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Emerging Trend Report Introduction
What does it mean to Wave? How is crowdfunding revolutionizing
the non-profit sector? What does it mean to make tangible impact?
Since our 2009 trend report, Google Wave has turned the tech world
on its head, Kiva revolutionized the non-profit business model and
Kliener Perkins is funding eco-innovation with the $500 million Green
Fund. While there is a unifying theme (think sustainability, green,
digital communities, crowdsourcing) throughout the 2010 trends,
there is also a feeling of restlessness. Wall Street culture is causing a
class divide with Main Street and we have seen little, of the
What does all of this mean? We have analyzed key digital
innovators, such as Google and Amazon, alongside the rise of China
and the global marketplace and the class divide between Wall Street
and Main Street to provide a comprehensive view of what we can
expect in 2010.
4 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
The Top 20 Trends for 2010 (#1 – 5)
1. Web of Intelligence
Since the late 1990s, Amazon has leveraged web intelligence to create a personalized user experience. Today,
Google is taking this concept into new areas, such as e-mail and search. We explore how will web intelligence will
change the way we learn, communicate and navigate the web.
2. Agile Development
In the past, corporations have been slow to innovate -- erring on the side of caution instead of action. As company
coffers continue to shrink, it's becoming evermore crucial to innovate on a dime. IBM's new CIO study showed that
55 percent of their time is focused on innovation.
3. Freedom: new way of creativity
With more self-publishing tools on the web than ever, everyone can share their voice. Whether you're a graphic
designer on Tumblr or a poet on Google Wave or a WordPress auto aficionado, everyday online platforms are
making creative expression more accessible to a greater audience.
4. Influencer Society
The web completely revolutionized influence by enabling niche community leaders to become global digital
superstars and have real-world impact. The web enabled Perez Hilton to transition from anonymity to internet
superstar. As internet usage increases in 2010, we should expect more digital superstars to become book authors
to television hosts.
blur Group, alongside the non-profit, Kiva are tapping into the resources of many to create impact. Whether it's
loans for entrepreneurs in developing nations or the creative talents of thousands of freelancers, the crowdsourcing
business model is changing the way we do business in new and exciting ways.
5 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
The Top 20 Trends for 2010 (#6 – 10)
6. Differentiation Diva
In 2009, the Heene family pretended that their child was floating around in a balloon and Tareq and Michaele
Salahi managed to crash the White House. More and more people and companies are trying to get attention --
whether it's crashing the Whitehouse or Lady Gaga in ridiculous outfits.
7. Reputational Currency
What is the role of reputation in a network economy? Social media, in particular, has become an important staple in
our professional and personal lives. As such, our digital identities have merged together and no longer is there a
separate professional you or a personal you. Google search, Facebook and more recently Twitter Lists have made
your online reputation one of your most valued digital assets.
Through vast networks of internet users from around the globe, the web has brought us closer together than ever
before in history. As such, the value of reciprocity in communities is increasing in value. For instance, the crowd-
funding non-profit, Kiva reached an incredible $100 million in loans in just four short years.
9. Giving is In, Greedy is Out
We were spot-on with our Pay Forward trend in 2009, but will it carry over into 2010? While budgets might be
tight, our time is not. Accordingly, volunteerism is up. A CNCS report shows that about 8.2 million young people
(ages 16-24) volunteered in 2008, compared with about 7.6 million in 2007.
10. Global Village
The US is developing into an increasingly multicultural nation as immigrants pour into the country. Meanwhile, the
US is sharing the international stage with China and other emerging nations. As a result, marketers and stock
brokers alike should be diversifying their audience to meet this growing multicultural demand.
6 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
The Top 20 Trends for 2010 (#11 – 15)
11. Green Stream
Going green is not just an added benefit, it is quickly becoming the cost of doing business. We can see spots of
green in the luxury market (think Lexus' new eco-auto), politics (think Obama's eco-funding) and investing,
particularly from legendary venture capital firm, Kliener Perkins.
12. Control RX
What does it mean to be healthy? There is a rising trend in sustainable eating -- from locally sourced meat to green
dining -- as we become more cognizant of our consumption and overall well-being.
13. Reality Check
The digital world can often feel intangible. While sharing ideas in online communities or answering questions on
LinkedIn has value, the Reality Check trend is about transitioning online discussion into real-world action. For
instance, Tweet-Ups gather like-minded people online to meet in person for real-world impact.
14. Recessionista Chic
Whether it's three-year degrees or pay-as-you-go cellular plans, we are maximizing our time and wallets more than
ever. Technology, such as Zipcars, and digitally savvy buyers are pushing the limits to get more for less.
Hulu, the Kindle, Google Wave are many of the brands taking a unique spin on old products and services to create
new, compelling offerings. Hulu spun TV, the Kindle spun books, Google Wave spun e-mail. We will explore how re-
invention can open entire markets.
7 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
The Top 20 Trends for 2010 (#16 – 20)
16. Getting Real
We are all human, we all make mistakes. It is how we live-up to our mistakes that defines our character. For
instance, Ralph Lauren sent a heated letter to blog superstar, Boing Boing, demanding the site take down a
criticism of their ad. In the spirit of transparency, Boing Boing published the letter on their site along with a long,
detailed article of their communication. Shortly thereafter, Boing Boing's criticism of Ralph Lauren was in the top
five results in a Google search for the brand.
17. Community Mobilization
Facebook users post an average of 55 million status updates every day and created more than 3.5 million events
each month. While internet users are engaging in the online world, they are also forming local communities groups.
MeetUp.com has grown significantly in recent months as users seek real-world community.
