Women business leaders need resources to hone their trend watching skills that will help them keep up with where the market is headed and know where to take your company into the future.
trendwatching.com, is one of the world’s leading consumer trends firm relying on a global network of hundreds of spotters. They are a great resource for trends and have honed a list of 15 Trend Watching Tips to further develop your trend watching skills:
- Know why you’re tracking trends. Consumer needs remain the same, yet can be unlocked in new ways; these ‘unlockers’ can be anything from changes in societal norms and values, to a breakthrough in technology, to a rise in prosperity.
- Don’t get your trends mixed up. Switched-on women business leaders should track at least three trend levels: Macro Trends, Consumer Trends, and Industry Trends.
- Know a fad when you see (or smell) one. Fads won’t dramatically change the consumer arena. At most, they’re yet another manifestation of the fact that consumers want to be unique or crave convenience and surprise. The latter are actually trends. The products are fads.
- Don’t apply all trends to all people. Remember, in life and in trends: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
- Be (very) curious. Ask yourself ‘why’ whenever you notice something new, instead of immediately looking for shortcomings.
- Have a point of view. The more trends you spot and track, and the more skilled you’ll be at putting these trends into context, the more guidance you’ll have. When you have a broad point of view, even tiny observations start to make sense.
- Benefit from an unprecedented abundance of resources. Celebrate the incredible wealth of (real-time) trend resources at your fingertips via the Web, music, magazines and other media.
- Name your trends. It’s crucial to describe trends as imaginatively as possible so that you can arouse curiosity about the trend, create a common language for the trend and track activity around the trend.
- Build your trend framework. Create a “trend framework” by developing a long list of all the trends you’ve spotted over the years. Divide the list by main and sub trends, and track how these trends interact with each other.
- Start a trend group (even if it’s just you). Enlist your colleagues, friends, family, customers and suppliers to spot consumer trends.
- Secure senior backing or be doomed. Think of ways you can get final decision makers behind you. You can spot and apply trends like there’s no tomorrow, but in the end it won’t matter without their support.
- Don’t worry about timing or life cycles or regional suitability or . . . Avoid worrying about all the possible “what ifs” and instead look for opportunities—not threats.
- Apply, apply, apply. Ask yourself if the trend you’ve spotted has the potential to: Influence the company’s vision, become a new business concept, add “something” new for a certain customer segment or speak the language of those who are already “living” the trend.
- Have some fun! Please, don’t be too earnest about the quest at hand: trend watching is about coming up with exciting new products and services for your customers, nothing more and nothing less.
- Let others do some of the work for you. You don’t have time to do it all yourself so let trend professionals do part of the work for you.
As you utilize these tips to better understand an evaluate consumer trends, there is one more thing you shouldn’t underestimate: your woman’s intuition.
Women business leaders continually have to make smart choices for both their professional and personal lives. With a level head and sharp focus, we often naturally discern the best option out of group of many. So don’t forget to trust your instincts as you track trends and choose the next direction for your business.