Trends - Adel & Link Public Relations
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Trends

Trends

Imagining the future

At Adel & Link we’re always on the hunt for the latest trends, which also provide us with material for our Stories for Now and Next. On a daily basis, we observe how our society is changing, what people are talking about and what we can do to make a difference. We immortalise the most important trends in many different ways – from stickers to trend books to socks – and send them out into the world to share them with our network. After that, we present the most important trends at our annual Trendvernissage.

Our trends 2022

Our trends 2022

FemTech smart ways to female health 

Test subjects are test subjects… right? Well, not quite. For decades, medical studies were only conducted on men or male lab rats. The reason? Well, the female hormonal cycle and pregnancies were said to complicate the process. And even when it comes to medical training, the general subject matter is strongly focused on the male organism – with dire consequences for women.  

We can see the differences on a chromosomal level: cisgender women (cisgender meaning they were assigned female at birth) have two X chromosomes, cis men have one X and one Y chromosome. While there are more than 1,000 genes on an X chromosome, fewer than 100 fit on a Y chromosome. This also results in different health needs – and not only in gynaecology. Though while we are on the topic, women are still often offered the birth control pill as a panacea for everything – or dismissed since that’s just the way it is. But what if it’s not just the way it is? More and more start-ups are specialising in FemTech, a term coined to encapsulate all sorts of different gadgets designed to improve women’s health. Whether it’s a smart bracelet to counter hot flushes, tools to help with family planning or intelligent tampons that could be used to detect uterine cancer – the future of tech is female! 

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ClimateTechfor a better tomorrow

Planting trees is a great start. But climate tech start-ups think there’s more we can do to save the planet: they are developing machines that are powered by renewable energy and capture carbon to recycle or neutralise it. They produce CO2-absorbing cladding, recycle carbon from the atmosphere to make construction materials and work on ways to reuse concrete from demolished buildings. In short, climate tech start-ups are fighting man-made climate change with the help of the latest technologies.

They currently focus mainly on the energy, transport and mobility, food, agriculture, forestry and manufacturing industries – all of which are big culprits when it comes to emissions. In recent years, climate tech companies have grown at an average rate of 84%* – and that figure is increasing due to high demand. Many of them are based in Silicon Valley, Shanghai or Beijing – but Germany also offers fertile soil for innovation: it is the most popular location for climate tech start-ups in Europe. What do you think – will climate tech help us preserve a world worth living in? 

 

*Source: PWC Climate Tech Studie 2020 

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Tech Fatigue – screens all day, every day

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, QR codes experienced a comeback, Zoom calls became a fixed part of our workday and digitisation permeated almost all areas of life – leading to an all-time high in screen time. We rolled out of bed and spent all day in front of our screens, only to continue the swiping and scrolling once we had clocked out. Because it’s not only our professional but also our private lives that went online. We get to know each other on apps, order food online, manage our finances on our phones and our calendars are only one click away. And because many of us rely on our phone’s alarm, we even take our trusty device to bed with us. 

Push notifications disrupt our focus and while the metaverse is coming closer and closer, many just want to log off. Turn off their smartphones. Take a deep breath. Touch some grass – because tech fatigue is setting in. But is technology really the enemy? After all, it makes our lives easier, brings people together and creates opportunities. It’s the dose that makes the poison. How much tech is healthy or tolerable? Is there such a thing as too much? How can we get off the (not so) merry-go-round of digital experiences – and do we even want to? Ironically, technology seems to be the remedy. The apps we are so addicted to send us reminders to limit our screen time and we can even install software to make us take breaks – whatever is needed to wean us off our screens. 

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4-day week – work less get more done

Belgium has it, Iceland tried it, and hip start-ups in Berlin have truly embraced it: the 4-day work week. In the war for talent, it is an unbeatable argument for employer branding and a huge benefit for employees. Work smart, not hard – instead of working until you drop, tasks are completed more efficiently. All made possible by meetings that are turned into emails and an optimised workflow. After all, a study by Vouchercloud shows that – in a workday of eight hours – we only manage to work productively for two hours and 53 minutes. Let that sink in. 

So, what happens when we switch to a 4-day week? It results in happier employees, increased motivation and productivity, a better work-life balance, more time for family and fewer sick days. Those who have tried it never want to go back. There are different models for the 4-day week: the same number of hours spread over four days, fewer hours with full pay – or something in between. But which employers can – or want to – afford this? And how will legislation react? One thing is certain: the trend is undeniably gaining momentum. But will everyone get on board? 

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Productivity Propaganda – always on fire

Ah, the simplicity of doing nothing at all… is more frowned upon today than ever before. We are expected to function, perform and deliver – always. Whether it is in our professional or private lives, productivity is strongly romanticised on social channels. This creates pressure to keep up at all costs. At work, it’s overtime and a full calendar which always has to give way to more to-dos. Being available at all times and reacting to emails within seconds is also part of the game. And forget about sleep! Sleep is for the unproductive. Even in our free time, doing nothing is likely to give us an awkward feeling of guilt. Germans have even coined the fitting term Freizeitstress – stressful leisure: because even on Sundays, you have to show off your newly redecorated home or present the culinary delights created in your designer kitchen. After all, you need pictures for your social channels to show how great your weekend was. A day spent lazing around on the couch? Unthinkable.  

Yet the best ideas often come to us in quiet phases, because our creativity needs space to unfold – and that doesn’t happen in the couple of minutes we have between two meetings. One thing is certain: always being on fire is pretty unhealthy in the long run – so it’s up to us to find ways out of it. After all, we don’t have to follow every trend.

