How Trendspotting Can Change Your Business
Buzzwords are a fact of life in the modern business world. Whether you’re a small startup or a major corporation, you can’t get through a day without hearing a new term you’ve never heard before, and often, these terms are essential in identifying current best practices and new tools to maintain your edge of the competition.
One such term that’s come up over the past few years is “trendspotting.” This is an essential tool that every entrepreneur should adopt and become adept with to stay at the head of the pack and keep their business evolving with changing trends. Check out a thorough overview of trendspotting, including all you need to know to use this important tool to take your small business to the next level.
Overview of Trendspotting
At its most basic level, trendspotting is exactly what it sounds like — the ability to spot current and upcoming trends in an industry so that you can adopt them, stay on top of them and get ahead of the next big thing. Those businesses that are best able to use this tactic are the ones that stand to have the most success and growth over the years.
A solid overview of trendspotting, however, has to look at how the process goes beyond just seeing an upcoming trend; it means being able to cultivate and curate trends, as well. This means spotting things that have the potential to trend, then adopt and adapt them to your business. It may not mean changing what you sell but simply adopting trends in marketing efforts.
Trends on the Radar for 2018
There are a number of major trends upcoming in 2018, and understanding how to adapt them to your business (or adapt your business to them) will be key to your ongoing success. Among these is the authentic fame-seeker, the creator who is building their brand through social media and viral marketing. These are the online gurus who build a passionate legion of followers, allowing them to become the next big online thing.
The rise of small businesses that have become wildly successful through social media marketing has changed the entire face of business in the digital age, but they’re not the only upcoming trend. Others include the rise of zCommerce (augmented commerce). This is the use of augmented reality for realizing product sales.
Other trends include assisted development, virtual companions, post-purchase forgiveness (also called “forgiving by design”) and greater transparency than ever before. There’s also another version in the works known as aCommerce (automated commerce).
How Trendspotting Works
Engaging in effective trendspotting means paying close attention to what’s happening in the business industry at all times. It means watching your own sector as well as others. It’s the ability to look for patterns, change and progress and to observe tendencies in the behavior of consumers. It’s having an understanding of the way the environment shifts and how it interacts with the behavior of consumers.
In the end, it’s developing an understanding of how consumers feel about and react to the winds of change in the marketplace. We live in an age where digital technology advances and changes at light speed, and consumers adapt and change their preferences and behavior just as quickly. People are hyper-aware of the fragile economy even in the best of times, as well as always being on the lookout for the latest and greatest technology.
If you’re able to see these things, you’ll be able to spot trends as they happen, and you’ll eventually develop the foresight to predict where they’re going in the future. A trend, simply put, is when a method, idea or concept goes from inception to mainstream adoption. Trendspotting lets you see trends before they happen and get ahead of your competitors by taking advantage of opportunities before others.
What’s New About Trendspotting?
Aside from the current popular buzz term (that’s right; trendspotting is itself a trend), it’s been around for decades. It’s what drives the fashion industry. It’s how automakers determine when it’s time for new body styles, design upgrades and fresh colors. It’s been important in business for years.
What is new, however, is the way it’s spreading like wildfire. Such companies as Campbell’s Soup, Wal-Mart, Virgin, Lego and others are now using trend forecasting to drive innovation within their companies, to push their brand and to develop outstanding marketing platforms that take them into the future.
Isn’t That the Same as Market Research?
In some ways, yes, an overview of trendspotting involves skill in market research. Trendspotting goes beyond that, however, while at the same time being much more focused. General marketing research looks at overall market forces, sale prices, how your competitors are marketing themselves, whether the market is overcrowded or underserved and many other factors that affect your sales.
Trendspotting, on the other hand, focuses specifically on what’s going on right now in the way customers react, interact and purchase and how they might change that behavior en masse, in the near future. It enables you to be an early adopter of the newest best practices before anyone else does it, and thus get ahead (and stay ahead) of the game.
Losing Faith in Traditional Marketing
Many leaders in business have lost faith in traditional market research and consumer confidence predictive methods. What were once considered best practices are now falling by the wayside. This is because traditional market research tends to look sideways and backward — what has happened and what is happening — rather than what is happening or the direction in which things are progressing.
Such tactics lead to stagnation and a lack of innovation. When a company fails to innovate, it falls behind the competition and loses the faith of its customer base. In order to find security, modern businesses must constantly innovate. This is done by adopting statistics and trend-watching to predict what’s coming next.
Have you noticed that vendors like Apple and Samsung release new phones like clockwork? There’s a reason for it, and that reason is trendspotting.
