Do you know who your consumer is? Do you know what they like, what they need, what they want? Do you know how you can solve their problems, make their lives better? Do you have a picture of what they will expect from you in the future? If not, why not?
- Know your consumer.
- Prepare with trend forecasting.
- Future-proof your business.
Know your consumer.
Questions, questions, questions. But they are questions that every brand, business and organisation must be able to answer if they are to succeed in the future. Today’s consumer has much more of a say in the brands and businesses they choose to interact with, and it’s vital that you know who it is you’re talking to. Brilliant as he was at the time, Don Draper has retired now and mass marketing is very much a thing of the past.
Access, visibility, technology and media have given individuals the power to take part, to contribute, to stand up for opinions, and to be in the brand conversation. This power is now an accepted part of all of our lives, and it influences everything, including our purchasing decisions. Consumers are no longer making those decisions based simply upon product and price, they’re now looking at what a brand says, what it does, why it does it, and what it stands for.
‘Consumer values are changing faster than ever before and they are demanding a different approach from brands. Only those with their eyes on the horizon will be best prepared to tackle challenges when they get there.’The Future Laboratory.
Prepare with trend forecasting.
Having eyes on the horizon is where trend forecasting comes in, but first lets one thing straight. The term ‘trend’ (and especially its action ‘trending’) has become an integral part of the social media lexicon, and that’s fine. But we are not talking a few hours, likes and followers here, we are using the term in its truest sense – trend: def ‘a general direction in which something is developing or changing’.
So how do we discover that game-changing trend? Of course there is a level of insight mining and research that you can undertake yourself, I’ve done this with some success on more than one occasion. However, as the pace of change increases, and consumer expectations evolve more quickly than ever before, its important to reach out for insight from the experts.
At Use.Smart we work with leading trends forecasters LS:N Global, the trends intelligence platform of The Future Laboratory, to understand key shifts in consumer behaviours and mindsets, and to form a comprehensive picture of what is motivating a new generation.
One of the world’s most renowned futures consultants, working with brands such as Google, Unilever and Airbnb, The Future Laboratory are able to draw upon a workforce of more than 70 in-house experts, as well as teams of journalists, writers, visual researchers and innovation analysts to document the new and the next across 14 sectors world-wide. That’s a bit more brain-power than just yours truly, and a its valuable investment in future success.
‘It is our short term thinking today that poses the greatest threat to our success tomorrow.’Martin Raymond, Co-Founder, The Future Laboratory.
Future-proof your business.
Foresight Editor, Kathryn Bishop, recently presented another of our Use.Space Facebook Live sessions, during which she outlined the LS:N Global approach of ‘hindsight, insight and foresight’. Their trends are built around these three sections, with ‘hindsight’ providing a look back at key events and behaviours that have occurred in the recent past. This leads nicely into ‘insight’ and a view of the Micro Trends starting to emerge today that will shape the next one to three years. Then there is ‘foresight’, which as the name suggests is all about what’s next, and looking ahead at the Macro Trends that will influence the next five to ten years.
‘You can’t look to the future without looking back at what’s happened in the past.’Kathryn Bishop – Foresight Editor, LS:N Global
The obvious lessons here are that we must all look much further than the immediate 2020 trends that may currently be front of mind, and thinking about only the next six months to a year may not be beneficial to the long term future.
To really know and understand what matters to consumers, we must look at their human needs, their sense of belonging and identity (yes, just as outlined some years ago by psychologist and philosopher Abraham Maslow). We must also have real appreciation of the shifting cultural, social, economic and environmental landscapes that are effecting them. Finally, to become their brand or business of choice, we must Identify the trends that will be most relevant and most impactful.
If you would like to know more about how trends forecasting can help future proof your brand or business, get in touch via our website.