• To identify the forces driving the future and plan for
identify the forces driving the future and plan for longterm success.
• To discover unexpected opportunities that help
transform brands and businesses.
identify the forces driving the future and plan for longterm success.
discover unexpected opportunities that help transform
brands and businesses.
• To move ahead of the curve and stay there.
It means tracking
The qualities of a good trendspotter apply to any activities
involving groups of people over time—B2C, B2B, sports,
education, art, healthcare, travel …
Trendspotters cultivate a “radar”
that picks up things near and far,
from global to local. Smart
retailers do this instinctively by
noticing the different types of
customers coming in, how they
spend, what they talk about and
what competitors are doing.
Curiosity: Insatiable interest
in what people are or aren’t
doing and a desire to find out
why is essential for a
A way of being: Trendspotters
aren’t just people who appear in
the media and on stage; they’re
also smart businesspeople who
consistently tune in to their market.
happens in isolation—
trendspotters relate what
they observe not only to
the immediate context but
also to other contexts that
might be relevant (e.g.,
what’s in the local news,
changes in school rolls,
outdoor activities that are
getting popular, etc.).
thinking about the future
implications of current
trends: How do I factor
what’s happening now
into the future I’m
are all hardwired to seek patterns in what we observe and to
use them to make predictions about the future.
aims to find patterns and connections across less
sharply defined fields of human behavior—it deals with many
more variables where information is fuzzier.
• Trendspotting draws on a range of disciplines: business, history,
marketing, psychology, sociology, statistics.
• News, journals, popular culture, social media and conversations
all provide raw material for trendspotting.
The point is not to make precise predictions but rather
to spot currents that will flow into the future and help
Humans + Technology = Trends
“First we shape our tools; thereafter they shape us.”
every twist and turn in human history has been
influenced and shaped by some form of technology.
technology—from hand axes, weaving and wheels through
gunpowder and sails, to internal combustion and microchips—
has driven social trends.
• Now, above all, it’s digital technology that’s involved somehow,
somewhere in many of the trends we have flagged for 2012.
people’s jobs are a lot more varied than they used to be.
PR works through the media, which is morphing like CGI gone
crazy, faster than many old hands can track.
vital to be interesting and relevant, to attract and hold
attention. Our agency likes to say, “Don’t be in the news; be
future of PR belongs to a new breed that can blend the
skills of perception engineer, content provider, media relations
guru, transparency expert and CSR gospel preacher.
Bull Media House: Creative cross-media edgy news all the
time, with a winning F1 racing team, stunt-flying aircraft and
snowboarding in the amazing The Art of Flight.
people have to turn clunky technical jargon into words
that anyone can understand—words that create impact.
phrase we’re increasingly hearing from our clients is
“contingency element compensation,” meaning part of what
they pay is based on our achieving measurable results.
call it “No win, no fee.” We’re calling it “Play me,
then pay me.”
• It’s not yet the norm, but agencies that can offer it, deliver
results and still make money will be in the running in the future.
• @erwwpr: We
use the money we would have spent on pitches
to pay a new client’s first month or two of fees.
this anxious, snarly, angry national atmosphere, who would
bet against the old maxims “Bad news sells” and “No news is
dwelling on the downside too long is bad for health and bad
for business—and it’s not the American way.
finding plenty of citizens, journalists and brands
responding to stories of hope that raise spirits and spread
smiles (without being cheesy).
2012: Euro RSCG’s third-annual One Young World
summit will gather brands, global figures and promising young
leaders from around the world.
is the fastest-growing media around, played by
72 percent of American households.
• Clearly, something
about games attracts and holds
attention—which is why brands and marketers are looking
to apply some of those playful hooks in their work.
clunky term is “gamification,” which means finding
ways of making non-games fun and engaging.
for social games and video gaming to continue to be
another way to reach consumers.
Nike+ tag running app: Whoever runs the slowest or the
shortest distance, or starts running latest in the day, is
to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (to name but
three), virtually anyone with a catchy idea can go viral and
be famous for a day or two—until the next idea comes along.
raises the bar for PR. If some random person from
wherever can score for free, then paid professionals should
be able to outperform the amateurs over time.
more than ever, PR is looking to find or create stories
that continue to resonate in the media for weeks, months
• Campaign Money Watch: This nonprofit, nonpartisan
organization is increasingly on-trend as Americans wonder about
the influence of big money and special interests in politics.
companies used to “own” the attention of viewers and
readers, and sell it to brand advertisers who spent big bucks on
creating punchy ads and/or buying lots of media exposure.
• Then came DVRs, allowing consumers to skip ads, and the
Internet, opening them to a world of alternatives to owned media.
• Now YouTube
standards rule and buying power counts for much
less (attention goes quickly to whatever is entertaining and/or
amazing and/or original and/or touching).
sensations: Invisible Children (showing how digital
success can be a double-edged sword) and the Dollar Shave
Club (its online launch ad cost $4,500 to make, and it’s got
almost 3 million hits).
hope is there for old brands when new ones spring up
fast and hog attention? Since the Fortune 500 started in 1955,
62 companies have appeared every year—while 1,952 came
cares about a brand that has been going 60 years if the
only people who use it are as old as the brand itself?
heritage is only worth anything when it’s the backdrop
for products that are relevant now.
• Oreo: Nabisco’s
cross-platform campaign celebrating 100 years
of the brand playfully invites consumers to “Celebrate the
advertising beats plain “Look at this” advertising
every time, right?
• Right, but only if it’s offering something to make the interaction
worthwhile; otherwise it’s an even bigger waste of time and attention.
more people use mobile devices, the less time and attention
they have for “Look at this”—but the more opportunities advertising
will have to play with them.
• Orbitz Traveler
Update: Its projected movie “billboards” feature
characters responding to someone standing and looking.
• vitaminwater: The
brand’s “Alternative Energy Source”
campaign at bus shelter displays has battery-powered USB
ports that let people charge devices.
all used to local businesses advertising their services
locally, on their home turf.
we’re used to big brands doing national ads with space for
local dealers to add their details.
• Now, thanks
to interactive media, the distinction among local,
national and global is blurring; marketers can get global
exposure while riding the vibrancy of local events.
• Caveat: Brand
values had better be aligned with the values of
Jerry’s: See the company’s support for the Occupy Wall
not exactly Isaac Newton, but there is certainly an opposite
reaction to gender blurring and gender sensitivity.
safe route for advertising for most brands is straight-downthe-line balance in their portrayal of women.
is a naughty space opening up for brands that want to
create a little edge by flouting the norms of gender respect and
inclusivity—risky but rewarding for some.
Pepper Ten: The brand’s “It’s not for women” ads feature
macho scenes and a tough guy saying, “Hey, ladies. Enjoying
the film? Of course not. Because this is our movie, and this is
our soda. You can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks.
a great time for inventive, creative, original thinkers and
doers to work in advertising and PR.
industry doesn’t have the martini-fueled glamour of Mad
Men’s Madison Avenue and their smoke-and-mirrors tricks.
does offer a huge and growing scope for getting inside
brands and businesses and consumers.
of being an optional add-on for businesses,
advertising and PR will increasingly become an integral part
of the products and services they provide.