In January, we asked the Crafted team what they were most looking forward to and the answers centered around attending concerts again and traveling (internationally!) – all things that point to new adventures and returning to some sort of normalcy after nearly two years of pandemic-related impacts. And in many ways, 2022 didn’t disappoint. (Hello Harry Styles, Elton John, Bad Bunny, Mexico, France, Swiss Alps, and more!) 

If we’ve learned anything, it’s a new year can throw us curve balls. We witnessed political unrest at a global scale, the fight against continued social injustices, and economic uncertainties that have made us all take pause. Looking at the headlines coming out of the tech industry alone has placed a layer of doubt for many on what to expect next year. Despite this, there were still bright spots in 2022. 

Like many, we continue to be a remote workforce so our team can have both professional and personal flexibility. We also recognize the need to still connect, socialize, and have options to work outside of their homes, so we introduced DeskPass to our team for more freedom in how and where they work with access to coworking spaces across the U.S. Each team member also received an extra week of PTO in the spring – what we dubbed as ‘freestyle PTO’ – to reenergize and take care of themselves, however that looked to them.  

This year we saw the return of in-person events. From reconnecting with consumer tech media at places like Pepcom and getting travel thought leaders on stages like Skift Global Forum, to engaging directly with consumers through activations like our recent food truck tour for Beef and Lamb New Zealand, it was good to see the rise of ‘in real life’ communication.   

From helping our technology clients set record-breaking Amazon Prime Day sales to launching more than 20 products or services this year, consumers and professionals alike continued to evaluate and purchase products and solutions to save time and money, increase productivity, or to be entertained in new ways. Affiliate marketing remained a critical piece to any consumer product program, and an area we continued to invest in, expanding our agency’s capabilities and offerings.  

Travel also had a big year. With consumer demand high, travel brands and destinations alike had to identify strategies to engage in authentic ways that aligned to new traveler expectations. Sustainability, along with inclusion and diversity, emerged as important decision-making factors for travelers, as identified in research studies we released this year for Expedia Group.  

Influencers continued to be an effective way for brands to connect with younger consumers, with TikTok becoming a platform of choice. From tapping into #FoodTok to capturing the lifestyle that is iced coffee, we worked with many food brands to team up with influencers and outside experts to share recipes and lifestyle tips in new and exciting ways.  

It’s also important to understand the pop culture trends shaping consumer behavior. Working with Plenty of Fish, we revealed that for those dating in 2023, it’s all about Main Character Energy, focusing more on yourself instead of those who aren’t meeting your needs. Also revealed was the desire around nostalgia for the 2000s, or ‘aughts,’ which, if you have a pre-teen or teenager, you’ve likely seen with the return of Crocs.  

After nearly three years of our lives being turned upside down and our overall well-being taking a hit, it’s time to embrace a bit of that main character energy in 2023. Here’s to a happy and healthy, and most likely exciting, new year!