18. Safety Net
Issues of security are surfacing in many areas of our lives -- from airports to social media. For instance, airport
scanners in the Netherlands can see through clothing and there has recently been push for a safer Facebook.
19. Class Conflict
The great bridge between Wall Street and Main Street was Fannie and Freddie Mac and other mortgage companies.
The relationship between the two became strained when that bridge deteriorated with the near collapse of the
financial system. Since then, Main Street loathes the pervasive greed and corruption on Wall Street.
20. Skeptic Nation
When Obama took office in 2008, there was hope for a better health care system, more job growth and serious
Wall Street reform. A year later, Obama's approval ratings have started to slip. Has this hope faded in the wake of
little reform or recovery? Americans are growing skeptical of the much anticipated change.
8 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 1. Web of Intelligence
Everyday we are bombarded with a seemingly endless stream of Google Magic. In the quest to find relevant, interesting
information and we need clarity. Google is a forerunner in finding information, tech companies such as Google are developing
relevancy amid this sea of information. Recently, the search giant adaptive algorithms that speak to our personal preferences. Google
created personalized search, whereby users browsing history Magic is an effective application of this technology. The RSS
impacts search results. Personalized search is a small part of a Reader feature sifts through all your RSS browsing history to find
much larger trend: web intelligence. relevant feeds and posts.
Amazon was an early leader in web intelligence technology. Newssift. Newssift is a sentiment analysis tool developed by the
Users were recommended products based on their browsing Financial Times. Based on keywords, Newssift measures how many
history on Amazon.com. What makes Google different from articles are positive, negative or neutral regarding your query.
Amazon? Google is making web intelligence tools more Accordingly, users can find information that is in-line with their
commonplace over its vast array of apps and product offerings in opinion of a particular topic, person, place or organization.
an effort to develop a more dynamic interchange between user
Advertisers will target audiences based on user opinions on
particular issues. Based on browsing history, advertisers could
• There are an estimated 200 million blogs (source) target psychographics and lifestyle, not just demographics. With
the framework of sites such as Newssift, advertisers could find
• The Huffington Post publishes an average of 1,700 posts per
audiences that are interested in their messages. Based on a user's
demographics and psychographics, advertisements, such as those
• The average American receives 5,000 advertising messages per on Facebook, are focused on a highly specific target audience
day (source) rather than a broad swath of users.
• PETA has 53% negative and 17% positive sentiment (source) Key Words
Crowdsourcing, data synthesis, sentiment analysis, web intelligence
10 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 2. Agile Development
Often times, large, bureaucratic organizations get too caught up blur Group. Why have a few brilliant minds when you can tap
in the process. All thinking and no doing leads to nowhere. Agile into the creative talents of thousands? blur Group crowdsources
development is about innovating on a dime. For industry leaders, creativity and the talents of their hand-selected online community.
it means focusing on product development and implementation The company is a liaison between client and freelancer -- curating
over strategy. the project development process to ensure quality
Google thrives on agile development. The search giant is a Law of Devolution. What is profitable today might not be
strong proponent of alpha and beta testing. First, Google builds a profitable tomorrow. The Law of Devolution tells us that we should
framework, then releases it to a team of outside developers who be perpetually progressive and forward thinking to compete
provide feedback and refine the product before it hits the beta another day. Google will build a compelling product today --
testing phase. After the developers finish building a strong without any profitability strategy -- so tomorrow it can be
framework, the product is then released on an invitation basis. monetized.
Google is an agile developer because they can make updates in
real time and thrive on open-ended outcomes.
The crowdsourcing model for innovation will be repeated by more
corporations in 2010 -- such as Apple and car manufacturers like
• Google crowdsources innovation. Much like Dell's Ideastorm, the Ford. Open-source platforms, such as FireFox, will become more
search giant calls on the creative talents of its community to pervasive in online apps.
submit and vote on new, innovative ideas. To date, there are
9,945 product ideas for Google Mobile and a total of 408,417
votes. Key Words
• Over the past decade, Google has developed over 40 unique Innovation, cutting edge, alpha and beta testing, real-time
products, including Gmail to Blogger to Wave. feedback
11 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 3. Freedom: new way of creativity
In each period of art and creativity, the major artists of the era Tumblr. The microblogging site has become popular with creative
were influenced by one another, each adhering to certain rules types due to its simplistic yet powerful functionality. With Tumblr,
and styles that others had developed and made popular -- users have the ability to customize every part of their blog page,
creating their own unique style along the way. When the current update their page using a cell phone or smartphone, and become a
period of art and creativity is looked back on, there will be much part of a community of people interested in the same things. The
more to analyze than a painting on a wall. platform provides a creative outlet, where users free to put up
whatever they want, and become inspired by others. Tumblr is one
With the technology we have available today, creative tools are
of the only blogging platforms that encourages self-expression
more accessible than ever before. We all have the freedom to
beyond just writing. Tumblr is a platform for artists and creatives
think as big as we want, and that freedom has brought about a
to showcase their work, and to help promote others. Tumblr's real-
new way of creativity, and the way we think about what’s
time updates on "The Wire" feature some of the most creative and
creative today. The Internet provides a unique platform for self-
inspiring things you'll find on the Internet today.
expression, allowing anyone with access to speak their mind,
share thoughts, and exchange information easily and efficiently.
Stats Online versions of Adobe Suite products give everyone the
opportunity to be creative without paying a high cost. A new
• Android phones may outsell the iPhone by as early as 2012
developer code will be written so that anyone, with or without a
• 60 percent of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be computer science education will be able to contribute to programs
serial entrepreneurs, and 70 percent of today's high schoolers such as Firefox and Google, and even the development of an
intend to start their own companies. iPhone app.
