Trendwatch: Sweat equity

David Mattin

In 2014, the value shift away from the accumulation of more products towards better-lived experiences will continue. Meaning consumers will demand that brands surprise, delight, amuse and entertain.

But driven by the ever-more democratic, grown-up brand/consumer relationship, and made cynical – 'seen it all, done it all' – by years immersed in the Experience Economy, these consumers will search for increasingly off-beat, and even challenging, forms of fun.

A counterintuitive way to cater to fun-hungry consumers in 2014? Sweat Equity initiatives that blur the boundaries between play and (playful) work. Yes, experienced consumers will seek out real, sweat-inducing, effortful participation that eschews any agenda in favour of for-the-hell-of-it fun. Take inspiration from this stat: 36% of consumers say they want experiences beyond just using a brand's product or service, and only 11% currently feel most brands provide this (Edelman, September 2013).