjord, Landor, Facebook IQ, Trend Hunter, Contagious, Deloitte, Edelman, & Mindshare.

Why do this? Because collecting the reports and sharing them in a folder is one nice gesture, but reading them all and sharing what’s most important is another. Secondly, conducting a meta-analysis increases our “sample size” of trends and accounts for individual author bias, allowing us to recognize what’s agreed upon. We can calculate reliability as a proxy for accuracy.

After my analysis, I’m excited to share the top 19 prevalent, overlapping trends for 2018. Below, you will find the most recurrent trend themes, personal descriptions, and how each organization named their trend.


01. Clarity Now 🔎

Society will promote its desire for transparency, validity and absolute truth

In Transparency We Trust — Fjord
Transparency in Action — Landor
Transparency Trailblazers — Contagious
Blockchain Inches Forward — Forrester
Blockchain Changes the Rules — Landor
Blockchain to Blockchains — Deloitte
Mechanized Truth — Foresight Factory
Civic Marketing — JWT
Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility — Landor

02. Mindfulness in Vogue 🙏🏻

Meditation and play will be leveraged frequently to overcome chaos and anxiety

Armour Therapy — Sparks & Honey
Destruction Therapy — JWT
Therapeutic VR — JWT
Adult Play — JWT
Mindful Play — Landor
Peaceful Play — TrendHunter
Industry of Calm — Facebook IQ
Stress-Free Tech — Trend Hunter

03. Widespread Inclusivity 🌎

Race, religion, capability, and size will all be invited to have a seat at the table

Intersectionality — JWT
Empowered Intersectionality — Trend Hunter
Adaptive Communities — Sparks & Honey
Assistive Tech — JWT
Plus-Sized Luxury — JWT
67% Movement — Sparks & Honey
One-Size Fits None — Trend Hunter

04. Mainstream AR 📱

AR will progressively find its way in both novel and functional practice

AR Gets Real — Ogilvy
AR Reaches Mass — JWT
Everyday AR — Facebook IQ
Augmented Reality — Edelman
Augmented Experiences — Landor
Augmented Package — Trend Hunter
Policing Mixed Reality — Sparks & Honey

05. Underlying Algorithms ⚙️

Data and algorithms silently guide decision making for both better and worse

Algorithms at Work — Landor
The Algorithm Wars — Forrester
Slave to Algorithm — Fjord
Ambient Prediction — Sparks & Honey
Automatic for the People — Mindshare
Dynamic Data — Contagious

06. Cyborg Penetration 🔬

Tech will find itself closer to flesh and brain, blending man and machine

Under the Skin Tech — Sparks & Honey
Second-Skin Wearable — Trends Hunter
Smart Contact Lenses — JWT
Creativity Meets AI — JWT
A Machine’s Search for Meaning — Fjord
No-Collar Workforce — Deloitte

07. The Cannabis Norm 🌿

With legalization, marijuana will shed its taboo status, becoming more welcomed

Ganjanomics — JWT
Cannabis Community — Trend Hunter
Cannabis Occasions — Sparks & Honey
Cannabis Fine Dining — JWT
Shapeshifting Stimulants — Sparks & Honey

08. Human-Like Computers 🤖

Technological capability will eagerly emulate human ability at an impressive pace

Computers Have Eyes — Fjord
Internet of Eyes — JWT
Internet of Ears — JWT
The End of Typing — Ogilvy
The Empowered Machine — Forrester

09. Crumbling Big Tech 🔌

Masses will consistently witness faults in digital institutions and infrastructures

Big Tech Backlash — JWT
Seriously Serious — Ogilvy
Content Certainty — Trend Hunter
Truth Labs — Sparks & Honey
Security for Profit — Forrester

10. Food Flashes 🍭

Culinary works will take on fresh, alluring aesthetics satisfying the eyes as well

High-Brow Confection — Trend Hunter
Format Over Flavor — Trend Hunter
Algorithmic Food Design — JWT
Picture-Perfect Food — Facebook IQ
Cosplate — Sparks & Honey

11. Amazon, The Behemoth 💸

Amazon will continue to flourish, swelling in both power and presence

Amazonification — Contagious
Amazon Awakening — Ogilvy
Amazon Everything — JWT
Amazon as Advertising Powerhouse — JWT
Triumph in the age of Amazon — Edelman

12. Retail Maturation 🛍️

With online shopping, brick-and-mortar spaces will evolve in their purpose

Retail Experience Harmonization — Forrester
Retail Reinvention — Sparks & Honey
Retail Residences — JWT
URL Goes IRL — JWT

13. Participatory Entertainment 📺

Media will invite cooperation with unique, tailored experiences for viewers

Interactive Storytelling — JWT
Real-Time Authorship — Sparks & Honey
Collaborative Narrative — Trend Hunter

14. Redefined Masculinity 👔

What it means to be “manly” will be refuted with reconsidered traits and styles

Modern Masculinity— Contagious
Detoxing Masculinity — Sparks & Honey
New Wave Men’s Grooming — JWT

15. Hello, China 🇨🇳

Globalization will push China and its once foreign norms closer toward the US

West, Meet East — Facebook IQ
China’s Cultural Export — Sparks & Honey
Chinese Tech Goes Global — JWT

16. Craving Detox 🍎

Clean, healthy living will be elected over more already established toxic choices

Clean Chic — Sparks & Honey
Trendy Teetotalism — JWT
Wellness Cocktail — Trend Hunter

17. Packaging Reduex 📦

What houses our products will be re-inventive with modern, noteworthy benefit

Next-Gen Packaging — Sparks & Honey
Packaging That Thinks for Itself — Landor
The Anti-Pack — Landor

18. Gender 2.0💄

The idea of boy vs. girl will be questioned as characteristics shift and blur

Agender — Sparks & Honey
Wo/men’s Wear — Facebook IQ

19. Longing for Nostalgia ⏳

Throwbacks and reboots will emerge faster, blending the present with past

Near Nostalgia — Sparks & Honey
Upleveled Nostalgia — Trend Hunter


Further reading: The Trending Trends: 2019 & The Trending Trends: 2020

Matt Klein is a Strategist researching culture, our relationship with technology, and emerging social behaviors to grow businesses. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

This piece is an educational review and does not infringe upon any copyright material as covered by Fair Use, Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107.

On Advertising

We’re an open community of Executives, Strategists, Designers, Developers and Students alike, skeptically examining communication, technology and culture.

Matt Klein

Written by

Cultural Researcher & Business Consultant at Sparks & Honey. Fascinated with the relationships between psychology, technology and culture. [KleinKleinKlein.com]

On Advertising

We’re an open community of Executives, Strategists, Designers, Developers and Students alike, skeptically examining communication, technology and culture.

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