February 4, 2018 /Trend



2017 was turbulent with geopolitical tensions and globally the world experienced civic discourse. Despite the conflicts, empathetic and resilient brand communication has set the precedent for 2018.

Last year, Sheridan&Co explored the cultural influence and significance of utopias and how this can inspire brand communication and storytelling. If brands can dream up new utopias that reflect their consumers’ hopes and dreams whilst resolving their fears, collectively, they are on the way to creating the future together.

In response to uncertain times and political discourse globally, messages centered on hope, joy and optimism have been prolific in culture.

Sheridan&Co partnered with ESP Trendlab to explore this trend and how it will manifest throughout 2018. Messaging in optimism, hope, faith, joy and wonder will manifest across industries, product directions, store design and brand experiences.

Examples in culture we have explored include:

Björk’s Utopia

Following heartbreak sees the pursuit of optimism. It is this ambition that fuelled the inspiration for Björk’s latest album, Utopia that launched at the end of November. The New York Times dubbed the album as a love letter to optimism whereby the music champions airiness. This sensuality is reflected in positive sounds of birds and flutes that are free flowing.

Future Library

In Nordmarka, Norway, one thousand trees have been planted to create a forest. Launched in 2014, these trees will be used to create a library that will be opened in 2114. Each year, an author is invited to write a piece to contribute to an unique anthology of books. This collection of writings will be remain unpublished until 2114 thus nurturing longevity and promoting hope towards the future.

Nature’s Gift: Humans, Friends & the Unknown

Oakland Museum of California’s Nature’s Gift explores how to discover joy in uncertain times through the use of colour to stimulate surprise. A colourful installation is abstract in shape in order to promote a message that humans are a universal whole, thus trading on empathy and community. The exhibit is supported by and the hashtag is ‘joy is best when shared’.

Hope Inspired Stores

Have A #Naiise Day London

Asian lifestyle brand; ‘Have A #Naiise Day London’ held a pop-up in December 2017 that acted as a letter of hope to the UK capital. The brand mission sought to promote ‘faith in humanity’ and inspire optimism through collaborating with jovial inducing products.

Landmark – Unlock Your Imagination

Driven by a campaign entitled ‘Unlock Your Imagination’, the luxury shopping mall in Hong Kong explored utopia through a series of intricate installations for the festive season.

Selfridges – Eat Happy

Starting the New Year in a celebratory spirit, department store Selfridges launched a three-month long ‘Eat Happy’ campaign in their foodhall. Consumers are invited to celebrate what’s on their plate in a store experience authored by food that is healthy, sustainable and most importantly, will inspire happiness through nourishment of the body, mind and planet.

Key Takeaways

How can jovial narratives feature within your brand communication?

Consider how the role of art can create empathetic communication and stimulate change for the better. How can your brand be a vehicle to create a better future?

What would your consumer’s utopian world look like? Consider longevity. How can your brand inspire hope and faith in the future?

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