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. 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 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.


Daniel said...

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

Daniel Mejia

mike said...

nice one erin

you can steal some of the sites from this list

or custom search engine here

let us know how it goes