Accenture’s15th annual Fjord Trends 2022 report shows a collective shift in people’s relationships with work, consumerism, technology and the planet. This, in turn, is pushing companies to design new ways of doing business, according to the annual report.

Part of a trilogy of trend reports, Fjord Trends is focused on customer behaviour and its resulting impact on society, culture and businesses for the coming year. This year’s report focuses on five human behaviours, along with advice about what companies should think, say, and do in their businesses in relation to each behaviour or characteristic.

Rising individualism 

First, they say rising individualism, underlined by a “me over we” mentality, has profound implications for how organizations lead their employees, shape new employee value propositions and how they nurture company-customer relationships. Next, they say businesses must address the availability anxiety, the end of abundance thinking, being experienced by many around the world.

Third, they say the next frontier, the metaverse, is a cultural explosion waiting to happen. “The metaverse will be a new frontier of the internet, combining all the existing layers of information, interfaces and spaces with which people interact. It offers a new place to make money, is creating new job types and offers infinite brand possibilities that people will expect businesses to help build and navigate,” they write. “It won’t just exist through screens and headsets – it will also be about real-world experiences and places that interact with the digital world.” 

Customers are asking more questions 

At the same time, they say people now expect to ask and have questions answered at the touch of a button or through a brief exchange with a voice assistant. “People are asking more questions. For brands, the range of customer questions and the number of channels for asking them is growing constantly. How to answer them is a major design challenge, a critical driver for trust and a future source of competitive advantage.” 

Finally, they urge companies to focus on care, as care became more prominent this past year in all forms, including self-care, care for others and service, along with both digital and physical channels to deliver care. This, they say, is creating opportunities and challenges for employers and brands, “regardless of their health or medical credentials.” 

Two big responsibilities 

“As consumers overhaul all of their relationships, brands will be faced with two big responsibilities: taking care of the world today while also building its future in a way that’s good for the planet, for business and for society,” says Accenture Interactive’s CEO and creative chairman, David Droga. “The key lies within deeply understanding the impacts of those relationships and aspirations and converting them into potent business strategies that drive relevance and growth.” 

The firm’s head of global innovation and thought leadership, Mark Curtis adds that businesses should not underestimate the degree of relationship change going on today or business’ role in responding to it. “The choices that businesses make next might affect our world and its structure in more ways than we can imagine,” he said in a statement. “There are challenging times ahead, but also great opportunities for businesses to stitch together positive relationships to create a fabric of life that is good for people, society and the planet.”