Some time ago I had the privilege to participate in a massive trend event organized by a trend agency called Trendwatching.com. You might already be familiar with their free online content and monthly briefings (if you are not, check it out!), and in addition to those they provide a subscription based premium service packages and live events all around the world. After using their premium content for some time I was eager to see how they would put together a live show!
I was most eager to hear about their methodologies in collecting data and analyzing and forecasting trends, and these were all presented first thing in the morning. Trendwatching.com has an army of trendspotters from around the world who spot exiting new innovations and report back to the trend team. The team then matches the new innovations to their existing trend framework to analyze which way the trends are moving and how to update the framework itself. About 90% of spotted things fit this framework, but with the 10 % it gets exciting. Whenever there of these oddballs are found and if they can easily be grouped together, a new trend is created! Even though forecasting is not always simple and straightforward, I quite like this mechanical approach. It can be easily adapted to any organization wanting to find a way to do a little forecasting themselves.
A simple Venn diagram can be used by anyone to find the sweet spot between needs, drivers and innovations.
Almost all of the sessions concentrated on brands and their role in today’s consumption world. The role seems to be heavily changing all the time, and brands really have a hard time keeping up. It is often debated if brands even have a future, but according to the speakers at the event there is still hope! It is good to keep in mind that consumer expectations will always increase and never go backwards, and this applies to services as well. Brands and businesses need to find ways to eliminate the tedious tasks from the consumer journey – the ones the consumers don’t want to do themselves or ones that they are otherwise willing to outsource. Also it’s important to consider what can be solved with technical solutions and when a human touch is needed or expected to create a trustful experience. In many cases using technology can be justified by efficiency, but there is a fine line splitting this. Still all in all, by creating smooth brand experiences companies are able to better keep up with the ever changing landscapes.
How brands can justify their existence and claim their spot in consumers’ lives?
Brands as educators – Help the consumers be better versions of themselves. Brands can conquer new self-improvement frontiers by thinking how they could help the consumers learn and develop. After all, everybody wants to be a better person!
Brands as first responders – Use you capacity and power to help in times of crisis. Think of new ways to use and reuse things that already exist to assist when needed. Is there something you could do to help save the planet?
Stakeholder brands – Take care of your staff. To create a hyperlocal impact the members of staff can be given a stake of the business or even creative control over a project.
Brands reconciling – Take action to create social harmony. Brands who say what they stand for stand out positively. Especially the Millennial consumers appreciate brands who take a stand, even a political one!
Finally – you need to stay on top of things to keep afloat. Don’t be the Starbucks Grandpa trying to stick to his same old ways no matter what!