Risk Management and Trends
Of course, trend-watching is not a foolproof thing. It can backfire spectacularly if you bet on the wrong patterns; while trends can provide an outstanding strategic framework to drive innovation and keep your company relevant, they can also lead you to back an idea that fails. This leads to the question of whether to do it yourself or to hire a service to do it for you.
If you’re looking to stay relevant in the market, you’ll need to be involved at least on some level; after all, you know your company better than anyone else. However, a good consultant will have the skills and experience to help your company evolve and even create a revolution in the marketplace. It’s all about managing risk, just as with any aspect of your business.
Spotting the Next Big Thing
Spotting the next big thing is really a factor of being attentive. There’s a saying that curiosity killed the cat, but the rest of it says that satisfaction brought it back. Obsess about everything. Look for behavioral patterns. Watch the latest startups in the marketplace. View counter-trends and failures as well as successes. Above all, know your resources.
Knowing Your Resources
The key to any aspect of marketing research, including conducting an overview of trendspotting in the market, means knowing your resources. Staying on top of business trends means knowing where to watch. No one has the power to see the future, but if you remain abreast of current and ongoing trends, you might seem to be prescient to others.
Fortunately, there are tons of websites online that do nothing but watch trends and offer services related to trendspotting. Following these sites is a great way to get a leg up on your efforts.
Trend Hunter is both a trend-watching website and an online community unto itself. It features information on viral news campaigns, popular culture, innovative concepts and other trends. In fact, you can even search for trends related to various topics from television, fashion, technology, design, culture, advertising and just about anything else.
The Trend Watching website gives you access to insights and tools toward adapting your business to the latest trends. The resources available here can help you build a campaign that will trend and allow you to consult with live experts in trend watching, while also offering a special intelligence platform to help you build your own trends. There are free accounts plus two tiers of paid accounts, which may be a bit expensive for your average small business.
Since 2003, Cool Hunting has helped companies of all sizes from small startups to major conglomerates catch onto the latest trends in culture, art, style, travel, design and technology. If your business has anything to do with the creative arts, this site is a must-visit trend-watching resource.
One of the most wide-reaching of trend sites, Springwise comprises a curated community of over 20,000 trendspotters covering nearly 200 different countries. The most exciting results in a broad range of areas are then published on the site, making it an outstanding tool for catching the latest and greatest. It is, however, a pay site, so you’ll need to consider the monthly or annual cost in your budget.
More Inspiration is a platform with information regarding trending topics in sports, travel, security, advertising, technology, healthcare and many other areas of interest. In addition, this is one of the few sites out there that actively make use of videos to explain many of the available product descriptions.
Cool Business Ideas
At Cool Business Ideas, you’ll get all the latest information on trending business concepts. While it doesn’t have the hip appearance of Trend Hunter, it’s got tons of free and valuable information regarding the latest hot topics in consumer goods, fashion and design, publishing, media and a range of other topics. It’s a great place to see what’s popular both in your sector and in the general landscape.
There’s got to be something to be said for a trendspotting service that calls itself “The Trendspotter.” This one, however, focuses strongly on the fashion industry, looking at the best ongoing trends in clothing and style for men and women, and it has a fashion-only news section. If you’re in the fashion and design industry, this is a must-bookmark site.
Another pay site, PFSK is a platform that seeks to offer regular updates, reports and newsletters regarding the latest trends in business. It’s not as dynamic as many of the other resources, but it provides an overview of trendspotting statistics and information that can be exceptionally useful in your research.
The Coolist takes an approach similar to a lot of news sites you may have seen. While this might seem outdated, it’s very user-friendly and easy to navigate. It’s a great resource for its community who want the best in the latest trending home design, crafts and fashion industries.
Who doesn’t love a TED Talk? TED has been around since 1984, and its sole purpose since that day has been to present ideas that are worth spreading. In short — it has been creating trends since day one. While once it was just a convention, now it’s an ongoing series of talks that can be viewed on TED’s website in a broad range of topics including technology, entertainment, design, social issues and more.
If you can think of a topic, there’s probably a TED Talk about it. It has become one of the most influential sites on the web as far as entrepreneurship and best practices in business are concerned.
There’s no doubt that trendspotting is essential to business success for companies of all sizes. It’s just one aspect of business growth that you need to adopt, however. If you want to grow your small business while taking advantage of trendspotting, then the best idea is to make sure you have access to the right funding resources. Whether you choose a small business loan or some other funding source, you’ll always have the capital you need to take your business wherever you want it to go.