10 CRUCIAL CONSUMER TRENDS FOR 2010

Opportunities aplenty in 2010 for those obsessed with satisfying consumer needs in new ways

A bonanza of opportunities

Published in January 2010 | First of all: It’s going to be another interesting year. Has the global recession really, officially ended? And if so, will the aftermath cause pains for years to come? Whatever the outcome, we find ourselves spotting more recession-proof opportunities than ever before. Why? Consumers, recession-stricken or not, still value innovations that are pragmatic, or exciting, or those that save them money, or entertain them.... oh well, you get the picture. Time to get busy again!

What this Briefing is (and isn't) about

As this is all about trends, and as 'trends' still mean everything from global warming to Spring 2011 skirt lengths, we need to clarify that:

  • We’re tracking consumer trends. Not macro trends. Well, actually, we do track those, but we don’t publish extensively about them. To make the most of 2010, best thing to do is to first dive into macro trends for the BIG picture (we like McKinsey’s Global Institute, and IMD’s “global challenges” site). After that, absorb as many consumer trends as you can.
  • Obviously, trends don’t ‘start’ on 1 January or end on 31 December. Professionals craving Top Ten lists is something we gladly cater to, but all trends are constantly evolving, and all of the content below is one way or another already happening.
  • We’re also not saying there are only 10 consumer trends to track in 2010: There are dozens of important consumer trends worth applying at any given time of the year. We merely bring you a selection to get going. If you crave more, do check out other trend firms’ Top Ten lists, or purchase our Premium service, which includes a very extensive 2010 Trend Report.
  • All of the above means that many trends we’ve highlighted over the last years will still be as important next year as the ones we discuss in this briefing. Will STATUS STORIES (2008) still be big in 2010? You bet. Will SELLSUMERS (2009) continue to proliferate? Of course. Is CURATED CONSUMPTION (2004!) still important? Definitely. Will we see more BRAND BUTLER examples? As long as the mantra of marketing being a service survives, then yes.
  • These trends don't apply to all consumers. Hardly any trend does, anyway.
  • Last but not least, trend watching is about applying. About innovations. Hands-on. Execution. Making money. Now.
    Forget ‘Nice to Know’ or ‘Cool Stuff’ or ‘Pie in the Sky’. For how to apply these trends straightaway, see the last section of this briefing.

Overview

Forget the recession: the societal changes that will dominate 2010 were set in motion way before we temporarily stared into the abyss. More »

Urban culture is the culture. Extreme urbanization, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and far beyond will lead to more sophisticated and demanding consumers around the world. More »

Whatever it is you're selling or launching this year, it will be reviewed 'en masse', live, 24/7. More »

Closely tied to what constitutes status (which is becoming more fragmented), luxury will be whatever consumers want it to be over the next 12 months. More »

Online lifestyles are fueling and encouraging 'real world' meet-ups like there's no tomorrow, shattering all cliches and predictions about a desk-bound, virtual, isolated future. More »

To really reach some meaningful sustainability goals this year, corporations and governments will have to forcefully make it 'easy' for consumers to be more green, by restricting the alternatives. More »

Tracking and alerting are the new search, and 2010 will see countless new INFOLUST services that will help consumers expand their web of control. More »

This year, generosity as a trend will adapt to the zeitgeist, leading to more pragmatic and collaborative donation services for consumers. More »

With hundreds of millions of consumers now nurturing some sort of online profile, 2010 is a good year to introduce some services to help them make the most of it (financially), from intention-based models to digital afterlife services. More »

2010 will be even more opinionated, risqué, outspoken, if not 'raw' than 2009; you can thank the anything-goes online world for that. Will your brand be as daring? More »


1. BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL

Ruthless capitalism went out of fashion way before the crisis hit

This year, prepare for ‘business as unusual’. For the first time, there’s a global understanding, if not a feeling of urgency that sustainability, in every possible meaning of the word, is the only way forward. How that should or shouldn’t impact consumer societies is of course still part of a raging debate, but at least there is a debate.