• In one year, Tumblr experienced a 300 percent growth in the
number of unique visitors per month.
• In only four years, the percentage of Americans getting tattoos
Creative geek, spontaneous, simple, freedom, developer,
rose from 15 percent to nearly 25 percent.
12 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 4. Influencer Society
Influencers can be found on nearly every medium -- online, Coca Cola. Coca Cola has really set the stage for corporate
through mass media, and through face-to-face contact. The influencers. Their unique approach to connecting to customers and
newest influencers in the digital space have been empowered by fans on Facebook, combined with their timeless and historic brand
new digital tools and are strategizing ways to make an impact on has kept them riding high despite a tough economy. Coca Cola has
digital society. As the internet continues to grow, more and more also set the curve for many corporations looking to branch out on
people are learning how to make a name for themselves and Facebook and other social networks. The brand’s interactive and
become influencers for their peer groups or industry niches. eye-catching Facebook fan page is one of, if not the best corporate
fan page out there.
They’re doing something different and unique – and the world is
listening and following their lead. While the internet has provided
a platform for more equal opportunity at becoming an influencer,
it is up to each person to study their space and learn how to use
these tools to their maximum advantage. We’ll see a decline in traditional advertising as, despite the FCC
disclosure regulations, companies will utilize the influence of others
and continue to seek out bloggers and influential online faces to
Stats promote their brand and product on their personal Web sites.
• A JC Williams Group consumer survey found that 91 percent of
respondents ranked consumer generated content as the number
Just as Myspace and YouTube have paved the way for a number of
one aid to a buying decision.
successful musicians, top bloggers and Tweeters will be
• 74 percent of customers said they are influenced by the approached by companies for partnership and sponsorship deals.
opinions of others in their decision to buy a product.
• Buzz Agent found that one word of mouth conversation has the
impact of 200 TV ads.
Influence, media, social networks, connections, social capital,
13 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 5. Crowdsourcing
The phrase “following the crowd” has always had a negative Groupon. Groupon’s “Collective Buying Power” relies upon its
connotation. Nobody wants to think of themselves as a lemming crowd to make sure everyone else gets something in return,
or, that their efforts are an inconsequential "drop in the bucket." through the participation of a brave few who are willing to put
With the advent of the internet, though, crowdsourcing has some money on the line without any return. Currently spanning 45
changed the way we look at the "crowd." Though still in its major cities, Groupon produces one deal per day, per city. The
infancy, crowdsourcing has taken the online world by storm. catch? Enough people have to participate blindly (that is, buying in
with the chance of not actually getting the deal) before “the deal is
on.” Now that it’s reached a such wide audience, the deal are
Through the power of the crowd, people from across the world almost always “on” before the sun rises. Groupon's founders help
have come together -- virtually -- and have contributed to the to connect customers with businesses looking to give a good deal,
building and development of products and services for almost and customers are able to participate in a group like they never
every industry imaginable. Entrepreneurs have embraced have done before.
crowdsourcing, finding a whole new platform on which to create
and grow a business.
Online productivity will be ruled by crowdsourcing efforts. From
Stats designing a web page to writing a book or making music, more and
more people will become part of the crowd; because of this, the
• Kiva raised more than $100 million in its first four years of
opinion of the masses will be taken much more seriously than that
of a few experts. The internet is not top down, but side-to-side. It's
• Blur group has over 2,000 members in its marketers crowd producer and sender interact and exchange ideas and knowledge.
• The discount crowd, Groupon, boasts over 500,000 members
Funding, microfinance, social crowd, crowdsource, Internet,
collective intelligence, collaboration
14 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 6. Differentiation Diva
Statistics show that the average American is exposed to between Lady Gaga. Love her or hate her, there's no arguing that Lady
250 and 850 advertising messages each day. Many of these Gaga has made an impression in the music industry, as well as in
messages don't make a difference, but the ones we pay attention the world of fashion with her eccentric style and Euro flare. Though
to stand out for a reason – the product is unique, special, and her efforts are extreme, they definitely get her noticed and get
most of all, has value. Over the past few years, consumers have people talking. Unlike the Heene's or the Salahi's, Lady Gaga's
changed their buying habits, seeking products with a higher extreme measures of standing out are constructive -- she's sold
standard of quality over those that, while inexpensive, won’t last millions of records, gained even more fans, and is admirably
long. securing her place in a notoriously harsh industry.
When times are tough, we recognize how far our money will go,
and we’re willing to pay a little extra for something that hold its Predictions
value. Though it may seem that luxury has taken a backseat in
Luxury brand web sites will create more gated online communities
this economy, giving something that extra touch is what will
for affluent customers. There will be an affinity for exclusivity
make it succeed even more.
rather than just wealth.
Similar to how streaming television platforms work, TV ads will be
• Tiffany & Co. has continually reported higher-than expected short, simple, and will only have one or two per commercial break.
profits throughout 2009; sales exceeded $598 million in the third Product placement will take over for traditional advertising,
quarter alone satisfying viewers and advertisers at the same time.
• Precious metals are en vogue as evidenced by the US Mint sale
of 247,500 ounces of the yellow metal during December despite
a suspension (due to increased sales)
Luxury, gold standard, leadership, targeted marketing, streamlined,
• The Gilt Group raised $43 million to bring luxury designs and
goods to more people
15 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 7. Reputational Currency
Seth Godin is the marketing guru, Guy Kawasaki is the Twitter. Not only can you follow other thought leaders, you can
entrepreneur, Chris Brogan is the social media master and Dan also build an audience of your own. Twitter is a great place to build
Schwabel is the personal branding leader. Each of these social and human capital, a place to show off your skills, relay
enterprising individuals spent years crafting their reputation as opinions, and learn from others. If done right, others may soon
thought leaders. Each has utilized one or more digital platforms look to you as a leader in your field. Chris Brogan wrote in his book
to build a strong, lasting reputation. While blogging is the Trust Agents that a true social media expert won’t refer to him or
primary media, Twitter and LinkedIn are also powerful platforms herself as such, but will develop the reputation from his or her
to build a meaningful reputation. peers.