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Finfluencer – let’s talk about money 

One does not talk about money – a sentiment that is firmly anchored in German culture as money was a taboo subject for a long time. Shares and investing used to be something for old white men in suits. But then came social media. On YouTube, Instagram or TikTok, finfluencers are introducing more and more people to the world of finance. They are the beacons of a new financial movement, bringing their financial savvy to the world in a clear and entertaining way via various channels. Worried about their future pensions, many wish to take finances into their own hands, fuelling the popularity of financial influencers. Now, even teenagers know all about ETFs. 

Since money is a topic that concerns us all, finance-related content is finding fertile ground. The following of often-self-proclaimed financial experts is growing rapidly. But instead of old men in suits, we are seeing more and more young women who have become successful finfluencers and are building active (female) communities around them. Will we ever get tired of hearing about money? Not for the time being – once we’re done talking about euros, dollars and pounds, the world of crypto awaits us. 

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Pop-up Everything – get there before it’s gone

Here today and gone tomorrow – pop-up stores, restaurants, parties and markets are bringing life back into our cities. The phenomenon became popular when pandemic-related restrictions were lifted: instead of opening new cafés, restaurateurs opted for temporary pop-up venues. An espresso bar turned into a pizza pop-up on a Sunday afternoon, an empty space transformed into a plant market for three days – a temporary model that carries less risk than opening your own shop. 

These concepts have one thing in common: goods are limited and usually sell out quickly. And although no one knows whether they will still get what they want, people line up – because everyone wants to be part of the event. Fuelled by social media, successful pop-ups generate a huge amount of hype. And since they’re so popular, it makes sense for the organisers to return. When? This secret is usually only revealed at short notice – exclusivity is key. 

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Worth it, ich sag’s dir! – the language of Gen Z

If this trend title has you feeling a bit lost, don’t worry – you’re not alone. It can be confusing when random chunks of German appear in English sentences. But it’s quite common the other way round… What TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Netflix have in common is not only that the English language is ubiquitous; the platforms are also particularly popular with young audiences. And while Gen Z is growing up surrounded by these channels and platforms, they soak up the language like a sponge. No wonder that the vocabulary finds its way into everyday life – internet lingo meets boomer German – and the result is… well, my dude, ein wilder Mix. 

Sure, Denglish (the mixing of Deutsch and English) isn’t exactly new, and German has seen a steady influx of anglicisms for many years. But this is different: it is no longer about individual English words that have been included in German dictionaries. Young Germans have become more adept at code-switching – a practice already common among many other communities such as the Latinx community in the United States. But the phenomenon is not even restricted to foreign languages – many English native speakers are left baffled when confronted with words such as sus or flex. Cool or cringe?  That’s a question we ask ourselves when we find that this mishmash has even made its way into newspaper articles. Yet in some cases it just seems a bit forced (no front). Whatever your opinion, there is no denying the fact that our language is continuously evolving – for better or worse. 

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Welcome to the Metaverse – our new life in a parallel universe

Since Facebook changed its name to Meta, it has become clear that we are drawing ever closer to the metaverse. The term itself still mystifies many, as the internet did 30 years ago, but those who long to fully immerse themselves in the metaverse still depend on VR glasses and other gadgets. For widespread use, the tools are simply too expensive – and in need of great improvement. Once equipped, we open a gateway to a world that seemingly knows no boundaries. The metaverse creates the perfect symbiosis of virtuality and reality – not a bad idea after years of living in a pandemic, is it? In the metaverse, we act as digital twins of ourselves and do everything we do in everyday life: meet friends, shop, study, party, exercise – and work.

To do this, the various services that the internet has to offer are merged into a seamless world. This creates new opportunities for socialising and leisure activities, but also new business models – making more and more virtual goods turn into status symbols. Besides fun, the metaverse also has potential practical applications: surgeons can wear VR goggles during an operation and call up additional information about the patient or retrace work steps that their colleagues have already undertaken on other affected organs. However, despite all the advantages, virtual worlds are not immune to the problems of our analogue world. The decentralised nature of the metaverse means that uniform rules and laws are difficult to implement.  Risks such as addiction and the question of identity loom large. Will we lead a kind of double life in the future? 

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NFTs for Mainstream status symbols go digital

If you think of contemporary art as black squares or jumbled lines reminiscent of your little niece’s doodles, think again! NFTs are the new hot shit – digital artworks, music or other products of the virtual world that become unique collectibles through non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They are sold on NFT marketplaces where you can purchase files along with their non-fungible tokens that prove their uniqueness. Unforgeable. Of course, you could just reproduce the image. In fact, owning the NFT doesn’t even mean you also own the rights to the image.

Then again, the Mona Lisa can also be copied. But the original remains the original. Whether you’re a collector or an artist – everyone can take part. The only thing you need is a digital wallet with enough Ether – the currency of the Ethereum blockchain, where NFTs are mainly traded. With a bit of luck, you can make a neat sum of money – a current example is the digital collage by Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple, The First 5000 Days. It was sold for almost $70 million – and you can’t even touch it. But what do artists with brushes and paints, with crayons and spray cans have to say about it? Is it still art or does it need a new name? Investment? Pure madness? And how environmentally friendly are NFTs? After all, they exist on the blockchain and consume vast amounts of electricity. And anyway – didn’t we say we’re getting tired of flickering screens? 

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Trendvernissage

Trendvernissage

Once a year, we move our desks to the side and create space for the future. Our Trendvernissage brings together exciting topics and creative personalities. It offers an inspiring platform and sparks ideas among start-ups, creatives and communication professionals in the Rhine-Main area.We bring together pioneers, visionaries and sometimes even oddballs, present evolving ideas and show how they will shape the future. And we invite our guests to exchange ideas and soak up inspiration.

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