CPG: Top Insights for 2024

Trends / Sustainability
Carolina Sampaio Lechner
Mar 4, 2024
How can CPG/FMCG brands connect more authentically with their target audiences in 2024 and beyond? Here are the top three insights from Getty Images' latest VisualGPS research on how brands can use visuals to show care for people and the planet in challenging times.
Sustainable transformation
In the past, CPG brands were visually acknowledging their negative environmental impact through tropes like plastic bags in the ocean, polluted cities and waste mountains. Today, visuals speak more to environmental solutions through symbolic visuals of carbon capture or circularity. Going forward, it is important for CPG brands to show how they are sustainably transforming for the climate to connect with today's consumers. Why? 83% of Europeans say companies have a moral obligation to use their resources to improve society and the environment. However, brand cynicism on implementing ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) actions is high and distrust persists. Consumers also understand that there is a gap between their own intention and action. While they do care about the environment, they seek more help on actions they personally can take to positively impact the planet. This presents an opportunity for brands. In visual testing, Getty Images' VisualGPS research found that consumers are most responsive to visuals of sustainable action that are positive, action‑orientated and educational.

When choosing visuals to depict sustainable transformation, consider visuals that show mindful consumption with practical actions for today's consumers. Surprise with colour palettes that go beyond green and introduce new sustainable concepts and metaphors to educate and engage. Inspire with visuals that mix technology and nature to speak to environment‑first innovation. Think about highlighting interesting textures of bio‑materials or mixing organic forms with tech symbolism.
Consumer wellness
With climate change and technological transformation advancing at a fast pace, it is no surprise that nearly 6 in 10 Europeans find it very difficult to keep pace with today’s world. This change overload can be jarring, and brands can connect with consumers by showing care for their wellbeing through challenging times. When it comes to showing mental health, VisualGPS research reveals Europeans are drawn to visuals that are immersive and sensory and show solace in nature. There is also an increased preference for showing quality time and meaningful connections. Consumers are also happiness seekers, finding relief in escapism through joyful experiences. Consumption becomes experience. 61% say they have to feel happy about a purchase in order for it to feel worth it.

When choosing visuals to depict consumer wellness, explore showing experiential consumption. Appeal to all senses with playful colours and textures. Offer escapism through nostalgic, humorous or surreal scenarios. Don't forget also about showing candid moments and genuine emotions. Embrace imperfections and the messiness of life. Build those intentional connections by showing how small actions and meaningful gestures in everyday situations enhance personal connections between people. Finally, show the restorative power of nature and how spending time outdoors can help people decompress.
With the rise of AI and social commerce, the shopping experience is becoming hyper‑personalised as brands turn shopping into an immersive experience. More than half of Europeans say AI can recommend things tailored to their interests, making it easier to find what they like. However, distrust around privacy prevails. Selecting visuals that depict transparency around AI by showing visual deconstruction, transparent elements and humanised experiences is key.

With hyperpersonalisation also comes hyperempathy. Why? When shopping for everyday products, 77% expect brands to be aligned with their values and how they see the world. Our VisualGPS research also shows that 70% of Europeans prefer to express their identity regardless of what people think. And they want to see brands act accordingly: 8 in 10 people expect brands to be consistently committed to inclusion in visuals. However, only 14% feel they are accurately represented in advertising visuals. From beauty visuals that tell a homogenous story, to the lack of diversity in food visuals, to the underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities, our research reveals CPG brands have a way to go. To build hyperempathy, people are drawn to visuals that are not only relatable but challenge conventional notions. Understanding and breaking with limiting visual stereotypes helps drive deeper brand engagement. To address this, Getty Images and Citi have partnered to create Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Imagery Toolkits to provide actionable insights on authentic and multifaceted depictions of people in brand communication. 

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