LinkedIn. LinkedIn recommendations feature is unique to its
network. No longer do job applicants need to write “references
available upon request” at the bottom of a resume, or keep a
• Harvard’s reputation for education, as well as its reputation for running list of possible references who employers may or may not
providing outstanding financial aid packages, drew more than call. Recommendations give a more personalized and honest view
29,000 applicants for just 1,700 spots last year. Numbers like of you, and may touch on areas of your work habits that a hiring
these add to the university’s reputation for very low acceptance manager may neglect to ask about over the phone.
• In a survey of 2,500 hiring managers, CareerBuilder.com found
Paper resumes are decreasing in value. LinkedIn becomes the
that 38 percent of respondents said they had searched social
number one place to view and review candidates.
networks to find out more information about applicants. One in
four said the results contributed to the hiring of an applicant,
while 38 percent admitted to dismissing a candidate because of
what they’d found.
Value, reputation, connections, relationships, network
16 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 8. Reciprocity
“Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” The Golden Kiva. As a prime example of a digital exchange economy, Kiva
Rule is often repeated, but seems to be rarely followed. That is, connects entrepreneurs and lenders from around the world over
until you look closely. We are entering into a network economy, the Internet. Through Kiva, lenders donate money to help others
where our online connections are just as important as those build their business, but are paid back when the entrepreneurs find
offline. Social media and online interactions have brought us success. The cycle continues, over and over, building the perfect
together in ways like never before, causing our culture to example of reciprocity.
develop an unwritten rule of reciprocity both on and offline. Call
Authenticity. In the days of AOL, chat rooms abounded with
it karma, paying it forward, or returning the favor – it all boils
hate and attacks among users of all ages. Now with social media
down to reciprocity, and the act of exchanging goods, services,
networks, that feeling of hate has changed to respect, with positive
or goodwill with people in your own backyard, and all around the
conversations being fostered on public platforms such as blog
comments and community forums. We can put a name to a face
and interact in a much different way, making these networks more
human and enabling individuals to connect on deeper levels.
• Reciprocity can be found in basic human connection. For
instance, Craigslist has seen an increased use of the bartering Predictions
section of the classifieds; the number of ad listings has doubled
Less passive following and more active listening and participation
in the past year.
will be done across all platforms. Social networks relying entirely
on interaction will begin to sprout, rather than be placeholding
profiles for users.
• The number of companies matching charitable donations
continues to stay steady despite a tough economic outlook.
• Kiva has a 98 percent success rate for the repayment of loans. Reciprocity, exchange economy, social capital, karma, goodwill,
17 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 9. Giving is in. Greedy is out.
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do Volunteerism. While our wallets might be pinched from the
for your country." J.F. Kennedy spoke these words in 1961 and recession, our time is not. Eighty six percent of non-profit
their meaning has not faded since. At the time JFK gave this organizations are under financial stress. However, a recent survey
famous address, there was racial strife, inequality and our conducted by MAVA found that unemployed workers are
soldiers were fighting a war in another country. The former volunteering more frequently. Consequently, 50 percent of non-
President understood the value in unity -- working together to profits reported an increase in volunteer hours are their
promote change. Today, we face similar challenges in our organization.
political, economic and social systems and it is through
Social Entrepreneurship. There has been a surge of social
volunteerism and altruism that we can move forward into a
entrepreneurs in recent years. Social entrepreneurs blend the
traditional financial model with a social mission. "It's true that 'just
send the check' philanthropy has been flatlining for years -- the
figure of about 1 percent of pre-tax profits for America's corporate
giving has hardly moved for decades," writes the Washington Post.
• A CNCS report shows that about 8.2 million young people (ages
16-24) volunteered in 2008, compared with about 7.6 million in
• Fifty percent of non-profits reported an increase in volunteer As the economy recovers, there will be an uptick in financial
hours are their organization donations and volunteerism.
• Community volunteerism increased 31 percent in the last year.
Benevolence, altruism, volunteerism, unity, social entrepreneurship
18 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 10. Global Village
For many years now, the US has been top dog on the China. "Economists think it will take only three to four years for
international stage. However, that level of influence might China, which recently overtook Britain, to surpass Japan ($4.4tn
decline as other economies experience tremendous growth. The GDP) to become the world's number two economy," writes the
economic impact of the recession might have changed the US's Guardian. The emerging nation's manufacturing sector grew by the
influence in the long-term. More and more, China is moving into largest margin in five years in December, reports the BBC.
the purview. The Shanghai Composite Index was valued at 35
Multi-Culturalism. "While the aging population will be
times reported earnings, more than doubling in a year.
dominated by non-Hispanic white consumers," writes Nielson, "the
majority of new families will be multi-cultural in less than two
decades." Nielson predicts that more than 50 percent of families
Aside from our international presence, within US borders, Nielsen
with children are expected to be multi-cultural and one of every
predicts multi-culturalism is going to drastically impact our
two people entering the US workforce will be Hispanic by 2025.
national consumer package goods (CPG) in the future. The
growth of the Latino population is reflected in political and social Predictions
systems (think Sonia Sotomayor) and that same influence is
As China continues to grow exponentially, the US will lose
going to greatly impact economy -- particularly in the CPG
economic influence on the international stage .
