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Three ways to take trends forward

Did you start yoga this year? Went on a new diet? Or began to read more books? The start of a new calendar year typically comes with long lists of good intentions. Similarly, that time of year is characterized by the release of trend lists. Just Google ‘trends report 2022’ and you’ll get more than 7 billion (!) hits.

One of those is our very own 2022 Consumer Trends Report. That’s right, for the second year in a row, we are introducing a set of trends that will define the attitudes and behavior of consumers in the year ahead. Through in-depth exploration with leading-edge consumers, we identified 10 trends which we validated with 15,771 consumers across the globe. So yes, we are also guilty of contributing to the wealth of trend reports out there.

But having browsed through some of those trend reports, you may wonder what you should do next? As interesting and inspiring as they may be, many readers struggle with their actionability. To inspire you, we share three ways to take consumer trends forward.

 

#1 BRAND STRATEGY & (RE)POSITIONING

Understand which trends and cultural insights impact your brand strategy and (re)positioning.

As the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in 2020, it triggered conversations on a more inclusive and representative future. This was also the case at Philip’s reseller, a leading tech and services retailer. The brand questioned how well they catered for Black African Americans, particularly when it came to haircare. ​Philips decided to inspire and support their partner, a leading US retailer, by bringing thought leadership and insights to the table that could help establish a more inclusive approach. By combining social intelligence and the power of leading-edge consumers, Philips North America gained a better understanding of Black African American haircare, enabling them to inspire and support their partner.​

Another example is what Space Doctorsa cultural and creative consultancy we joined forces with in 2021 – did for P&G’s brand Gillette. By connecting Gillette to the globally emerging shifts in gender, the Space Doctors team helped them build a dynamic and future-facing strategy, thereby shaping the brand’s positioning, product development and communications. It inspired Gillette to launch a campaign featuring a transgender model, setting them on a new path encompassing more diverse and inclusive representations of masculinity.

#2 CONSUMER ADOPTION

Understand how trends are manifesting amongst your consumers, by exploring trend adoption in your existing community or running a survey to test the breath and depth of certain trends.

Sustainability has been a driver amongst consumers and brands for the past years. Nestlé Australia, the world’s largest food producer, wanted to immerse into people’s recycling attitudes and habits, to discover opportunities to better support consumers in this area. Our insight community approach allowed to go beyond what people are saying and observe what they are doing in the moment. ​This revealed the vast gap between what people were doing and what they should have been doing. The project highlighted the size of the challenge to educate people, as well as changing everyone’s behavior, if we are to do better.

#3 SHAPING THE SOLUTION SPACE

Co-create potential solution areas through creative crowdsourcing.

Recently, we involved our eÿeka network of creative consumers in a co-creation challenge for the toy industry. They were invited to co-create solutions linked to the ‘Extending Life’ trend, which is all about living more sustainably by extending the life of items, instead of buying new.

As children like to constantly try out new toys, they quickly lose interest in what they already have. On top of that, many toys are life-stage-specific, so as soon as a child outgrows them, they end up in the back of a cupboard or are thrown away. A challenge for the toy industry is to find innovative ways to extend the lifetime of toys and give Millennial parents sustainable options. Within two weeks, participants from more than 20 different countries joined the creative crowdsourcing contest, which resulted in 53 ideas on how to extend the lifetime of toys and games. One of the winning ideas was a boardgame that ‘grows’ with the child and moves from offline to phygital to metaverse reality.

Another example, focused on asset development, is what Space Doctors did for Costa. This British coffee-house chain wanted to develop a ‘mini-format’ store, catering to commuters. Yet, as the brand is being loved for its slower-paced ‘cosy coffee and cake’ experience, this presented a challenge: how to create handcrafted coffee at speed in an authentically Costa way? Space Doctors helped Costa design their future store experience by applying a hybrid methodology, combining experience design, service innovation, and semiotics. This resulted in a successful ‘mini-format’ store, focused on quick and efficient service while not compromising on quality.

The true value of trends thus lies in applying them to your business challenges. So, what’s next? How are you going to take further the cultural shifts and emerging trends that shape your consumer, your category and your brand? Get in touch for a conversation on how we can help tackle your consumer trend questions!
2022 Consumer Trends Report

2022 Consumer Trends report

As experts in people-centric future thinking, we identified 10 consumer trends for 2022, and we validated these with 15,000 consumers in 17 markets around the globe. This report shows the emerging trends that are shaping the 2022 consumer.

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