For me, trend watching started a long time ago with Faith Popcorn and the popcorn report. Then we had “Funky business”, “Future files”, “Megachange 2050”, “The Shift” and a speeding up of more books on the future in the last year. Books such as “The second machine age”, ‘Future vision”, “Exponential organisations” and “Bold”. And you should probably throw in all of Nassim Taleb’s books.
The best lesson is from “Future vision”. The faster you go, the further you need to look ahead”. As a CEO you now need to move at the speed of Formula 1.
What Rohit Bhargava has done is not only give you some interesting trends to consider, but he also gives a “how to” on becoming a trend watcher yourself. Which in our view is essential for every business. When you plan and strategise, you need context and a vision. Trend watching helps you develop that.
In the spirit of “Future Babble”, he gives out about most futurologist. He calls it “lazy thinking”. The usual new years’ list of future trends is lazy. The internet of things is too lazy. Big data is too lazy. 3D printing is too lazy.
Let’s go back to Faith Popcorn. Here are some of the trends as she identified them in 1992 (The popcorn report) and 1997 (Clicking):
- Fantasy adventure
- Small indulgences
- Cashing out
- Staying alive
- The multifunctional consumer
They are still spot on. Imagine if your business had followed those trends. Where would you be now?
Themes and trends
Rohit Bhargave brings it closer to home and his trends fit with a lot of the themes we have identified in Bookbuzz. He calls them non-obvious. Here are his trends:
The Reluctant Marketer
“The old rules of marketing is dead”. The rise of the new marketing. Marketing as creating value. With a focus on content marketing and customer experience. “Social customer service” and everything you can read by Brian Solis. Marketing a truly integrated function within the company. Enabled by technology. By 2017 CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs. The dawn of brand journalism. Authentic content and the ability to tell compelling stories will be king. Read “Resonate”
Our attention span has shrunk to 8 seconds (it was 12 seconds). A goldfish has an attention span of 10 seconds. You should read “The shallows”. The need to capture your client in the moment. Now. Immediately. Instant. Content candy or snackable content. Attention as the currency with emotion as the trigger. Competing with all the noise on all the social media channels. Community, story telling, authenticity and purpose as part of the brand and the channel.
A combination of “Emotionomics” or the “emotional point of difference” from “Difference”. Mood AND moment marketing. Mood content. Mood food. Wearables to measure your mood and using that to influence you. “Brandwashed” or “Filter bubble”. But also “Coherence” and understanding emotions and leadership. Download the mood meter app and keep an emotional diary. Good for being mindful and checking how you are getting manipulated.
The client is king and wants to be treated as such. True one to one marketing. “Smart customers, stupid companies”. But also about “the age of entitlement” and the “narcissism epidemic”. How to deal with millennials, Generation G and generation Einstein in the workplace. “Workplace 2020” and “Hacking work” are the books to read.
Is about the creation of online persona and marketing of the moment. How do you make the buying experience more shareable? A lot of “What is the future of business” combined with “Reputation economics” and “Return on Influence”.
One of our favourite trends. “Mindstore” of Jack Black combined with “Coherence” and “Reinventing organisations”. Meditation and yoga as business tools. Google has a “Jolly good fellow” and that is his job. With the science, tech and apps to support this. “Fitness for the mind” and “silence as the new caffeine”.
CSR as the heart of the organisation. Brand combined with transformative purpose. “Exponential organisations” or “Leading from an emerging future”. What Kotler predicted in “Marketing 3.0”. The challenge for a lot of companies will be to move from pretence to action. For example, CVS Pharmacy stopped selling cigarettes at a loss of $ 2 billion in revenue. You need to make kindness a business goal. “Frugal innovation” and the “Thank you” economy” might help. You need to live your purpose as an organisation.
The seamless integration of retail with online. Omnichannel and “showrooming”. “The experience economy” and “Infinite possibilities”, both by Joe Pine. Some “Porn for bankers’. Retails outlets become showrooms. Imagine what Oculus Rift could do in this space. Marketing becomes a spectacle. Marketing as event management.
Experiential content and storytelling. Gamification. Read “Reality is broken”. This is where we advise CEOs to buy an Xbox and play computer games. How “Halo” is your customer experience? Particularly relevant if you combine experimedia with glanceable content. But also about experiential journalism, experiential consumerism and creating an instant feedback loop with your clients. The client creating and sharing your brand.
Perfect is not authentic. Standing out is more important than being perfect. Memorable is more important than perfection. Authentic is more important than being perfect. Celebrate ugly. Eat the bug by “Killing giants”. “Makers” by Chris Anderson. Artisans and creating a unique, imperfect experience.
From “Bold” and ‘The machine age”. Maybe even “How to build a billion dollar app”. Technology helping you to be safe and healthy. More wearable technology. Sensors everywhere. Google driving your car. Watson doing your finances. Banks managing your online security.
The dark one. Behavioural science used to create habits. Getting you addicted to the product. “Hooked” or “Brand washed” on steroids. “The power of habit” or “The decisive moment”. You need to book a session with my friend and Bookbuzz colleague Alan Jordan. You are not as conscious as you think you are. And you are getting manipulated. Big brother is here. And it is not big data.
It is not big data. It is the personal small data that will make the difference. Relevant to you. To ensure everyday stardom. To keep you feeling like a king. And the good news is that you are in control of that data. The internet of your things. The ability for companies to develop a one to one relationship with a client. And by developing the one to one feedback loop creating a unique tailored customer experience.
New business models and new ways or distribution. Every book on innovation. “Digital disruption” and “Frugal innovation”. Read “The starfish and the spider” or “The connected company”. The middleman is gone. All friction needs to be removed. Go direct and use all the trends mentioned to get there.
In the space of Brett King and “Bank 3.0”. Micropayments and the sharing economy. Alternative currencies. Pay per laugh. Pay by screen size. Barter. “Reputation economics” might be a book you want to read.
Become a trend watcher
But that is just the beginning. You need to be able to spot those trends yourself. Apply “rubbish in, rubbish out”. We would suggest that you need to increase your bandwidth. Sectors to watch are health, military, agriculture, banking, transport and retail. You should break your routine, go to the fringes, create serendipity and talk to lots of people. You need to doodle more. You need to apply Kahneman’s thinking fast and slow.
Become a trend curator
He adds that you need to become a trend curator. You need to be curious. You need to observe more and you need to be fickle. Less depth, more jumping. Collect and create a mountain of things that strike you as interesting. Build a haystack. Summarise, but don’t judge. Write it down. Keep a folder. Watch. Be elegant (straight from “Metaskills). Seek concepts, not solutions. Don’t judge. Be aware of your biases and beware of future babble (50% of experts are wrong).
The key message is the non-obvious. The need to be different. You need to think differently. In a world where everyone is one button away from being an expert, learning to think different is more important than ever. DO NOT to move to the middle (from “33 strategies of war”). Which makes unperfection the most interesting trend. What is not-to-copy?
The book not only gives you the tools and trends. It gives the questions, the why, the who, the how, the examples and a long list of other books you should read and a list of his sources.
The clown in an ice-skating show often needs to be the most talented in order to execute fake jumps and falls while still remaining under control, just like your ability to know the trends may give you the insight you need to bend or break them strategically, create an opportunity and ultimately stay in business.