Diageo has been getting psychic recently. Following its World Class: Future of Cocktail report, the drinks giant has launched its The Changing Face of Socialising report – revealing the shape of socialising in the year ahead.
The team responsible for innovation and future-gazing worked with cultural ethnographers to study social scenes from around the world to define three main social trends expected to take off in 2017.
The first, dubbed 'Exceptional becomes the Rule', suggests socialising is becoming increasingly spontaneous and experimental. The diary is dead, Diageo suggests, as people make social arrangements 'dictated by the weather, a whim or what’s triggered an online buzz'. Virtual reality (there will be 171m users by 2018) is becoming more important; Diageo's Singleton Scotch whisky virtual experience taps into this trend.
The second, 'In with the "in" Crowd' says technology will continue to define at-home socialising. To exploit this trend Diageo has put together what it calls the 'Johnnie Walker digital mentorship programme', by which you can experience the brand's 'heritage and blending expertise' through your tablet - presumably without going to the trouble of actually drinking the whisky.
Finally 'Optimise not Compromise', reveals consumers want greater control and choice over what goes into their body – without giving up excitement or experience. This trend shows how there is a demand for a wider range of products than ever, with Diageo offering Baileys Almande (gluten and dairy free) and Guinness Zero.
'At Diageo, we are passionate about creating drinks of the future and helping people celebrate,' said Zoe Lazaris, global future and culture planning director at Diageo. 'We have been innovating for hundreds of years and have a strong history as industry pioneers in identifying and responding to trends.
'Innovation drives our company forward and for us it means staying ahead of trends, continually creating new products, categories and experiences for people to enjoy around the world.
'Our success relies not only on understating our consumers today, but also on tracking and responding to emerging socialising trends and behaviours that will become the mainstream of tomorrow.'