Meanwhile, in mature consumer societies, companies will have to do more than just embrace the notion of being a good corporate citizen. To truly prosper, they will have to ‘move with the culture’. This may mean displaying greater transparency and honesty, or having conversations as opposed to one-way advertising, or championing collaboration instead of an us-them mentality. Or, it could be intrinsically about generosity versus greed, or being a bit edgy and daring as opposed to safe and bland.

As always, the future is unevenly distributed: one only needs to look at the Googles and the Amazons and the Zappos and the Virgins of this world to get a feel for 'business as unusual'. So not surprisingly, the trends in this briefing all touch on doing things differently, driven by changing consumer preferences and desires. Time to study and learn from those brands that you think are already mirroring today's more diverse, chaotic, networked society, and then outdo them ;-)


2. URBANY

A defining trend for 2010, 2011, 2012, and so on: urbanization on steroids. We'll let the numbers speak for themselves:

  • "Less than 5 per cent of the world’s population lived in cities a century ago. In 2008, for the first time in humanity, that figure exceeded 50 per cent. In the last two decades alone, the urban population of the developing world has grown by an average of 3 million people per week.”
  • “By 2050, it will have reached 70 per cent, representing 6.4 billion people. Most of this growth will be taking place in developing regions; Asia will host 63 percent of the global urban population, or 3.3 billion people in 2050.” (Source: the Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, October 2009.)

Where will this lead us? We’ve dubbed this extreme push towards urbanization ‘URBANY', representing a global consumer arena inhabited by billions of experienced and newly-minted urbanites. The significance?

A forever-growing number of more sophisticated, more demanding, but also more try-out-prone, super-wired urban consumers are snapping up more ‘daring’ goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations.

And thanks to near-total online transparency of the latest and greatest, those consumers opting to remain in rural areas will be tempted to act (and shop) online like urban consumers, too.

This of course creates fertile grounds for B2C brands keen on pushing the innovation envelope in any possible way. As Alex Steffen, editor of WorldChanging stated:

“I’m certainly not saying that all innovation is urban, or that the suburbs are brain dead or anything. I am saying that compact, wired and wealthy urban communities seem to me to be becoming the epicenters of innovation these days, and that is going to change what innovations emerge.”

Oh, and don't even get us started on the growing consensus that cities could actually be the most sustainable form of human settlement. But we'll save that one for a future briefing.

URBAN PRIDE

Preparing for URBANY and more sophisticated consumers is one thing, running with this trend is another. So here's a hands-on sub-trend to get you going: URBAN PRIDE.

Basically, in thriving mega-cities, whose economic and cultural power already often surpass that of entire nations, inhabitants’ identities will be closely tied to a city's culture, its brand, its heritage, its 'being'. This means that for big brands, delivering city-specific products, services and communications that truly incorporate a city's character, will be a great, human and fun way to pay respect to urban citizens around the world.

So, this year and beyond, you basically can’t go wrong to appeal to urbanites’ pride. Some random examples:

  • The Absolut Cities Series first launched in New Orleans, when the brand developed a special mango and black pepper blend inspired by the city. Later, Absolut rolled out the City Series to Los Angeles, and in August 2009, Absolut released the taste of Boston - a black tea and elderflower vodka that has a backdrop reminiscent of Fenway Park's Green Monster.
  • Since August 2009, people using five Bank Machine ATMs in East London have been able to opt to have their prompts and options given to them in Cockney rhyming slang.
  • Guerlain launched a series of city-themed perfumes in July 2009, exclusively available at UK department store Harrods for GBP 130. Paris - Moscow is a combination of musk, fruit and wood; Paris - New York mixes vanilla, cinnamon and cedar; and jasmine, violet and green tea combine to create Paris - Tokyo.

