Interpreting a trend – five ways to spot a trend that will last – marketing industry news v gashi 2013


Historically trends have been set and followed by public opinion and perception – the, ‘I want one of those’ movements – all driven by a the boom in mass communications from the early origins of the TV and radio, right through to our devices today. A nostalgic look back at old pictures or images is usually enough to make us a cringe just a little. As opinions change, so do trends. And vice versa. electricity cost calculator It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of movement that rarely operates at one speed and is almost impossible to tell where one ends and another begins.

Opinion and desk research only go so far and penetrate so deep. Dossiers of information still take a long time to compile, sort, analyse, filter and deliver something useful. That isn’t to say qualitative information isn’t useful – it is. But the addition of proven, data-based observation and analysis is a game changer for brands. Technology means we can re-conceptualise what a trend is in ways never before possible. We can define a structure of social-cultural phenomena to create a hierarchy of concepts. This can include everything from hard evidence, facts and data, which are available to everyone, right through to hundreds of thousands of soft signals, like initial sparks of interest or minor changes in language and tone. These are things that are incredibly difficult for humans to identify, but easy for machines.

There are so many social platforms it’s easy to come to the conclusion, ‘I’m seeing X everywhere, therefore it must be big’. There are many examples of the manifestation of this – the ALS Ice Bucket challenge being one of the most high profile in recent times – but largely these are more following than example setting. The combination of multiple devices and platforms means seeing the same story morning, noon and night is not uncommon. Though, while this would suggest a particular story has legs and longevity, it’s a false economy. gas vs diesel towing One errant tweet from Donald Trump is likely to deliver an action and reaction on every social platform and news outlet; that doesn’t make it a trend. The reason being that each and every platform has its own peculiarities. Repetition is not that useful if it doesn’t take into account all the nuances between platforms.

So, who are people actually influenced by? It used to be their inner circle or selected experts. Not anymore. In the last few years, the role of the social influencer has boomed as brands bought into the concept of social media influencers, realising they have the power to overshadow celebrities due to their increasing online fame, honesty and credibility. electricity around the world However, it would seem these days that everybody on social is an influencer, which is a misnomer when it comes to trendspotting. It is often the case that it is not the quantity of followers that defines the most influential but the quality of content of those that are ‘in the know’. Those that have experimented with something first hand, be it a product or a lifestyle. Something we refer to as “insiders”. It would be like finding Zoella, before fashion and beauty blogging became ‘a thing’.

The simple truth is that if a trend is easily detectable by brands then it’s probably passed them by. electricity quiz for grade 5 Think of the amount of time it takes to mobilise internal teams, not to mention that an instinctive reaction to a trend is likely to torpedo any existing and budgeted activity. Methods are now more science than art. We live in an age of large-scale patterns, combined with the incredibly micro phenomena of the few flying under the radar. We’re in an age of images not words and we’re living in a time where we can convey human emotional behaviour through the use of colours and patterns on our screens. In tomorrow’s world, marketers need to take a large scale mathematical approach combined with a deep semantic driven understanding of the way that we as humans behave. It’s a potent mix.

For all the advances in technology, grasping the impact and opportunity of a trend remains fundamental. Understanding quality means that all future implications of a trend should be taken into consideration in order to avoid unexpected effects. Understanding quantity means having a clear idea of the total addressable market for a trend. static electricity zapper By correlating quality and quantity, marketers can understand how much time and effort they invest and when. In this age of AI, marketing still needs a human touch.

The controversy that Iceland’s Christmas ad was banned from being shown on television, created a massive social buzz with people mentioning it over 281,000 times on the day it came out. People backed the ad and the cause it supported – saying ‘no to palm oil’ due to its effect on the environment. In a time where television numbers are dwindling and online viewing and shopping figures are rising, Iceland took the plunge to focus their strategy on social – whether deliberately or not – and saw positive figures as a result.

Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, featuring our favourite Christmas character at Wilderness Agency this year, Plug Boy, also had an element of unexpected controversy and received dozens of complaints from viewers concerned that the ad will encourage children to play with sockets. gas mask bong how to use The ad performed really well on social, evoking a positive and warm emotion, with the highest positive sentiment of all the ads at 88% (John Lewis’ ad had an 87% positive sentiment in comparison) even with the backlash from the socket complaints. While the mentions were not as high as others at 19,000, the ad got people talking.

It was surprising to note how many ads didn’t feature an official hashtag for their Christmas ads, and how many didn’t push their hashtags on their television ads. Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Debenhams didn’t have an official hashtag that they pushed in their ads. This made it seem as though their television strategy was completely divorced of their social strategy which was a clear missed opportunity, especially with the current media landscape and the dwindling high street shopping numbers. Almost 6,000 high street shops closed down in the UK in 2017 according to this report in The Guardian (April 2018).

Our research showed that the Debenhams’ Christmas ad had the lowest mention score (around 1,000). On the day their ad premiered, not many people were talking about it. While the ad itself was interesting, playing on a ‘you-know-you-did-good’ tagline, it was not memorable and people didn’t feel there was much to say about it on social. The Lidl ads were also ignored online, although sentiment was positive at 77%.

Plug boy, a baby orangutan and Elton John stole our hearts this Christmas. For marketers, storytelling and character building will always be central to the success of a campaign but in today’s ever more social landscape, JUST broadcasting is not an option. Smart brands join a conversation; smarter brands curate a conversation that their fans actively join in.