Monday, December 3, 2007

a trend room

I'm currently handling duties to construct a Trend Lab that functions as a think tank, findings holding ground, and all-around cool place for the agency to do some brainstorming.

To start, I collected all the trends from Iconoculture and Trendwatching.
I separated them by year and plotted them on a continuum. I started to look for patterns, but then I stopped.

What IS a trend? I wanted to figure this out first and foremost. If this was to be an ongoing project, it needs to be founded on a belief system with agreed upon values.

A trend is of significance when it concerns a mass amount of people (i.e. it's not just a blip on the radar, it's multiple blips that = a movement). A fad is not a movement; a fad is a blip. Ok, so a trend is a movement. A movement of what? Or why? I birthed a hypothesis that a trend is a reflection of consumers' needs gaining momentum. Trends with names like "Transparency Tyranny" or "InfoLust" both signify that marketing has asked a question, and the cultural cosmos has answered with a stance - a need - a reflection - an insight. Then because the trend is called out and contained within a definition, marketers can, in turn, react to this "need." Iconoculture and Trendwatching both identify brands and companies that excel in these trend times (probably because they have fulfilled a need).

Maybe this has already been out there in the ad world for a while, but I feel like I just stumbled on it for the first time. A "trend" before now has seemed like just a cool thing; a fad in itself; a subject to write newsletters on and start websites about. Trends are identified with words like what's hot, cool finds, things to watch. etc.

Trendwatching.com says a trend is:
  • A manifestation of something that has 'unlocked' or newly serviced an existing consumer need, desire, want, value.
See. They knew it all along. :p Well, at least they knew it in 2002, and Iconoculture knew it in 2003. And now I know it, and I value its application and implications.

So with a room, my teams and I will be collecting "cries" for help: Consumers who need - validation, acceptance, an answer, a response, community - a trend. A movement...to rally around a need.

In a brand world of relationships with consumers, brands have to be nimble enough to respond to these needs accordingly. If there's a movement and your brand doesn't respond, that's one notch on the "honey, you didn't listen to me" contention-belt. And points of contention in a market full of choices will weed yours out pretty quick. May the best brands win. Plan on.

2 comments:

Daniel said...

Hey Erin, nice project. Will you start a new blog to post your findings?

Daniel Mejia
http://danielmejia.wordpress.com

mike said...

nice one erin

you can steal some of the sites from this list
http://thingsdonotchangewechange.blogspot.com/2007/10/sites-for-custom-search-engines.html

or custom search engine here
http://thingsdonotchangewechange.blogspot.com/2007/10/industry-custom-search-engines.html

let us know how it goes