You talk about how there is missed opportunity now for brands to connect with their audiences in real life, face-to-face. Everyone is too focused on social media – I get it and agree.
However, what is your advice towards brand communication on what we should be doing two years from now?
From Trend-Worried, USA.
You’re not the first person to ask this and sure not to be the last. I don’t believe in trend forecasting. It wastes energy, time and resources that if applied to the NOW
would have much greater effect.
If you pay attention to what is happening at present, you will quickly feel where you are going and what is required. You are creative (no matter if that is in your job title or not) and with attention can tune your intuition and skillset to be receptive to societal, cultural, and market-based happenings.
Whatever you do, do not outsource this process!
DO NOT OUTSOURCE CREATIVITY
'THE FUTURE' IS A BUSINESS
Trend forecasting has become a big business, and I urge you not to engage in it. Why?
- These businesses package cultural movements as concise packages that are sellable.
- Majority of what they sell is self-fulfilling. For example, fashion ‘forecaster’ WGSN has 50% market share – their customers by their reports as insurance that the clothes they make will be in step with the market.
No wonder fashion trends happen so basic-ally. “Predictions” drive trend cycles. Creativity is removed and fast fashion creates what these reports say is fashionable.
- If you took the money you were willing to pay for predictions and used it to do something remarkable and sensible to RIGHT NOW – your brand would be in a much better place. Now and in the future.
“Nobody can really predict or forecast trends.
If forecasters can claim accuracy rates of up to 80%, it is because their predictions are self-driving”
MAGIC AND DATA
WGSN co-founder Mark Worth
Do you believe that there are beings gifted with the ability to predict trends? Zen-like individuals who future trends come to as if by osmosis? Obviously not.
The other alternative is data-driven. This and AI is starting to compete with ‘traditional’ trend forecasting. Collating data from retailers’ IT systems or using search data (Google has launched a ‘trendspotting’ division making reports based on this) is the latest product selling predictions. It is still in its infancy and the latest study
found that the best predictive models get it wrong more than half the time.
Data analysis has driven the trend-forecasting business to become “more pedantic”
and reductive of human behaviour to percentages. We’re not that simple.