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Why trendspotting is key for business success

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by Startacus Admin

trendspotting in business
Speed is everything when it comes to trendspotting. Businesses who spend most of their precious time reacting to trends are often too late to the party. For businesses, where getting maximum return on their investment is the name of the game, detecting the next big thing in its infancy is crucial. Mario ColettiMD of AI-powered foresighting platform Nextatlas, highlights why trendspotting is key for business success...

Many successful businesses that are still around today were started by entrepreneurs that were on the mission to make the world a better place; they “took a chance”. In reality, this is a calculated, researched and intuitive risk backed by their ability to see a movement before everyone else and act on it in a new and creative way. Uber saw the sharing economy miles away, Deliveroo saw the gig economy exploding and luminaries such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk seemingly saw everything coming.

Huge advances in technology have enabled the vision of jumping on the right trend at the right time to become a reality. With the advent of AI and machine learning, brands trendspotting in businessare not only open to the idea of looking in the nooks and crannies of life for the trends or shifts of tomorrow, but also know that there is the technology in place to find it, understand it and do something about it. There is in itself a seismic shift in trend spotting. Finding a trend is no longer a calculated gamble, but a decision based on data and science.This means that now more than ever trends must deliver business value. With tools in place and technology up to scratch - let’s go hunting.

Change is inevitable

As the customer is what drives a company’s success, it's important to ensure that products and services are always in line with what they want and need. There’s no way that a business would be able to stay relevant, or in some cases even exist, without knowing how the customer is spending his or her money. As such, one of the first business processes should be staying current with developing trends as this is the first and arguably hardest hurdle to overcome. Businesses are built on planning and structure. Clear strategies that are mapped out with contingencies, succession and budget. By its definition, the only constant with trend spotting is change.

This means it’s critical for businesses to learn to accept and embrace change. Trying something different when all is going well is bold and brave but that’s precisely when a business must be looking to evolve. Chances are that if an organisation gets too comfortable and adapts to trends too late in the game, a competitor will beat it to the punch. Then, instead of staying ahead of those trends, the business will be playing catch-up. Knowing what's coming around the corner and evolving alongside those changes can keep a business competitive. 

The youth of tomorrow

Being at the cutting edge of tomorrow is not as simple as parachuting somebody into a businesses, giving them a funky job trendspotting in businesstitle and telling them to get on with it. Organisations need to have a culture of acting on shifts and trends and somebody in the C-suite banging the drum for the value in finding them. This person, or people, will understand how to filter cultural trends into effective industry relevant insights in a business capacity.

This is becoming even more critical with the increasing number of technologically-astute Millennials come into senior business roles. This group is more open to taking a leap of faith than their historical counterparts and understands the importance of “being on the front foot” and have complete faith in the technology to support them. While Baby Boomers showed a certain reluctance to change, subsequent generations have embraced it as a part of life. These generations will swap jobs or even careers multiple times; they will share cars, jobs and work spaces. They will barely notice technological change because to them it is inevitable. These generations are being influenced on a daily basis and expect their businesses and service providers to keep up with their trendspotting in businessappetite for change. For them, a lack of change is unforgivable.

Fad versus trend

Knowing the difference between the weight and importance of trends, the signifiers of their domination and how to analyse them informs successful decision-making. It can mean the difference between jumping on a fad just as it fades or being the brand that creates it. While every social media platform presents an endless number of opportunities, they’re just connectors - not influencers.  The more we rely on AI and computer-centred technology, the more we crave the human experience, and it’s that experience that the smart tech will track. Recognising the underlying patterns of human experiences and behaviour is what will enable business to see what will turn from a fad to a trend, and from a trend to a shift.

Challenge the status quo

Businesses can map,track,  become immersed in and even create trends. They can informatively imagine the future and create the opportunity, and it’s not just marketing. Bold CEOs will incorporate trends across the corporate strategy, R&D and product development and design. As Millennials evolve to boardroom roles, we are seeing more  examples of established corporations adopting new trend driven directions.

Even now, there are too many businesses making the mistake of defending the status quo instead of challenging it. Comformatism will eventually lead to a downfall because customers are looking for something fresh and relevant - just ask Nokia, Kodak or Blockbuster. Everything changes; it always has, and it always will. You can keep up with the changes or you can create them. I know where I’d rather be.

If you liked this article, you might want to read: 

The three biggest tech trends influencing the Art World

Tech trends that will affect retail

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Published on: 12th February 2019

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