3. REAL-TIME REVIEWS

Live reviews from aboard the maiden flight of BA’s new all-business service between London City and JFK

We recently highlighted NOWISM*, and while that mega-trend in its entirety should be on your radar for the next 12 months, let’s dive into one sub-trend that will be truly disruptive: the rise of REAL-TIME REVIEWS.

In short, with even more people sharing, in real time, everything they do**, buy, listen to, watch, attend, wear and so on, and with even more search engines and tracking services making it easy to find and group these ‘live dispatches’ by theme, topic or brand, this year will see ready-to-buy consumers tapping into a live stream of (first-hand) experiences from fellow consumers.

* Consumers’ ingrained lust for instant gratification is being satisfied by a host of novel, important (offline and online) real-time products, services and experiences. Consumers are also feverishly contributing to the real-time content avalanche that’s building as we speak.

** As more people are reviewing and contributing, the sheer mass of opinions will lead to a real-time stream of information, findable and viewable to all. In addition, online access and device convergence will allow more on-the-spot reviews. Twitter is the much-deserved poster child for real-time reviews: it has established itself as the real-time snapshot of what people are thinking/feeling/experiencing and yes, reviewing, around the world.

Next: Just because they can (Twitter's Direct Messages come to mind), consumers who will need more specifics after reading a review, will want to get in direct touch with the reviewer. And because of the self-selecting nature of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, these direct conversations will actually be welcomed by the reviewer, too. By posting reviews for his peers, he or she is almost angling for a follow-up. This will lead to real conversations between like-minded customers and potential buyers, without the brand even being able to monitor what's being said about its products, let alone being able to respond.

So expect numerous services to capitalize on this burgeoning ‘global brain', and its endless real-time reviews and verdicts. Just one example:

  • EezeeRator is a free travel companion from French Air Valid that allows passengers to post airline reviews while in flight. Travelers need only download the application—an Android version is available now, with iPhone software coming next month. With an on-board wifi connection, they can then use the application to search for airline and flight information, post reviews, and send messages, tweets and pictures in real-time from their phones. All messages are moderated by the EezeeRator team, and a GPS function confirms that users are where they say they are.

Oh, and how to deal with REAL-TIME REVIEWS? Either outperform so reviews will be positive, or adopt a radical 'beta-mindset' (re-read our FOREVERISM briefing for more on this) which means you involve customers in your development processes from day one, eliminating the possibility of out-of-the-blue bad reviews upon launch.

Love this stuff? Then do re-read our TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH and NOWISM briefings, too. No rest for the wicked!


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4. (F)LUXURY

Luxury. Is it a family of six? Owning a SUB instead of a SUV? Needing nothing at all? You decide.

This year, luxury, and what it means to a bewildering number of ‘consumer segments’, will remain in flux.

So how will luxury brands fare over the next 12 months? What will define luxury over the next few years? The answer is ‘luxury will be whatever you want it to be'. After all, what constitutes luxury is closely related to what constitutes scarcity. And, beyond the basic needs, scarcity is in the eye of the beholder, especially those beholders who are desperately trying to be unique. Now that there are so many more ways to be unique than just buy the biggest and the most expensive, how about luxury constituting:

Anything commissioned? Providing 'access'? Secrets? Stories? Time with one's loved ones? Time for oneself? All things local? Peace and quiet, if not escape? Eco-friendly? Human-friendly? Animal-friendly? Caring? Empathy? Perks? Craft? Friends? Having a larger-than-life perspective? Households of six or more? An audience? Eccentricity? Appointment-only? Relevant information? Extreme personalization? Not having or wanting to consume? Being opinionated? Anything premium? Fuck-you money? Curation if not the absence of any kind of choice? Philanthropy? Bespoke goods and services? Knowledge? Skills? Frugality? Health? Etiquette & manners? Or a mix of any of these?