Global, multiculturalism, diversity, China, Latino
• China's overall economy is expected to grow 10% in 2010
• One out of two workers entering the US workforce will be
Hispanic by 2025
• More than 70% of Facebook's users are outside of the US
19 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 11. Green Stream
While there were flickers of the green movement in the 1960s Green Funding. Venture capital firms are funding powerhouses
only recently have we seen an explosion in the green sector. and every year, more are turning to the green sector to invest.
Much like plastics in the early 1970s, starry-eyed investors are Last year, the venture capital firm that helped usher in some of the
lining up at the door to invest in sustainable technology because most successful tech companies (most famously Google), Kleiner
it is not just a trend, it is necessary for a sustainable future. Perkins launched their $500 million Green Growth Fund.
Whether it's green innovation from Kleiner Perkins or sustainable
Green Packaging Inc. "Designers are the architects of how we
packaging, the eco-sector is booming.
interact with the world around us," says Krista Svalbonas, a
Graphic Design Instructor at The Art Institute of New York City.
"They have the ability to shape our relationships with products."
Green Packaging Inc. speaks to the green movement in the design
• The pool of socially responsible investment dollars in the United world. Providing sustainable packaging (with eco-materials), Green
States has now grown to $2.34 trillion and the second quarter of Packaging Inc and other green collar designers are finding new and
this year has seen a 12% increase in clean tech investment, a innovative ways to stretch their thinking to make a sustainable
$1.2 billion upswing. impact.
• Though “green” products typically cost more, 80% of
consumers are still buying green products and services today, Predictions
according to Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing. Half
Several of China's metropolitan areas are covered in a thick,
of the 1,000 people surveyed buy just as many green products
pollution-filled fog. As the emerging super-power makes significant
now as before the economic downturn, while 19 percent say they
economic gains, the country will address the cost of unsustainable
are buying more green products.
• Hewlett Packard ranked #1 on Newsweeks' Green Study.
Newsweek says, "[Hewlett Packard has] strong programs to
reduce GHG emissions. The first major IT company to report Key Words
GHG emissions associated with its supply chain. Has made an
Green, sustainability, eco-design, fuel-efficient, venture capital,
effort to remove toxic substances from its products, but
Greenpeace has targeted it for failing to do better.“
20 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 12. Control RX
When filmmaker Martin Spurlock released “Super Size Me” in Going Local. Forget vegetarian and vegan – the newest trend in
2004, he made a big impact on the food industry. While health is going local. Also known as the “localvore” movement,
everyone knew fast food wasn’t the healthiest option, few people following this trend strive to only eat foods produced in
realized just what it was doing to their bodies. Ever since then, their local areas. The movement has many positive effects –
there has been a noticeable shift in health and fitness activity money stays in the local economy, and the foods they eat aren’t
across the United States. processed – encouraging a much healthier diet. To help localvores
in the New York City area, Clean Plates NYC offers reviews of New
York’s 75 best restaurants, including details such as where the food
As we enter a new year, millions of people around the country is grown and produced.
will resolve to lose weight and get healthy. Though this happens
every year, getting and staying healthy seems to have become
Wii Fit. Five years ago, who would have thought that a gaming
increasingly more important over the past few years. As more
system could do so much for fitness? Combined with its unique
and more reports and studies are released chronicling the effects
balance board, the Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus systems are
of being overweight and unhealthy, individuals are responding
revolutionizing the way people work out. Better yet, it makes
and making a difference for themselves – with a lot of help along
working out fun.
Supermarkets consisting of only local foods will pop up, taking the
• Wii Fit has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide, making farmers market to a new level
it the number two console game of all time.
• So called “Twinkie Taxes” have been put in place at seven to 10
percent of U.S. corporate cafeterias, adding extra taxes on junk
food and other foods deemed unhealthy for workers. Fitness, healthy eating, diet, health, wellness, aging
21 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 13. Reality Check
The rise in digital media and technology has definitely given us Tweetups. Out of all of the people you follow on Twitter, and
many advantages over the last decade. Entrepreneurs can run an those that follow you, how many of them have you actually met in
entire business using only a smartphone and a laptop. But is all person? Chances are, there are very few. While Twitter has done a
of this change for the better? Do we lose something when things great job of helping us establish new connections with people from
go digital? all over the world, these connections can be made even more
powerful and effective when you’re able to converse in more than
140 characters, instead of talking face-to-face with someone else.
It can be easy to lose sight of our actions and relationships in the
digital world if they’re not reinforced by physical actions. Often,
Polaroid. Not everyone is transitioning to digital photography. In
we’re too focused on the digital side of something, and fail to see
2009, a massive campaign by Urban Outfitters, as well as an
the effects and impact something has in the real world. To
independent group The Impossible Project, successfully brought
balance this out, we need to find the intersection between the
back the production of the classic Polaroid film. This group has
two, and making things tangible, real again and making virtual
proved that just because photos are going digital doesn’t mean
reality back to reality.
everyone wants them to be that way, while at the same time
proving the power of the crowd.
• Gold reached a new all-time high, surpassing $1,200 per ounce Predictions
in December 2009.
The use of cash will increase over credit cards, as consumers seek
• In a survey done by Rasmussen Reports, 81 percent of to rebuild the economy the right way
respondents said they prefer reading a book in a traditional
printed format as opposed to a digital reading device.
