Knowing about the next big trend is not enough.
Instead you need to look at the trends and how they converge with consumer behavior, technology and the business landscape.
DeeDee Gordon, president of Sterling Brands, shared how you can imagine a future you can act on today at a recent American Marketing Association meeting in Richmond, Va.
Gordon is a renowned consumer insight and trends expert who has been at the leading edge of trend research for more than 15 years. “I have a problem,” she told the audience. “I am a trends junkie. I love to bring them to life.”
One trend she identified is metromorphis, the future of how we live and play. “It’s a fancy way of saying urbanization,” she said.
With more people living in a crowded environment, for example, there is an emphasis on how individuals can have access to clean, healthy air.
Because trends often don’t feel tangible, Gordon said her company embarks on a vigorous process to identify the trends. That includes placing the trend against a set of criteria. Trends must percolate within the culture for three to five years and must happen in both suburbs and rural locations, she said.
To show a trend’s true value, she said, you have to contextualize it within a business environment.
Looking at the intersections of cultural and global trends, consumer insights, new technology and the business landscape, her company is able to find opportunity spaces, which she said leads to big ideas.
In studying urban wellness for a client, for example, her company identified several opportunities, including a refresher box, which is similar to a phone booth, but when a person enters it the filtered air is fortified with essential nutrients.
Gordon said trends are always better supported by business technology and consumer insights. She also stressed, “It’s important to learn from others and to collaborate. Think big but keep yourself grounded.”