So don't worry about missing out on the next big thing in luxury, focus on defining it. How? By finding and coining the right (status) trigger for the right audience. Just declare that the end is nigh for anything that’s getting a little too affordable, too accessible, too polluting, or just too well-known. Then introduce something very different (if not the opposite), appealing to the in-crowds who are ready to jump ship anyway ;-)

P.S. We’re not saying ‘traditional’ luxury is going to disappear. Case in point: LIMITED LOCATIONS, a (F)LUXURY sub-trend that ties in nicely with aforementioned URBAN PRIDE:

LIMITED LOCATIONS

We know you all know about limited editions as an enduring luxury-strategy; it is an easy way to appeal to consumers’ need for exclusivity and scarcity, amidst a 'Sea of Sameness'. So why not introduce LIMITED LOCATIONS to extend the scarcity theme to the distribution channel?

This year, just sell something special, something premium, something desirable in just one (geographical) location. Which means forgoing a chain-wide rollout or selling to all from a borderless e-shop. The limitation this will put on distribution opportunities will be compensated for by enthusiasm, PR and premium prices.

For shoppers, it brings back the thrill of (literally) having to go places to pick up something for others or themselves. Think about it, what better cure for retail blandness than to turn a Stockholm or Istanbul flagship store into a true destination again? Or what if every one of your stores/outlets/venues had its own unique experience and assortment?

Like aforementioned URBAN PRIDE, turning locations into destinations is something that will mainly benefit bigger brands, helping them become less cookie-cutter, less bland, as niche brands almost practice LIMITED LOCATIONS by default.

Examples from brands already having fun with LIMITED LOCATIONS:

  • Fashion brand Bape sells some of its limited edition lines only in stores in the Kagoshima, Harajuku, Nagoya and Matsuyama regions of Tokyo.
  • Burberry’s Blue Label is a line of Burberry stores exclusive to Japan that features a more fitted, sassier version of Burberry styles.
  • Le Labo fragrances, with fragrance boutiques in New York, LA and Tokyo, and mini-shops in department stores in cities like London, Las Vegas and Berlin, produces an exclusive scent for each major city it sells in, restricting the fragrance's availability to that city alone.
  • At Heathrow's Terminal 5, a number of brands have designed exclusive products for their airside stores. Travelers can purchase a range of one-off items, including a pendant from Bulgari, a silver model of the terminal itself from Links of London, and an exclusive Krispy Kreme T5 doughnut.

5. MASS MINGLING

 

More people than ever will be living large parts of their lives online in 2010. Yet, those same people will also mingle, meet up, and congregate more often with other ‘warm bodies’ in the offline world.
In fact, social media and mobile communications are fueling a MASS MINGLING that defies virtually every cliché about diminished human interaction in our ‘online era’.

So, forget (for now) a future in which the majority of consumers lose themselves in virtual worlds. Ironically the same technology that was once seen to be—and condemned for—turning entire generations into homebound gaming zombies and avatars, is now deployed to get people out of their homes.

Basically, the more people can get their hands on the right info, at home and on the go; the more they date and network and twitter and socialize online, the more likely they are to eventually meet up with friends and followers in the real world. Why? Because people actually enjoy interacting with other warm bodies, and will do so forever. A list of MASS MINGLING facts and drivers:

  • Social media is all about other people to begin with.
    From a recent Pew report: "When we examine people’s full personal network – their strong ties and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with having a more diverse social network. Again, this flies against the notion that technology pulls people away from social engagement."
  • The most popular and/or hyped online services, from Foursquare to Google Latitude to Loopt to FireEagle, are currently all about following, finding, tracking, connecting to, and ultimately (spontaneously) meeting up with interesting people (friends and strangers). For some users of these services, 'life-streaming' is now a reality, especially when combined with their blogs, tweets, and Facebook updates pages.
  • Terabytes of online (local) content is about informing and alerting people to make the most of their time with others in the real world.
  • Last but not least: The mobile web has bridged the gap between either being offline in the real world, or being online but in one location (mostly living rooms and offices). Thanks to a dozen years of predicting an imminent, mass-breakthrough of mobile internet, no one gets really excited about the prospect of no longer being stuck when online. However, it will dominate 2010, and it will fuel MASS MINGLING like there's no tomorrow, as online will be offline by default, and vice versa.

