10 CRUCIAL CONSUMER
TRENDS FOR 2013
How will YOU deliver on consumer expectations in the next 12 months?
10 TRENDS FOR 2013

Introduction:

2013 will be the perfect storm of necessity and opportunity: some economies will do OK(-ish), others will be shaky, but whatever market or industry you're in, those who understand & cater to changing consumer needs, desires and expectations will forever have plenty of opportunity to profit. A remapped global economy, new technologies (or 'old' technologies applied in new ways), new business models... hey, what's not to like?

Hence this overview of 10 crucial consumer trends (in random order) for you to run with in the next 12 months. Onwards and upwards:


1. PRESUMERS & CUSTOWNERS

“Consumers will embrace even more ways to participate in the funding and (pre-)launch of new products and brands.”

2013 will see passionate consumers embrace two innovative new ‘consumption’ models: becoming PRESUMERS and CUSTOWNERS.

PRESUMERS love to get involved with, push, fund, and promote products and services before they are realized. And thanks to countless new crowdfunding platforms and new manufacturing technologies that are finally tipping into the mainstream (and a burgeoning, global cult of entrepreneurialism at large), the coming 12 months will see them have more opportunities than ever to do so.

No wonder that the amount PRESUMERS spent on crowdfunding platforms has risen from just USD 530 million in 2009, to USD 1.3 billion in 2011, to USD 2.8 billion in 2012 (Source: Massolution/The Economist, May 2012).

For more insights, see our recent, dedicated PRESUMERS Trend Briefing »

Next for PRESUMERS? How about CUSTOWNERS: consumers who move from passively consuming a product towards funding/investing (if not owning a stake) in the brands they buy from.

However, these increasingly business-savvy consumers are often looking for both a financial and an emotional return, and therefore only brands that are open, friendly, honest, trusted, transparent, and somewhat ‘human’ will prove able to attract enthusiastic CUSTOWNERS.

Also, keep an eye on the US JOBS Act, which will be implemented in January 2013 and for the first time allows non-accredited US investors to buy micro-equity in start-ups. One for other countries to follow suit soon?




ZAOZAO: Social pretailer for fashion lovers

Launched in September 2012, Hong Kong based ZAOZAO bills itself “Your social pretailer”. The new online platform allows fashion designers to post pre-launch products and get funds for production via the site’s community of fashion-loving crowdfunders.

Brikstarter: Helping model and build Kickstarter prototypes

Brikstarter launched in November 2012 alongside the UK edition of Kickstarter. The company offers to help people deliver product-focused Kickstarter projects, producing CAD designs, 3D printing models, making promo videos, and sourcing manufacturers if funded. Project creators must agree to give Brikstarter 10% of initial funds raised plus 10% of the subsequent product revenues.

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Leon Bonds: Interest paid in food vouchers

In July 2012 UK-based healthy fast food franchise Leon created Leon Bonds to raise GBP 1.5 million from its customers (rather than corporate investors), so it could further expand and open new locations. Investors received interest in £eon pounds (store credit).

Fundable: Equity crowdfunding platform

Fundable is a US-based equity crowdfunding platform for start-up companies, aiming to take advantage of the JOBS Act legislation in the US (see above). To date, start-ups on Fundable have offered “rewards”, such as products or experiences, to investors.

Barclaycard Ring: ‘Social’ credit card

And if you’re not ready to give away equity, but do want to reward consumer-stakeholders, then learn from the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard, a 'social' credit card designed and developed through community crowdsourcing. Through a virtual community, members can suggest and vote on decisions that affect how the card is managed and serviced. Members also share in the profit generated.




2. EMERGING²

“Emerging brands from all over are catering to emerging middle classes from all over.”

While the last two decades were about developed markets catering to emerging ones, and emerging markets increasingly catering to developed ones; now get ready for an explosion in products and services from emerging markets for emerging markets.

Think Chinese and Brazilian brands selling to the middle classes in Turkey, India or South Africa. Or vice versa.

On top of that, with these emerging market brands having cut their teeth operating in fast-rising emerging markets and catering to ever-more important emerging middle classes, expect even more of the next global mass market powerhouses to come from emerging markets.

The numbers sure are juicy: in 2013, the GDP of emerging markets will exceed advanced markets for the first time (measured in Purchasing Power Parity terms) to USD 44.1 trillion versus USD 42.7 trillion (Source: IMF, October 2012).

One exercise for anyone (whether you’re in an emerging market or not) with global ambition: ask yourself who are the new power players in your industry? Don’t know where to start? Use our EXCEPTIONALL Trend Briefing to kick off a broader competitive analysis for 2013.




