Landor's 2011 trends forecast (Landor Perspectives 2011)

Over the past year, we've seen our world grow smaller and more transparent. People are feeling empowered by social media: breaking news on Twitter before it reaches major media outlets, boldly critiquing products and experiences online, trusting word-of-mouth over traditional marketing. Demonstrating sustainable practices has become the cost of entry for businesses and is no longer a differentiator in the marketplace. And the good a company does within and for its community is beginning to have an impact on its bottom line.

In spite of a sobered financial consciousness, people are ready to be surprised and delighted again — not by the flashy or the fancy, but by authentic brand stories and personal connections.

As public awareness of marketing, brands, and design continues to grow, those in the business of selling have to work harder and smarter to earn the money consumers are spending so carefully. What will this mean for brands in 2011?