Next for MASS MINGLING will be even more impromptu, temporary meet-ups of strangers, mobs and crowds with similar interests, hobbies, political preferences, causes and grievances. Many of these (temporary) meet-ups will revolve around generating public attention, or getting something done. And here too, Twitter will lead the way (tweetmobs, anyone?).

The opportunity is obvious: Anyone involved with anything that helps people get and stay in touch, that gets people from A-Z, or that accommodates those people before, during or after meeting-up with others, should not only rejoice in MASS MINGLING, but make it even easier for customers to meet up in any possible way, too.

Now, there are thousands of MASS MINGLING examples as it is, so we'll stick with just one fun one that is still in 'concept':

  • UK network Channel 4 announced the ongoing development of a Facebook app for the hit show 'Come Dine With Me'. The app will give fans of the show, in which amateur chefs hold competing dinner parties for one another, the tools to host their own parties with their Facebook friends.

 


6. ECO-EASY


The numerous green opportunities we highlighted in our ECO-BOUNTY briefing are still up for grabs. From ECO-STURDY to ECO-ICONIC to ECO-TRANSIENT. So what else is building in the Green Arena? How about ECO-EASY:

While the current good intentions of corporations and consumers are helpful, serious eco-results will depend on making products and processes more sustainable without consumers even noticing it, and, if necessary, not leaving much room for consumers and companies to opt for less sustainable alternatives to begin with.

Which will often mean forceful, if not painful, government intervention, or some serious corporate guts, or brilliantly smart design and thinking, if not all of those combined.
Think anything from thoroughly green buildings, to a complete ban on plastic bags and bottles, to super-strict bluefin tuna quota — anything that by default leaves no choice, no room for complacency, and thus makes it 'easy' for consumers (and corporations) to do the right and necessary thing.

Some recent, random and hands-on ECO-EASY examples, from governments to B2C brands, to get you going (or better, to copy or build on):

  • The small town of Bundanoon in Australia's New South Wales has banned the sale of bottled water for environmental reasons. The community voted to replace branded water bottles with empty bottles labeled "Bundy on tap" that can be filled and refilled with water from taps and fountains on the main street.
  • In September 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced plans to introduce a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in France. Polluters will have to pay EUR 17 per ton of carbon emitted, which includes not only businesses but individual households as well. The tax will cover 70% of the country's carbon emissions and bring in about EUR 4.3 billion of revenue annually.
  • The government of Mexico City recently passed a law restricting businesses from giving out plastic bags that are not biodegradable. Mexico City becomes the second large metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw the bags. San Francisco enacted an ordinance in March 2007 that gave supermarkets six months and large chain pharmacies about a year to phase out the bags.
  • UK sandwich chain Pret a Manger decided to stop selling tuna sandwiches after the Earth Day 2009 release of End of the Line, a documentary exposing over-fishing of the world's oceans.


7. TRACKING & ALERTING

Consumers weaving their web of instant checking, tracking and alerting

If INFOLUST (consumers lusting after relevant information) is the enduring mega trend, then TRACKING and ALERTING are its du jour sub-trends.

First of all, TRACKING & ALERTING is the new searching, as it saves consumers time, makes it impossible to forget or miss out, and thus ultimately gives them yet another level of control. Count on everything being tracked and alerted on (there's more than FedEx packages!): from friends (MASS MINGLING!) to enemies to fuel prices to flights to authors to pizzas to any mentions of oneself.

Oh, and ALERTING, when done well, is of course the ultimate in INFOLUST: relevant information finding consumers, based on (voluntarily revealed) preferences.

