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Why Trends are important for business? Why identifying trends is the real new trend?

Scott Cook, a founder and former CEO of Intuit, once stated, "Even some of the greatest technology-led revolutions, or allegedly technology-led, really were only made possible because of trends already present."

Peter Bisson, Elizabeth Stephenson, and S. Patrick Viguerie, executives with McKinsey & Company, write: [Global forces: An introduction," McKinsey Quarterly, June 2010]:

"Most business managers, confronted with the global forces shaping the business landscape, also assume that their ability to sculpt the future is minimal. They are right that they can do little to change a demographic trend or a widespread shift in consumer consciousness. But they can react to such forces or, even better, anticipate them to their own advantage. Above all, they ignore these forces at their peril. Business history is littered with examples of companies that missed important trends; think digitization and the music industry. Yet this history also shines with examples of companies that spied the forces changing the global business scene and used them to protect or contribute to the bottom line. Companies ranging from insurers to energy producers did precisely that in embracing the growing social concern about climate change. So did Wal-Mart Stores in applying technology to automate inventory management and reduce costs dramatically for the company and its suppliers. The fact is, trends matter."

Bisson, Stephenson, and Viguerie argue that all good business people should find out what trends are afoot and exploit them. They continue:

"Systematically spotting and acting on emerging [trends] helps companies to capture market opportunities, test risks, and spur innovation. Today, when the biggest business challenge is responding to a world in which the frame and basis of competition are always changing, any effort to set corporate strategy must consider more than traditional performance measures, such as a company’s core capabilities and the structure of the industry in which it competes. Managers must also gain an understanding of deep external forces and the narrower trends they can unleash. In our experience, if senior executives wait for the full impact of global forces to manifest themselves at an industry and company level, they will have waited too long."

There are plenty of examples of how companies/brands deal with trends.

Example 1: Mattel’s Barbie lost market leadership within a single year from the brand new competitor Bratz, because it failed to see how new youngsters are maturing much earlier in life.

Example 2: Tata’s nano car, the ‘cheapest car in the world’, designed to serve the rising middle class in India. The idea is simple: the average income of Indian is rising to standards where they can afford to buy a status item, such as a car.

Example 3: Based on the trend that "instead of just being in more channels for the sake of being in more channels, brands should be there with a clear purpose and value", the example of Antwerp’s Hotel Banks and its “Mini Fashion Bar” is perfect. All hotel rooms are stocked with fashionable apparel and accessories from the French fashion brand Pimkie. Hotel guests can use the bar as they would use the more traditional mini-bar, but with a fashion concierge available to answer style questions or get you that cool dress or jacket in a different size.

Example 4: People today want to know not only what a brand actually is, but the people behind the brand and what they stand for. Choices are plenty and consumers are looking for more than just a product or service. This can explain the dramatic rise of Tom’s Shoes, or the popularity of Studio 189, or the innovation of Recyclebank, which rewards you with deals and discounts from local businesses when you do something to help bring about a waste-free future. According to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 90% of consumers would switch brands to one associated with a good cause and 84% seek out responsible products whenever possible.

Example 5: Identifying the emotional drivers behind decision making gives marketers an incredibly powerful lever to shape the best selling strategy. Brands should evoke an emotional response, leading consumers to make a purchase (or to register for a download, sign up for an event, fill out a form for more information, or any other conversion event). Brands such as Apple and Nike have used emotional triggering for a long time. A representative example of emotions-based marketing is the latest campaign of Always #LikeAGirl.

Smart brands will ‘utilize’ emotions for meaningful positioning, differentiation and connection with consumers.

Examples are endless, since new trends are constantly emerging! Follow trends, do not ignore them. The only ‘follow’ that can make you ‘lead’!

Stay tuned: more blogposts on trending will follow soon!

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