Celebrity spotting, elite-sourcing and social media: Inspiration & challenges from spotting trends in Turkey

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TrendWatching has been making a number of trips to Turkey recently, including for a recent event with Idea Bakery, a local partner who have been applying TrendWatching’s content and Trend-Driven Innovation methodology to their communications work with clients.

Here, Neslihan Kohen — Idea Bakery’s Brand Communications Consultant — runs through spotting trends and the challenges that innovators across Turkey face (and how to overcome them).

Neslihan Kohen-2

Passionate Curiosity

I am a long-term ‘sufferer’ of wanderlust, but it’s international travel that feeds my curiosity and passion in life. I’m always hungry to explore new places within my hometown — undiscovered neighborhoods, unusual tastes and shops hidden in corners. Anything that hasn’t been commercialized yet attracts my undivided attention. I firmly believe that the future belongs to the curious eye…

The Magger

Social Media

Although Turkey has a very young population (20% are 15–24 years old) with high Internet penetration rate (according to the ‘We are Social’ digital usage report released in January 2016, 60% of the Turkish people are active Internet users, 53% are active social media users, and 90% have a mobile connection), there are no publications dedicated to local trends.

Bloggers, publications and Socially Important People (S.I.P.s) spot bits of trends here and there in an unstructured, mild manner — sometimes without even noticing that they have actually caught a future “it-thing”.

However, I’m always keen to use them as inspiration to spot future local trends, as their international lifestyles mean they often share pictures and posts about things that will soon be coming to Turkey. An example of this would be the third wave coffee-shop expansion in big cities across Turkey.

Crowdsourcing

I regularly visit the biggest crowd-sourced platform of Turkey, “ekşisözlük” — translated as ‘sour dictionary’ :) — a major authority to follow up the trends and current agenda. This is an open platform with no membership requirement (like reddit.com).

The only striking fact that makes it a recognized authority is that all content creators are granted writership by a special counsel of founders.

Ekşisözlük is not a unique platform format, but it is infamously edgy due to the diversity of recorded thoughts and ideas, directly reflecting the polarized population. So, just a daily 10-minute dose of eksisozluk.com will help you to dive into the daily agendas and different perspectives of Turkish youth.

TW: What are some challenges you and other Turkish innovators face when it comes to working with trends?

One of the challenges of working with trends is the Turkish consumers’ fear of adopting them into daily life. Although Turkish people love novelty, they are also very attached to the known and familiar. This often makes them skeptical and fearful about abandoning the proven and familiar in favor of the untried and new.

Moreover, Turkish people by nature are a little whimsical. When they adopt a new trend, they over-consume it and it becomes a fad quicker than usual, leaving them unenthusiastic and already looking out for the next big thing. Therefore, I wouldn’t be mistaken if I said they are more fad-driven than trend-driven.

As a result, the aspect of novelty and development is not easily acknowledged and adopted by the majority of the population. This is a setback for the innovation business in Turkey. However, when a brand takes these aspects into consideration and innovates accordingly, success is inevitable.

Arcelik Telve

Example: Arçelik created an innovative coffee machine, designed to replicate the traditional Turkish coffee drinking experience: mimicking the ‘slow-cooked’ brewing process & creating the all-important foam. This is a great example of how a Turkish company can grab the familiarity aspect at the core and then inject innovation in it.

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Idea Bakery is a consultancy and training company with expertise on brand and business building equity and communications, based in Istanbul with network members in Frankfurt, Geneva and Atlanta. You can find more about them right here.

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