From niche to the next big thing: Leading the way with trends and foresight
The end of the year is right around the corner, and your 2024 planning is undoubtedly in full swing. We’re willing to bet that trends are a big part of those conversations; but distinguishing between fleeting novelty and the next big thing (let alone activating ahead of your competition) is much easier said than done. And that’s why proper trends and foresight work is so critical.
For example, certified organic products are now ubiquitous in today’s culture. So much so, that many consumers view the USDA claim as table stakes — and many others question its validity as more than a marketing gimmick. But 25 years ago, the organic “trend” was barely visible. When our analysts first started signaling its potential in the late 90s, many were skeptical that it was too niche. But major cultural shifts like consumer engagement in health and wellness and sustainability; skepticism of the food industry; and the pursuit of freshness were primary indicators that organic was going to be game-changing for companies who took it seriously.
Trends and foresight help us understand where and how trends start, foresee which early trends will gain momentum, and chart the best course toward breakthrough innovation opportunities. By expertly linking macro and micro trends, we’re able to reveal patterns: patterns of how the world is changing around us, and patterns of how people and companies are creating and responding to that change. Ultimately, these patterns help us answer critical business questions:
- What are the large-scale forces shaping your marketplace: locally, regionally, and globally?
- What key dynamics are driving the future of food and beverage, and how might trends in adjacent industries (e.g., fashion, tech) impact your specific landscape?
- How are the ways consumers discover, source, and shop for food and beverages evolving in the physical and digital landscape?
- What future attributes, benefits, behaviors and occasions will shape your category and reveal opportunities for disruption?
- What product attributes can your product/brand leverage to future-proof it in alignment with evolving cultural values?
- What are the future consumer groups, needs, and behaviors you should be innovating against to future-proof your business?
Together, these discoveries provide the scaffolding for a powerful trends framework.
The macro-cultural trend toward organic products has been a crucial element of global trends frameworks we’ve developed for numerous clients. But it's important to remember that every trend is not for everyone. Your unique trends framework acts as a guiding light, keeping you focused on the areas where your organization is most likely to succeed with disruptive innovations so you don’t get pulled off-course by trends that don’t align with your brand’s DNA.