Trend watching is big news in marketing. Business watches the trends and follows the ideas almost religiously. We all like successful formulas and let’s face it, if consumers become conditioned to those trends maybe logic demands we meet their expectations. But is it a prescription for success?
Sometimes it’s wise to look at things at a deeper level and here’s a tip when you’re faced with a new trend setting idea. Try an approach which is questioning and skeptical. Ask yourself what a new trend doesn’t do for you and the consumer. Almost every time you’ll arrive at one astounding fact.
‘Following a trend robs you of market leadership and the benefits of your own innovation.’
There are few companies today that are as powerful as ‘Apple’ and there is a very good reason for that. Apple under the leadership of Steve Jobs never followed trends. They created them! Apple never held focus groups, never consulted ‘what is’. They were interested in what isn’t and what can be. They breached every norm, every basic, every holy mantra of marketing and went to a different level. They weren’t interested in what the consumer wanted, they decided to sell what the consumer didn’t know they could have.
If that sounds complex, know that it is, but what Jobs did ,was to dream outside the existing trends and develop products which would create a need when a consumer didn’t know he or she needed them. Henry Ford once said, ‘Before we developed the automobile, if I’d have asked the consumer what he wanted, he’d have said, a faster horse.”
So what I’m saying here is, trends point only to existing needs and often our products and services can create needs which the consumer never realised could exist.
I’m not saying abandon the watching of trends, but make sure you don’t ditch your own initiatives at the expense of being a trend maker.