In marketing, we’re always being asked to look into the future and foresee what’s coming down the road. We get plenty of help as the new year rolls in and the predictions freely flow.

One of the most comprehensive looks at the coming year is JWT’s Trend Report. The report is the culmination of quantitative, qualitative and desk research throughout the year. The JWT experts identify the top 10 trends that they believe will significantly impact the coming year and explore how these trends will show up and affect our day-to-day lives.

It won’t surprise you that technology finds itself in the center of most of the trends – in some cases as we embrace it and in others, as we try to escape it.

Let’s take a look at the first five trends and how we’re already seeing signs of them in our world.  

Immersive Experiences: This trend has significant marketing impact. It’s all about how consumers don’t want to passively watch; they want to actually be immersed in their entertainment, narratives and brand experiences.  

Early signs: In 2013, visitors to the Museum of Modern Art could control the rain in a special exhibit, and Nike Inc. launched “The Art of Science of Feeling” in New York City, using sensory technology to simulate barefoot running on various surfaces to promote the Nike Free Hyperfeel shoe.
Do You Speak Visual: We’re shifting to a visual vocabulary that relies on photographs, video snippets and other imagery, chipping away at the need for text. Apps like Snapchat and Pinterest are making photos the medium of choice.

Early signs: Taco Bell has been sending disappearing, 10-second coupons and new product teasers to consumers using Snapchat, and Sony created a program called “Pin It to Give It” that donated a dollar to the Michael Phelps Foundation every time a Pinterest user re-pinned from the board. 

Proudly Imperfect: Imperfection, in its messy, ugly and flawed glory, is taking center stage in a world that’s become neatly polished and curated. Imperfections provide an unfiltered, very human version of reality that reflects all the diversity that’s seen in everyday life.

Early signs: For a while, everyone was focused on putting their best Photoshopped foot forward in their profile photos and status updates. Recently, ugly selfies have become a counter to the glamorous self-portraits that proliferate on social media.  Trending today are selfies that get tagged with #badhairmondays or #nomakeupmoments.
The End of Anonymity: Thanks to the barrage of new technologies and ever increasing efforts to collect personal data, it’s practically impossible to remain unobserved and untracked. As anonymity becomes more elusive, consumers will push back and there may be a growing paranoia around technologies and services that affect privacy.

Early signs: NEC Corp. developed a facial recognition system and is selling it to retailers to help salespeople recognize VIP customers. On the flip side, countersurveillance fashion and accessories are on the upswing for those who don’t want their data collected; OFF Pocket, designed by technologist Adam Harvey, blocks GPS, Wi-Fi or cellular signals from reaching a mobile phone.
Raging Against the Machine: As we move further into the digital age, we’re starting to both fear and resent technology, worrying about what we’ve lost as we chase this unprecedented speed of change. Sixty-five percent of American adults believe that technology is taking over our lives.  
Early signs: In Amsterdam, Kit Kat launched Wi-Fi-free zones for people to “have a break.” Simple “analog” toys like wooden puzzles, simple costumes and blocks are flying off the shelf as adults hunger to give their kids a taste of a non-tablet, non-tech life.

Next week, we’ll look at the other five trends and see how they’re unfolding as the new year arrives.