• People who pay with cash spend about 20% less on average
than those who use credit cards. Digital, physical, tangible, impact, intersection
22 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Trend 14. Recessionista Chic
"The recession has been a painful 'rite of passage' that has 3 Year Degrees. As college costs continue to rise in both the
caused people to re-evaluate themselves and what they want out private and public sectors, many students are seeking a unique
of life," said Robbie Blinkoff, founder of the Baltimore-based solution such as graduating college in three years or less. Though
Context-Based Research Group. they sacrifice one less year of growth, education and friendships,
students are saving tens of thousands of dollars by opting out of a
fourth year and pushing themselves harder in the time they do
Without question, the recession taught us early on that “less is have on campus.
more.” In our “want vs. need” world, we’re now focusing less on
wants and more on needs – even if we have the means to get
Comparison Shopping. Electronics giant Best Buy is well known
those “wants.” Individuals and businesses alike are maximizing
for its Price Match Guarantee Policy. Now, more stores are offering
their efforts through eliminating clutter, using digital tools to get
similar deals; Sears, Lowes, Walmart and Staples are just a few
the best bang for their buck and fitting more education into less
examples of other retailers with price matching policies. These
retailers help consumers be maximizers, and encourage them to do
their homework to find the best deals. Online sites such as Snipi
and NexTag help consumers find the best online deals, so nobody
has to visit hundreds of sites to find the lowest price.
• More than 17 million people per month use NexTag to research,
compare, and save on products and services online
• A recent survey done by Harris Interactive found that 37
percent of adults say they will increase their use of coupons in a Retail stores will offer convenient in-store comparison shopping
recessionary period. stations, challenging all stores to lower prices and become more
• Pay-as-you-go cell phone provider Boost Mobile recently began
to offer an unlimited plan with a flat monthly fee; the change
brought in more than 600,000 customers in less than three
Saving, de-clutter, efficiency, green, transparency, frugal, value
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Trend 15. ReNew
What makes trends cutting edge and unique are the ways they Google Wave. With Wave, Google has changed the way many
are reinvented or portrayed, with the special touches that blend internet users perceive e-mail. Though many of us are still figuring
the trend of yesterday with the latest and greatest of today. out how to use the innovative collaboration tool to its fullest, it’s
What is reinvented doesn’t have to be decades old; in fact, it clear enough to see that, when opened to the general public, Wave
may only be a few years before improvements are made. might replace personal e-mails.
Established brands can still succeed and have influence, as long
as they can adapt to change, stay on top of trends, and continue
to search for the next big thing. Kindle. Ten years ago, the thought of reading an e-book would
have sounded preposterous. Now, it doesn’t seem that out of the
ordinary. Amazon’s Kindle device has reinvented how we read
Stats books. With other retailers getting in on the trend and debuting
their own electronic reading devices, it’s clear that the Kindle is not
• Hulu (TV reinvented) has more viewers than Time Warner
a fad, and is here to stay. Though many scoff at the thought of
Cable, with 38 million views vs. TWC’s 34 million.
seeing books replaced by a battery-operated device, millions of
• The Dark Knight, the latest installment in the Batman series, others don’t seem to think so.
and Spiderman 3 each made box-office records as the highest
grossing films of 2008 and 2007, continuing the trend of
reinvented superhero icons and introducing them to a whole new Predictions
The Kindle will expand beyond books, giving users the ability to
• Netflix, the company that has reinvented the movie rental read magazines and newspapers via the device, becoming an iPod
industry, sees users add 2 million movies to their queues each for the publishing world. An App Store equivalent will be formed
day. by leading publishing houses to bring users all available content.
• Mad Men, AMC’s runaway hit, has reinvented the way we see
the 1960s era, and has become the cable network’s biggest hit to
Retrofitting, reinvent, adapt, trend
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Trend 16. Getting Real
With access to more information than ever before, consumers Transparency. As more and more businesses recognize how
can be savvier buyers. We have the power to make more much transparency initiatives can do, they’re quick to form new
informed decisions through online tools, such as Google. More policies to give more power to the customer while growing the
importantly, we’re able to better trust our judgment, and go with business as well. Ralph Lauren is an example of a company that
our instincts. learned a valuable lesson about transparency.
Whether it’s choosing our next elected representative or just Epinions. Nearly every online retailer provides the opportunity for
debating between some items at the grocery store, we have customer feedback and product reviews on products, Amazon.com
access to all of the information we need, as long as we’re willing being a major proponent of customer reviews and feedback. What
to put some time into making those decisions count. In the few people realize, however, is that many companies censor
business world, human instincts play a big part in relationships, product reviews, allowing only favorable ones to make it through to
both personally and professionally. By understanding our the end.
instincts as well as the thought process of others, we’re able to
make those relationships stronger than ever, and make lasting
personal connections. Predictions
More processes will be in place to make sure reviews are truly
customer generated. Facebook or other social media sites will
show where information has been modified, adulterated.
• 77 percent of online shoppers use reviews and ratings when
making purchasing decisions
• Epinions' unique visitors grew from 3.8 million in Sept. 2009 to
4.5 million in Dec of that same year Transparency, instinct, feeling, strategy, relationships, decision-
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Trend 17. Community Mobilization
“A reason we may be seeing a growth in networking is because Four Square. FourSquare is a mobile location-based application
of its use in terms of stabilizing relationships, understanding for smartphones like the iPhone, Android and soon, the Blackberry.
business climates, overcoming challenges or exchanging off-the- Users “check in” when they arrive at say a local cafe, book store,
record information in an informal environment,” Mandy Torrens, park or even a friends house. As more of your friends sign up,
president of Meetings Professionals International’s UK Chapter you’ll get a better understanding of their favorite hang out spots.
said to Meetings Review.com. “In the prevalent business Based on your “check ins,” FourSquare can suggest new places for
conditions, this can prove invaluable.” you to explore. And as you discover new places and frequent your
favorite spots, you’ll get points and work your way up to
“Mayorship” of a local cafe or restaurant or movie theater —
The current economic climate necessitates action and community wherever you visit the most.
mobilization. Whether it's networking online or turning digital
relationships into real-world contacts, there is a heightened need
to build communities. We will explore how digital connections Meetups. While it's one thing to post a comment on a Facebook
can translate into real world impact and how users are engaging group page, it's another thing to join a local Meetup. There are
with an creating digital content. book clubs, Harry Potter enthusiast events, local networking events
and even bee keeping Meetups. According to Meetup.com, there
are 6 million monthly visitors to the site -- 5.7 million of those
Stats visitors are members. Furthermore, of the nearly 60,000 Meetup
groups, there are nearly 180,000 monthly Meetups.
