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How are other businesses applying this trend?
Seeing what other purposed businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits, governments even, are already doing with the trend is a great way to better understand it (and gain inspiration!).
Indeed, very few ‘innovations’ are totally new. Most (successful) innovation comes from combining seemingly unrelated elements, or deploying something in a new context.
So try this: look at existing business innovations, understand them, then adapt them to your business. To gain as wide a perspective as possible, look specifically at other industries, other regions or cultures, or other types of business (e.g. corporates versus start-ups).
What deep consumer needs & desires does this trend address?
Consumer trends – and consumer behaviors more broadly – are ultimately driven by these rarely-if-ever-changing basic human needs and desires. Identifying these underlying needs is central to understanding any consumer trend.
Where to start? How about these:
Why is this trend emerging now? What's changing?
To analyze change, think Shifts and Triggers.
Shifts are the long-term, macro changes that are playing out across years or even decades, that while not consumer trends themselves, will shape both the direction and flavor of a specific trend. You can think about the PESTLE framework as a guide to identify shifts. Or see Bain Consulting Group's overview of Big Trends (such as climate crisis, urban transition and ageing world) for a good summary of the macro shifts currently shaping the world.
Triggers are the more immediate changes that drive the emergence of a consumer trend. These can include specific technologies, political events, economic shocks, environmental incidents and more. For example, the events of 2020 made everyone realize the importance of working on their emotional resilience through 'MINDCRAFT' and made companies embrace the SYNCHRONOS trend, assisting burned out consumers in resetting the clocks.
Try looking at the data behind the trend. Rapid growth or sudden shifts, even if the absolute numbers might be small, are worth attention.
What new consumer needs, wants, and expectations are created by the changes identified above? Where and how does this trend satisfy them?
New consumer trends emerge when basic human needs bump up against external change to create (or unlock) new needs, wants, and desires. And identifying these unmet needs and wants is the holy grail of understanding trends, as it will present you with compelling innovation opportunities.
To identify emerging needs, wants, and desires, look for expectation gaps between what consumers want, and what they currently have.
Ask yourself “What do those consumers - embracing the brands, products, and services that embody this trend now - want or even expect?”.
One further tip: pay careful attention to other industries. Consumers don’t think in industry silos. New expectations of quality or service will usually be set outside your industry, but they won’t remain there for long.
How and where could you apply this trend to your business?
We’ve long said that when thinking about a consumer trend, it helps to consider how and where it could impact your business using these four areas:
Which (new) customer groups could you apply this trend to? What would you have to change?
Say ‘trends’ and many people instantly think of demographics. And of course, consumers that share certain traits (whether in age, income, lifestyle, tribe, location, etc.) will often have similar tastes and preferences.
But when it comes to applying consumer trends, try thinking beyond those who are currently living the trend. Indeed, thinking about what changes you would have to make, to make this trend relevant for other (new) demographics, is a great way to come up with new innovations.
Need further inspiration? Then look to the margins and at what extreme users are currently doing. New consumer behaviors usually start with certain (niche) segments, before evolving and spreading throughout the mass market.
Finally, generate your innovation ideas in this final section. Do this by coming up with as many combinations and permutations of the Emerging Expectations to address, the Innovation Type and the Who.
Before you wrap up, you and your team can discuss and select the final idea to pitch to the other teams.
The Consumer Trend Canvas is easy to use - nothing is stopping you from using it often. By yourself, or, preferably, with a team. Quickly turning any trend into a new meaningful business opportunity truly is as good as it gets.
Want us to run a Consumer Trend Canvas workshop for you? Do reach out to Matthijs van Waveren, our Business Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.