So last week I had the pleasure of attending a Trend Seminar held in London by Trendwatching.com. It was an all-day conference centred around showcasing the most important insights into the future of consumerism. What trends are we seeing today that will be the game changers of tomorrow? What innovations are becoming ubiquitous and how are companies applying these today?
The day was certainly fast paced, and probably a little too fast paced as it was very highlight driven rather than having the ability to dive deeper. But that’s innovation in a nutshell I guess. Despite that, it was an enjoyable and insightful day and listed below are my take-away observations:
- We live in an expectation economy. Consumers are less patient today than in previous years (think Uber: waiting more than 3/4 minutes for a cab now is considered frustrating). We want what we want, when we want it, and on our terms.
- I can sum this up in a short, two minute clip (worth a watch and a guaranteed giggle) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFsOUbZ0Lr0
- Innovations and trends won’t come from asking customers what they want. They will emerge when innovators begin to address basic human needs and wants in new, novel ways.
- We are seeing the death of demographics. The debate over whether millennials or generation Y are controlling consumerism is redundant. ALL people of ALL ages want cheap, clean, well designed products. Crispin Reed, MD of JDO, talks a little more around this in his book, 7 Myths of Middle Age: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Myths-Middle-Age-Implications/dp/0957203500
- While macro trends exist (i.e., trends that are evident across the board) such as globalisation, urbanisation and an ageing population, we live an increasingly shared global culture. Fast food franchises exist in most cities around the world, and even in the most remote places. I’ve encountered many first hand and while I shudder at the death of local culture, many locals welcome the chance to have a ’taste’ of what the rest of the world has to offer. Think too about fashion, Facebook, iPhones and technology.
- Today more than ever, we have both the ‘permission’ (think the liberalisation of attitudes, like marriage equality) and the ‘ability’ (think connectivity and access) to pick and choose the lifestyles we want to lead. The ‘norm’ is no longer the ‘norm’. Many natural conventions, from family structures to gender roles, have collapsed. Social freedoms, acceptance of race and religion and exposure to alternative lifestyles are a key factor to this. There is a lovely story from a study conducted on nursery age children and their behaviour. They asked a 4-year-old girl to highlight the difference between an african american child and a caucasian child. She replied “that girl has a pink jumper and that girl a yellow jumper’.
How does all of this fit into healthcare and the challenges agencies face? I think personalisation will continue to become more and more apparent. Telling stories and exposing the world to the struggles and successes of our clients’ consumers (HCPs and patients) will be a factor in that. Let’s ensure we continue to be thought leaders in our space. To do that, we need to remain current, engaging and willing to adapt to an ever-changing environment. My own agency’s mantra lends itself nicely to this: “today’s innovation is tomorrow’s brilliant basics”. (Amen).
Trendwatching.com put it another way, “it’s incredible how quickly the extraordinary becomes the ordinary”
Now if only there was a nice video to highlight that point…
(both won gold…)
*feature image: http://verve.ie/assets/PDM-cover.png
Categories: Inspire me