• Users post 55 million status updates each day, according to
• There are 3.5 million events are created each month on
Facebook MeetUp.com will incorporate Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to
increase event awareness and attendance.
• There are nearly 180,000 monthly Meetups
Network, community, exchange, publishing, ownership
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Trend 18. Safety Net
After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration dialed-up its Online Security. While the nature of social media is to connect
efforts to create a more secure America. Homeland Security was and share information with other users, social networks are
formed among many other security initiatives. Since then, the constantly challenged to keep unwanted users and information out
system has been put to the test, with such terrorist attempts as of the site. Facebook has recently made several upgrades to its
the Nigerian extremist's efforts to detonate a chemical bomb on privacy and security. Since the content licensing disaster in early
a plane approaching Detroit. Beyond terrorism, over the past 2009, Facebook has been doing damage control by developing new
year there has been a renewed fear regarding job, online, privacy settings.
financial and home security.
Job Security. With companies shedding unnecessary positions
Stats and the unemployment rate teetering at 10 percent, there is a
heightened fear of layoffs. Many people have taken their future in
• An estimated 30 percent of the job market -- or 42 million
their own hands -- giving rise the freelance workforce. An
workers -- is made up of freelancers and growing.
estimated 30 percent of the job market -- or 42 million workers --
• By 2020, the freelance workforce will grow an estimated 10 is made up of freelancers. By 2020, the freelance workforce will
percent grow an estimated 10 percent.
• The unemployment rate reached 9.4 percent in Nov 2009
• The proposed Homeland Security budget for 2010 is $42.7
billion In the face of low job security, the best way is to be your own boss
is through small business ownership. Accordingly, there will be a
rise in entrepreneurship.
Defiance, pioneering, independence, security
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Trend 19. Class Conflict
There is a strong connection between Wall Street and Main Wall Street. Most believe that the priority of bankers on Wall
Street. "During the last few years, many consumers borrowed Street is the bottom line, not compassion. When TARP funds were
more than they should have, and we helped them do it," said distributed to banks in the hopes of re-energizing lending, those
Bank of America's new CEO, Brian Moynihan. As a result of the funds were retained by the banks. This did not sit well with
financial crisis, a formerly positive, symbiotic relationship Congress or the suffering American public. Wall Street received
between Main Street and Wall Street has turned into a TARP funds while Main Street was bleeding out.
tumultuous one. Little financial reform and the shameless bank
bonuses have created a friction between Main Street and Wall
Street. Main Street. The financial crisis was fueled by the egregious
borrowing of the middle class. You don't need to be a financial
The struggle between the haves (large financial institutions) and
guru to understand with a $50,000 salary, you can't afford a
have nots (average consumers) has transformed into class class
$500,000 house. While many blame greedy financial institutions for
conflict between the wealthy and middle class. There has been a
creating the economic crisis, consumers also share responsibility.
different reality on Wall Street than the rest of America. This
point was perfectly illustrated by the CEO's of top auto
manufacturing companies flying on private jets to receive Predictions
taxpayer bailouts. In this time of have and have nots, these two
Until Main Street gets back on their feet, there will continue to be
clashing realities are creating class conflict.
class warfare. Corporations, particularly banks, will need to dial-up
Stats their PR efforts to appeal to Main Stream America
• Banks paid $32.6 billion in bonuses amid U.S. bailout, according
• The Treasury doled out $3.8 billion in its third bailout of GMAC
Conflict, friction, financial instability, TARP, Main Street, Wall Street
• US public pensions face a $2 trillion deficit, according to the
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Trend 20. Skeptic Nation
"A year ago millions of people were rejoicing over the defeat of Promise of Change. When Obama took office in 2008, there was
Bush's hated Republicans and were looking for Obama to follow hope for a better health care system, more job growth and serious
through on his promises of change," writes Wall Street reform. Have we reached these milestones?
SocialistAlternative.org. "Fast forward to today, and most people Unfortunately, no. Consequently, Obama's approval ratings have
have enormous difficulty naming one clear change that he has started to slip. According to Pollster.com, Obama's job approval
enacted." ratings have slipped from around 65% to 47.9% in the past year
While we support the need for reform, many are growing Recession. In retrospect, many economists believe the
apathetic as change is slow-coming. Banks are still receiving controversial Bush bank bailout did prevent us from slipping into a
incredibly large bonuses, the public option is off the bargaining depression. However, the unemployment rate is continuing to
table, there is still petty partisan rivalry and the list goes on. climb. Currently, the unemployment rate is lingering at 10 percent
What happened to the spark that ignited Obama's rise to the -- a less than 1 percent decrease from its peak in July 2009. While
top? What happened to real change and eliminating politics as unemployment traditionally takes longer to recover than the
usual? economy, Americans need to see results.