The real opportunity this year? TRACKING and ALERTING is something that consumers actually need and want, that delights them, that they crave. They are quite literally asking for relevant information, even giving you permission to provide them with more. What’s not to like? Learn from examples below, then start adding to the current information overload in meaningful ways ;-)

  • A Box Life is an initiative by the Columbia sportswear company to promote the reuse of boxes used to ship purchases made from their online store. The program allows consumers to track the path and life of their boxes through Columbia's A Box Life website. Customers can enter a box's unique tracking number or QR code and see where it's been, how far it has traveled and find out about the other people who have passed the box on. In just over one month after A Box Life's launch in 2009, over 66% of all Columbia's orders were being shipped in reused boxes.
  • Fitbit is a small device the user can wear around the clock for continuous, automatic and comprehensive fitness reporting. With a 3D motion sensor the Fitbit tracks the user's activity in three dimensions and converts that data into useful information. Once this is uploaded onto the Fitbit website, users can view detailed data about their fitness-related activities; they can also enter data about what they've eaten and participate in collaborative fitness goals.
  • In an effort to be more transparent, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has introduced an online tracking program which allows New Yorkers to view city agency performance and the expenditure of the USD 5 billion in federal stimulus money that New York received.
  • Launched in San Francisco in early August 2009, Curtis Kimball's mobile Crème Brûlée Cart has attracted more than 8,000 Twitter followers, who rely on his tweets to find out exactly where he'll be, and what flavors are on the menu.
  • The Warm Cookie Radar from Specialty's Cafe & Bakery sends customers email alerts when batches of just-baked cookies have rolled out of the oven.
  • Kogi Korean BBQ sells its Korean/Mexican fusion food primarily through two trucks that are always on the move to new locations in the Los Angeles area. To know where to find them, customers must follow Kogi on Twitter.
  • In 2009, the Brazilian transit authority starting using Twitter to update São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro's motorists and pedestrians of any traffic incidents or transport news. The feed broadcasts tweets from the authority itself, as well as allowing users to share their own experiences of the city's traffic and transport.
  • MediClim is a free service in the US and UK for people suffering from arthritis, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Subscribers sign up on the website and complete a brief medical questionnaire. On days with weather conditions that are expected to trigger health problems, subscribers receive an email, or an alert through MediClim's Facebook application, with notification of the conditions and their possible impact.
  • Launched in October 2009, Lufthansa's MySkyStatus lets passengers keep their friends and loved-ones up-to-date on their travel progress. The online service sends automatic status updates on location, altitude, departure and arrival to passengers' Twitter and Facebook pages.
  • The NetHaggler browser plugin allows consumers to capture the details of any product from participating online retailers and then choose whether to Tag, Nag or Haggle. Tagging simply allows users to set an alert when the product reaches a certain price. If the user chooses to Nag, then their preferred price will be sent to the retailer who will respond with a yes, no, or counter offer. Haggling is similar, but allows NetHaggler to aggregate demand and negotiate a bulk discount. Note: for more pricing-related alerts, see our TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH briefing.

And yes, ‘Augmented Reality’ (A field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data, where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time. Source: Wikipedia) adds yet another layer of convenience to existing TRACKING and ALERTING services. It never ends.

 

 


8. EMBEDDED GENEROSITY

GENERATION G(ENEROSITY). It was big in 2009, and it will be even bigger this year. In particular all things EMBEDDED GENEROSITY. It incorporates all giving initiatives that make giving and donating painless, if not automatic (after all, pragmatism is the new religion ;-).
On top of that, with collaboration being such an integral part of the zeitgeist, expect lots of innovative corporate giving schemes that involve customers by letting them co-donate and/or co-decide.

