Trends 2016: post-mindfulness

From mindfulness to mindlessness
From mindfulness to mindlessness

Marketers must adapt to a future where established ways of living, working and playing are changing rapidly. As part of our 'post-everything' trends series, Marketing takes a deeper look at 'post-mindfulness'.

If ‘mindfulness’ was the marketing buzzword of 2015, 2016’s might well be ‘mindlessness’.

At least, that’s according to The Future Laboratory, which identified mindlessness as part of a wider macro-trend called ‘Revelation Brands’, focusing on a desire for a resurgence of surprise and delight in the customer journey.

"Brands are increasingly creating online and offline spaces that help consumers slip into states of unfocused creativity, reintroducing serendipity to the brand journey," writes The Future Laboratory’s Alex Jones.

Creating the ideal conditions for this sense of mindlessness, in which thoughts are allowed to wander freely, is perhaps best suited to the retail environment – both online and offline.

For many, shopping is already viewed as a pleasurable pastime and form of entertainment; we can all recount tales of tracking down that surprising bargain or recall the surge of adrenaline that accompanies an impulse buy.

On top of this, there is now research to back up the idea that humans love surprise and serendipity. A study, published in the April 2015 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that the brain favours unpredicted rewards.

According to the authors of the study, Dr Gregory Berns, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Emory University in the US, and Dr Read Montague, associate professor of neuroscience at Baylor University: "The brain finds unexpected pleasure more rewarding than expected ones, and it may have nothing to do with what people say they like".

In the coming year, smart brands will capitalise on this desire for the unexpected, by taking consumers on a ‘mindless’ journey of intrigue and chance encounters.

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