The only real political reform will come from catastrophic economic
• Unemployment is rate lingers at 10% as employers lay off
disasters. Until then, there will be partisan disputes -- or politics as
85,000 jobs, reports NJ.com
• The U.S. consumer has 17% less influence from 15 years ago,
according to Minyanville
• According to Pollster.com, Obama's job approval ratings have
slipped from around 65% to 47.9% in the past year Change, Obama, reform, muddling through, apathy
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About the Authors 3
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We strive to create purposeful impact for the long-run
Sparxoo is pioneering the next Sparxoo builds sustainable
generation of business that is relationships while delivering
founded in the principles of: meaningful impact on projects with
• Social entrepreneurship
We are expanding our network of
• Real responsibility
socially minded leaders and hope to
• Creative community become a leader in this category.
• Courageous leadership
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We fuse right-brain and left-brain capabilities to deliver
creatively strategic solutions
32 | 2010 Trend Report | Sparxoo
Our Services • Differentiate your products, services, and organization to drive
• Brand Strategy
• Brand Identity preference among your audience
• Trends and Insights • Through strategically creative stretching, we develop an aspirational
market positioning that stands out from the competition
Excerpts from our blog
• We are a step ahead in sharing emerging trends
• As the crisis turns to opportunity, there is a new breed of creative
maximizers, new icons are emerging, and patriotism 2.0 has arrived
• We believe that segmentation leads to better communication, a more satisfied
customer, increased innovation, and higher market share
• We synthesize research and analysis into key insights on which to build a
cohesive strategy to optimally position brands in the market
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Digital Marketing Goals
• Blogging and • Engage your community in meaningful conversations
• Marketing Plans Our Approach
• Social Marketing
• Customer Analysis • Through in-depth market analysis, we help you find and share your
and Research unique voice with your target audience.
Excerpts from our blog
Gen Y Marketing
• 94% of Gen Yers own a cell phone, and comprise 46% of total iPhone users
• Gen Y seeks authenticity, and wants to engage in a real conversation; think
Social Networking Etiquette
• Use best practices to participate in the discussion online
• Digg and similar network communities value honesty, your personality, and
• Beyond the obvious communities at Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, there
are many more smaller communities buzzing with activity
• We profiled Ning (which has since exploded), as well as niche communities
such as Twitter Moms, Climate Culture, CauseCast and LinkLessons
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Business Development Goals
Our Services • Grow market leadership while achieving financial success
• Growth Strategy
• Business Plans Our Approach
• Financial Analysis and
Valuation • Through business planning and financial analysis, we find the best
path forward; our relationships enable us to accelerate the path to
Excerpts from our blog
Startup Survival Guide
• We shared 10 tips to help entrepreneurs maximize their cash and make it
through tough times
• Suggestions include: be nimble, focus on revenue, reduce your fat, collect
bills, and of course…still provide leadership
• With a large supply of businesses seeking cash, and a small supply of
investment dollars, the story needs to be smart and compelling: that
means market research and highlighting the key success factors
• While many focus on venture capital, alternatives include self-funding, debt,
friends and family, and angel financing
• Angel investors typically fund from $100k to $2 million and are a good
source of early stage investment
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David Capece provides strategic leadership with a focus in
digital media & entertainment
David Capece, Managing Partner
David Capece serves as a strategic advisor to media & entertainment companies.
His recent projects have included digital growth strategy initiatives with Comcast,
Lifetime, and NBC, as well as several startups. In these assignments, David has
provided strategic leadership in market planning, brand positioning, online
marketing, and business development.
David has been focused on digital media opportunities beginning with the
development of the Baltimore Orioles first web site in 1997, continuing in his
Internet venture capital experience at Katalyst, and more recently as a member of
the ESPN.com management team. As a Senior Director at ESPN.com, David was a
key leader in building and executing long range plans. He oversaw marketing
projects for new media products, led growth strategy, and served as the head of
David has 12 years of business experience in investment banking, venture capital,
and consulting where he has worked on over $800 million in private placement,
IPO and M&A transactions. David graduated with an MBA in Finance and
Marketing from Wharton Business School, and has a BA from Johns Hopkins
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We have a team of strategically creative business
Katherine Parsons, Strategy Director
Katherine Parsons is a creatively strategic marketing professional
with a passion for brand development and innovation. Industry
experience includes research idea generation, strategic writing
and project management. Most recently, Katherine was a Senior
Consultant in the Strategy department at Interbrand NY. Prior to
that she worked at Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve and McKinsey.
She holds a MSc from The London School of Economics in
Organizational and Social Psychology and a BA from Wellesley
Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
Ethan is a creative writer whose talents stretch to brand
development and even business strategy. Ethan has written
Internet business plans, developed consumer product brand
platforms, and has provided creative leadership to advertising
campaign. Previously, Ethan was a creative writer on the
advertising team at Partners and Napier. He also contributed to
the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper as a News and Politics
Editor. He holds a BA in Communications and Journalism from St.
John Fisher College.
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We have a team of strategically creative business
Deirdre Zahl, Graphic Designer
Deirdre Zahl is a graphic designer with seven years of industry
experience who specializes in interactive design. She has worked
with clients ranging from top-tier luxury brands in the fashion
industry such as CHANEL and MAC Cosmetics, commercial and
residential real estate clients, Ann Taylor LOFT.com and other
small e-commerce sites. She is also experienced in logo, brand
and web development, as well as print and web design. She holds
a BA in Communication Design from Skidmore College.
Tara Lane, Staff Writer
Tara is a creative writer with experience in editing, publicity and
social media. Tara has led SEO initiatives at the Local Info
Company in Pittsford, NY. She has also held multiple positions in
the non-profit sector including writing and public relations
strategy. Tara has worked at the National Association of
Independent Colleges, Universities in Washington, DC and the
Kay and Yvonne Whitmore Global Management Center in Provo,
Utah. She holds a BA in Communications and Public Relations,
and a minor in Business Management from Brigham Young
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