So check out these innovative, corporate EMBEDDED GENEROSITY examples that are worth copying or improving::

  • Australian Baby Teresa manufactures and sells a variety of 100% cotton onesies for babies, and, for each one purchased, donates another to a baby in need somewhere in the world.
  • IKEA’s SUNNAN LED desk lamp is powered by solar cells. The product retails for USD 19.99, and for every unit sold in IKEA stores worldwide, another one will be donated to UNICEF to give to children without electricity in refugee camps and villages in remote areas.
  • Still going strong, Procter & Gamble and UNICEF have joined forces for the fourth year running, in an effort to raise money for tetanus vaccines. Each time a pack of the Pampers or Fairy brands bearing a "1 Pack = 1 Life-Saving Vaccine" logo is purchased, P&G will donate the cost of one vaccine to UNICEF.
  • TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair they sell online. As of August 2009, TOMS has given over 150,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. TOMS shoes plans to give 1 million shoes by 2012.
  • Sage Hospitality is encouraging consumers to complete 8 hours of volunteer service in exchange for 50% - 100% off published room rates in their 52 hotels. To take advantage of the 'Give a Day, Get a Night' scheme, customers must present a letter from the organization they worked for.
  • Give a Day, Get a Disney Day aims to celebrate and inspire volunteerism. Disney is working with HandsOn Network to highlight a variety of volunteer opportunities with participating organizations across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Starting this month (January 2010), those who contribute their time can have it verified by HandsOn and they'll receive a voucher from Disney for one day admission to a Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme park.
  • Servus, a Canadian credit union, began handing out CDN 200,000 in ten-dollar bills, giving 20,000 people the opportunity to create a Feel Good Ripple by spending the money on someone else. By pledging CDN 200,00 to the effort, the company hopes to start a ' kindness movement' that will positively affect at least 20,000 people. Servus is distributing the bills through its branches throughout Alberta, and asking participants to write up stories of their kindness online.
  • Campbell's Help Grow Your Soup campaign aimed to raise money to maintain farm buildings in need of refurbishment. The campaign asked consumers to vote for one of ten barns in need of work, and for every vote until January 2010, Campbell donated 1 USD to restore the five barns which receive the most votes.
  • In October 2009, Twitter’s owners announced that they will begin selling wine through their label, called Fledgling Wine. The wine will be bottled from August 2010 and USD 5 of every bottle sold will go to Room to Read, a charity that organizes literacy programs for children around the world.
  • Chicago's Hotel Burnham launched the charity based initiative 'Casual Blue' in 2009. A USD 10 room credit is given to patrons who leave a pair of (old) jeans, which are then donated to local charities.

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9. PROFILE MYNING

What insights can we possibly add to the avalanche of intelligence available on where social media is going? Here’s one modest attempt: the importance of owning and making the most (financially) of personal profiles.

And no, we’re not referring to companies / advertisers making money from personal profiles (jeez....), even though they’re dying to ‘mine’ personal data to serve up 'relevant' ads; we're putting our money on data and profile mining by its rightful owners, i.e. consumers. Hence the MYNING, not MINING. Opportunities:

  • Now that hundreds of millions of consumers maintain some kind of online profile/presence, who's going to set up an intermediary representing consumers who are willing to disclose (parts of) their purchasing intentions, and then invite companies to put in bids?
  • With personal profiles (which are the nucleus of one's personal brand) representing an ever-greater emotional and financial value, expect a burgeoning market for services that protect, store, and, in case of emergencies/death, arrange handing over of one's digital estate to trusted others.

Examples:


  • For storing, protecting and handing-over individual data, check out Swiss DNA Bank, which launched in August 2009, offers ultra-secure DNA storage that meets Swiss banking regulations. For a one-time fee of USD 399, customers can store both their self-swabbed DNA and up to 1 GB of digital data, forever. The DNA and the web servers are held in a former Swiss military underground nuclear shelter in Gstaad. Customer's heirs can buy access to their relatives' shared data for USD 69. For consumers eager to keep confidential info out of the wrong hands, the digital data storage can also be purchased individually for USD 299.
    Similar digital afterlife services worth checking out: LegacyLocker, Death Switch and Slightly Morbid.

P.S. We'll dedicate an entire Trend Briefing to PROFILE MYNING in the near future, so please stay tuned.



