The FOCUS team regularly put our heads together to look at trends emerging from relevant industries. It’s a session we all look forward to: ‘Gold Dust’.

Having our finger on the pulse of what’s current and, more importantly, what’s next is an essential part of the job we do for clients – and this is one of the ways in which we challenge ourselves to ensure we are continuously offering insight.

Past themes include the power of influencers, virtual reality becoming a reality and the rise of wellness.

Our most recent ‘Gold Dust’ looked at a topic close to all our hearts – The Greater Good. According to a 2014 Nielsen survey, more than half online consumers around the world said they would pay more for products & services from companies that are socially & environmentally responsible. More recently, brand purpose has become a hot topic and buzz word – perhaps because millennials (who make up 42% of the workforce) are driven by doing ‘good’ and so actively seek out brands that align with their ideals.

With this in mind, we set out to look at how brands are recognising they need to have a point of view and a call to action relevant to their consumers…starting with the first of our Greater Good trends: Big brands recognising the need to use their power for good.

More and more household brands are putting sustainability, ethical practice and a moral code at the heart of their business than ever before.

A recent example is Nike which released a plus size clothing line. Plus size clothing and fashion brands embracing you for who you are (whatever your size), is not a new trend, but it’s one that’s here to stay. This is important because more people will be comfortable to head out for a jog or to kick a ball around, in style. Given the growing awareness of mental health issues, which can be exacerbated by models and picture-perfect social media accounts, brands need to follow Nike’s suit by recognising everyone is beautiful, whatever their shape.

The FOCUS team all agreed we hope Nike’s new range of clothing, along with Sport England’s second advertising campaign This Girl Can (a celebration of active women who are doing their own thing – no matter how well they do it or how they look – to help women overcome the fear of judgement that is stopping too many women and girls playing sport), mean that 2017 onwards is all about being fit, not skinny.

Another brand advertising their corporate responsibility credentials is natural fast food company Pret, which took a deliberately non-capitalist approach to its Christmas marketing campaign by highlighting its apprenticeship scheme. The advertising campaign Opening Doors followed three apprentices as they made their way through training to be offered employment, rather than featuring seasonal coffee serves.

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Ellie Elliott-Frey