What will 2023 have in store? If it’s anything like 2022, change is guaranteed.

Already we’re entering into a year defined by record inflation, hybrid workplaces, economic uncertainty, and the influx of Gen Zers — the largest generation to enter the workforce. Considering these factors alone, we’re in for a year of great challenges but also one with the potential for remarkable progress in an ever-evolving post-pandemic world.

We checked in with some of our ForceBrands leaders who offered insights into what we can expect from 2023 and beyond as it relates to consumer brands, hiring, and our workplaces. Read on to discover our predictions for the year ahead.

Culture will be redefined

As our workplaces have shifted from offices to remote workstations to the office once again, how we think about culture has changed. “Culture is going to be redefined in 2023,” says ForceBrands Client Strategist Eric Rosen. For some employers, their in-office requirements are a direct reflection of a culture that necessitates people to be in the same place at the same time to work most effectively. Other employers have opted to become fully remote or hybrid. Rosen says that the decision about where companies choose to have their teams work will be “purely driven by culture” in 2023 and beyond.

Cannabis grows up

Cannabis will have a rocky first half of the year, predicts Rosen, who helps oversee ForceBrands’ cannabis practice. Multi-state operators (MSOs) — many of which are levered up with debt — are going to have to invest in brand building. “The days of ‘buy it versus build it’ are over,” Rosen says. “MSOs have never been more interested in learning from smaller brands because they’re all trying to figure out their brand strategy.”

MSOs will also evolve in 2023. The emergence of more and more MSO 2.0 operators like Jetty Extracts, toast, 710 Labs, and the adjustment of business models in 1.0 players (GTI, Cresco Labs, etc.) MSB — multi-state brand — will become a new acronym as part of the MSO 2.0 wave.

When it comes to predicting federal legalization, Rosen says not to hold your breath — 2023 won’t be the year.

Purpose-driven companies will take the lead

Purpose-driven companies are in and they have staying power. “In 2023, we feel confident that the consumer brand community will embrace purpose even further,” says Megan Sears, Executive Director of ForceBrands’ Impactful Search®. “We know as a collective that we can have a meaningful impact on our world. Thoughtful purchasing, commitment to our planet, people focus, and supporting diverse companies are all areas that will continue to see dedication and attention in 2023.”

Companies will double down on these two functions

When it comes to hiring, the right person matters just as much as creating the right role within the organization. Some functions will be more important than others. According to ForceBrands Senior Director of Executive Recruitment Adina Vella, “We will see a continued emphasis on strategic hires that save companies on their bottom line including finance and operations roles. Overall I have high hopes for 2023 and am very optimistic about the market.”

Echoing these sentiments, ForceBrands Senior Director of Client Strategy and Operations, Jessica Tully says that “given the macro environment, we are seeing brands bringing in executive leaders on both finance and operations. Companies will be looking to ensure they have strong financials going into 2023 so they have at least a 12-24 month runway to get through the economic uncertainty ahead.”

Business travel gets an upgrade

Consider it business (almost) as usual. Business travel will continue to be a bit ‘up in the air’ in the post-pandemic world. While employees will travel more and trade shows will increase in number and attendance, there’s a catch. “People will be more mindful, strategic, and selective about investing their time, their company’s financial resources, and their energy into the shows they attend,” Rosen adds.

Cosmetics make a comeback in the beauty industry

Somewhat impervious to market downturns, the beauty industry is resilient at best. Still, the pandemic meant a change in habits and in beauty routines. “In 2023, we will see a rise in both color cosmetics and hair care,” Tully says, citing a ‘return to a new normal’ for the uptick. “Although skincare will still be a major player in the market, consumers are returning to parties, concerts, festivals, and the office and thus will be shifting their spending patterns to align with their lifestyle.”

Interested in learning more about trends across the consumer brand universe and how you can have your most productive year yet? Connect with our team to start the conversation.