10. MATURIALISM

 

Let’s face it: this year will be rawer, more opinionated, more risqué, more in your face than ever before. Your audiences (who are by now thoroughly exposed to, well, anything, for which you can thank first and foremost the anything-goes online universe) can handle much more quirkiness, more daring innovations, more risqué communications and conversations, more exotic flavors and so on than traditional marketers could have ever dreamed of. In short; audiences in mature consumer societies no longer tolerate being treated like yesteryear’s uninformed, easily shocked, inexperienced, middle-of-the-road consumer.

We've dubbed this MATURIALISM (mature materialism), and, to go full circle, it is closely linked to BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL, to URBANY, to PROFILE MYNING, if not all trends in this Trend Briefing.

So, this year, the question is how far you can/should go as a brand, when mirroring societal beliefs that are about anything but being meek. And no, we’re not saying you have to be rude or nasty or inconsiderate; this is about being a tad more daring and diverse if you want to move with the culture.  

  • Designed by Moscow-based creative agency Firma, "BDSM", "Fetish" and "Toys" are concept lollipops created for Chupa Chups with a decidedly adult feel (pictured above).
  • In a high-profile stance against Proposition 8 (which prohibits gay marriage in California) American Apparel released their Legalize Gay t-shirt in November 2008, which was originally printed to give to protesters at rallies and marches. However, popularity and support of the shirt was so overwhelming that the brand released the shirt for general sale.
  • The Icecreamists is a UK ice cream brand that has positioned itself using premium, X-rated flavors. Its most recent flavor, The Sex Pistol, was available exclusively at The Icecreamists' pop-up shop in London's Selfridges department store from September to November 2009.
  • Philips recently unveiled the latest addition to its ‘relationship care’ line of adult toys. The Dual Sensual Massager includes devices for both partners in a relationship.
  • Wine Cellar Sorbets sells a range of unique sorbets with varietal wines as the main ingredient. The range features traditional vineyard flavors including Sangria Rojo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Riesling and Champagne.
  • Parisian designer, Nicole Locher, has launched a collection of women's tops with embroidered messages including "I Aint Your Fucking Sweetheart", "Little Slut", "Don't You Fucking Look At Me.
  • Mid 2009, Air New Zealand launched an ad campaign designed to highlight the airline's transparent prices, which include checked baggage and refreshments. The ad features a range of airline employees going about their business dressed in nothing but body paint.

While the ‘risqué’ part of MATURIALISM makes for fun material (we obviously couldn't resist), the trend will equally become about more mature, real conversations with customers, it will be about educating consumers about the products and services you sell, how to make the most of them (yes, STATUS SKILLS come to mind), or about displaying the same transparency and openness about your processes and actions as individual consumers now display about their own lives, for all to see.

Afraid to offend and even lose some customers when jumping on the MATURALISM wagon this year? Just think of those future, less-uptight generations you’ll definitely lose if you don’t ;-)


11. NEED MORE?

ANIMATED

For many of you, this Trend Briefing is probably enough to keep you going for a couple of months when looking into and working with consumer trends. And yet, the above is just a snapshot of what we track. So if you need access to all the trends we’re tracking for this year and beyond, including endless trend examples from around the world, then please check out our Premium Membership service.

It includes full, 100+ slide/page 2010 and 2011 Trend Reports, as well as more than 12 months of password-protected access to our forever-growing Trend Database, which now contains 3,000+ trend examples.

You’ll find yourself in good (yet pretty competitive) company: Leading B2C brands and agencies, from Google to Virgin to Saatchi & Saatchi are already working with our Premium content. Many ambitious small firms have purchased too, as we’ve kept things pretty affordable. More info here »


APPLY!

For loyal readers, this is by now old news: the four ways to apply these consumer trends, and make some money from the innovations they spawn. Just ask yourself if they have the potential to (and if so, how):

  1. Influence or shape your company's vision.
  2. Inspire you to come up with a new business concept, an entirely new venture, a new brand.
  3. Add a new product, service or experience for a certain customer segment.
  4. Speak the language of those consumers already 'living' a trend.

It's as easy as that ;-)