• Melissa Hicks

All Eyes on 3 Hot Marketing Trends


A year ago we tapped into the creative brain trust of the Mosaic Marketing team to make some predictions for 2021. I have to say, we were on target. We saw more diverse representation across advertising and marketing, extending beyond gender and race to include people with disabilities and the LGBTQ community.

We saw companies elevate their corporate social responsibility and really strive to align their social good efforts with their mission. My favorite in this category was Dominos Pizza’s initiative. The world’s largest pizza company purchased $100,000 in gift cards from its competitors—locally owned restaurants that were devasted by the pandemic—and gave those gift cards to their customers to encourage them to support small businesses in their community. A simply brilliant way to truly exemplify that “we’re all in this together.”

There were also many examples of company’s embracing authenticity by ensuring their actions support their core values. A stunning example of this strategy was a decision by Lush to walk away from 4 million Instagram followers. Recognizing that social media can be damaging to one’s mental well-being, especially the company’s target audience of teen girls, Lush stopped posting on its social media platforms in November and shared the reason behind their decision with some powerful quotes from the CEO and CDO. If you visit the Lush Instagram page, you’ll see an encouragement to log off social media (see screen shot below) and spend your time elsewhere.


We also predicted that video would dominate social media, and we’ve seen that across all platforms. The best corporate digital media posts communicate offer more than eye candy or click bait. Brands are using video to communicate something of value to their audience. As an avid at-home chef, my feed has more than their fair share of delicious looking food. And while I’ll “heart” a stunning dish all day long, I will rarely share or comment. The solution? The Food Network’s recent posts have featured kitchen hacks, like how to use an empty paper towel tube to safely store my extra long bread knife or how to neatly slice avocadoes or remove kernels of corn from the cob. I’m much more likely to share these tips that I know my friends will appreciate, than I am to share a recipe for a dish that I know I will never make. No matter if you’re promoting a consumer product or your nonprofit, give your followers a reason to pause and absorb your message something meaningful such as relevant tips, insight, a sneak peek into an upcoming release. With this approach, you also invite your audience into a two-way conversation, as they are more likely to like, share and comment.

Many companies, like the ones we’ve mentioned here, really upped their marketing game in 2021, and we’re excited to see what brand trailblazers do in the year ahead. Despite the unpredictability that rules our pandemic-focused world right now, our small but mighty team of creatives and strategists identified three key marketing trends that we expect to see in 2022.

Content Is King (and we’re not talking about a tiger)

Today’s consumers are savvier than ever as a few clicks online will yield thousands of reviews and comments that they use to guide their buying decisions. They are also used to clicking a few buttons on a phone to tap into an endless stream of entertaining and informative content on You Tube, Tik Tok, Instagram and podcasts. How do the best brands break through the clutter? The hard sell ads of yesterday don’t cut it. Instead, organizations have embraced storytelling as a way to make an emotional connection with their target audience. One of the best examples of this subtle approach was Kohls’ holiday commercial, “Holidays Dance”. The spot takes you inside a home as three generations of a family open gifts. You won’t see them pan the inside of a store. In fact, the commercial does not feature a single product. The only mention of Kohls is when Grandma unwraps a white gift box with the Kohls logo on it, which she quickly sets aside to enjoy a dance with her young grandson.

The storytelling strategy is gaining popularity on social media, too. People will quickly scroll right by a post that simply promotes a product, but when you engage them with a story that provides humor, tugs at the heartstrings or is inspiring, you’ll reap the rewards of engagement as reflected in the number of comments, shares and likes.


Brands Get Real

Despite the physical distance that the pandemic has created, it has also given us an intimate look into the lives of our co-workers, bosses and others. Dogs barking. Children interrupting. Laundry waiting to be folded in a pile within view of the laptop camera. Life is messy, sometimes chaotic, and many of us are feeling burnt out. The last thing anyone wants or needs right now is a commercial or content featuring a beautiful model in a picture-perfect pose projecting a standard that is not only unattainable, but downright laughable, given all that we are enduring during the uncertainties and inconveniences of the pandemic.

There’s actual a Japanese term for this style. The word Wabi-sabi means a “world view that accepts imperfection.” Consumers are more likely to relate to and embrace content that reflects the imperfections of our current reality. As a result, we believe more photographers will turn to vintage lenses with degradation to avoid the perfect/plastic look of digital photography.

We also predict that more companies and nonprofits will increasingly eschew stock photography in lieu of showcasing “regular” people and their real-life stories. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign is another example. Instead of blemish-free, porcelain-skinned super models, the company opted to showcase real women of all skin colors, ages and sizes.



Minimalism Makes a Statement

For websites, digital advertising and even print, we plan to see a movement away from designs that are saturated with lots of imagery. In its place will emerge a stripped-down aesthetic that focuses on compelling typography and bold, contrasting colors that communicate a core message with minimal words and graphics.


An inspiration for this approach is currently on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Using mostly only black and white, Barbara Kugler’s provocative mixed media and digital art strives to shake the viewer from comfort. You can share a glimpse into her genius here: Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. | The Art Institute of Chicago (artic.edu). A commercial example of this minimalistic approach can be seen in the SVG website and Mosaic Marketing’s home page shares this vibe.



As you embark on your organization’s marketing journey for 2022, keep these trends in mind. If there is an opportunity for our small but mighty team to help you, please reach out. We’d love to talk shop. You can explore the stories behind our work at Case Studies | Mosaic Marketing.

Melissa Hicks is the founder and chief creative of Mosaic Marketing. You can reach her at mhicks@mosaicmarketing.com. For more free marketing tips, please follow Mosaic Marketing on LinkedIn.