WeChat: Chinese messaging app reaches 200 million users globally

Tencent’s WeChat, the Chinese voice, text and photo messaging service has changed its name from 'Weixin', to have broader global appeal. In September 2012 the service added Hindi support in India, having already added Portuguese (for the Brazilian market) and Indonesian. It recently topped 200 million users worldwide.

Peak Games: 3rd largest social gaming platform

Turkey-based Peak Games is now the third largest social gaming platform worldwide, with 30 million monthly active users across Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. The company saw Q1 2012 revenue increase tenfold compared to Q1 revenue in 2011.

Amazonas Sandals: Brazilian flip flops in China

In October 2012 Brazilian sandals brand Amazonas Sandals announced plans to open a store in Guangzhou, China, in early 2013. Amazonas Sandals source sustainable raw materials from Brazil's native rubber trees, and their sandals are made with 80% recycled material.

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Lenovo: Asian smartphone strategy

In October 2012, Lenovo started selling a range of smartphones in Indonesia, from the high-end K860 with an 8 megapixel camera and 8 GB of memory, down to more affordable smartphones. The manufacturer also announced that it would launch a smartphone for the Indian market by March 2013, looking to build on its position as the second largest smartphone maker in China.

BluePad: Colombian tablet available throughout Latin America

Compumax has launched the first Colombian tablet designed and made in Bogota. The BluePad has a 7-inch screen, runs Android 4.0, and has a 4 GB SSD drive, expandable via Micro SD to 32 GB. The product costs USD 214 – making it the most affordable tablet in the market – and can also be purchased in Venezuela and Ecuador.




3. MOBILE MOMENTS

“Lifestyle multi-if-not-hyper-tasking: why micro-convenience, mini-experiences and digital snacks will rule in 2013.”

For those wondering where ‘mobile’ will head next, one behavioral insight should give you plenty to run with: in 2013, consumers will look to their mobile devices to maximize absolutely every moment. Hectic, urban lifestyles mean that no amount of (micro) time will be too fleeting, or activity too absorbing, to cram in more content, connection, consumption or simply more fun.

All of which means the next 12 months will see an explosion in MOBILE MOMENTS: products, services and experiences that will enable mobile-loving consumers to embrace (seamless) lifestyle multi-if-not-hyper-tasking.

We could offer you a deluge of stats on everything from mobile use to addiction, but we know YOU don’t have the time, either, so we’ll just offer three:

  • A survey of US adult smartphone owners found that 63% of female respondents and 73% of male respondents don’t go an hour without checking their phone (Source: Harris Interactive, June 2012).
  • Cell phone users between 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on an average day, more than 3,200 per month (Source: Pew Research Centre, September 2012).
  • An academic study of Android users’ app-habits revealed that while users spend nearly one hour on their devices a day, the average app session lasted only just over a minute. (Source: DFKI, November 2011)

Wondering how to apply MOBILE MOMENTS? Why not take any of the other trends in this Trend Briefing (or our previous Trend Briefings) and add a lifestyle-maximization, experience cramming, MOBILE MOMENT dimension?

Still struggling? Check out the examples below for inspiration on how to shave seconds, fill moments or create whole new, on-the-go services:  




Projekt Ingeborg: Virtual library in Klagenfurt, Austria

July 2012 saw Klagenfurt unveil Projekt Ingeborg which provides a virtual library through QR code stickers placed around the Austrian city. Though the city does not have a public library, residents can access classic literature via the yellow stickers which have been placed in locations such as bus stops.

Jana: Mobile market research platform for the developing world

Jana enables cell phone users in the developing world to participate in market research surveys via SMS. The service is able to reward participants with free airtime, and as a result of partnering with mobile operators, reaches nearly 3.5 billion people in over 100 countries.

Snapchat: Temporary photo sharing app

Snapchat is an app that enables users to share images that can only be viewed by the recipient for a few seconds before they ‘self-destruct’. The developers announced in October 2012 that the service was processing 20 million images a day.

WeChat: Hyper social features

WeChat the global messaging app mentioned in EMERGING² above, contains a number of features that enable users to chat with random strangers. The 'Remote Shake' feature randomly connects two users who shake their phones at the same time, while 'Drift Bottle' allows users to send a virtual message in a bottle 'out to sea', where it can be collected (and read) by another random user.

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Pogoseat: Maximize your experience

Pogoseat is an app that enables audience members at live sports events to identify and purchase upgrades to better seats via their smartphone. The app identifies empty seats with the best views, and once users have selected their new seats they are able to enter payment details, purchase, and move.

Peapod: QR code 'virtual stores' at US commuter hotspots

Going all out on the ever-spreading QR-surface-retail phenomenon, US-based online grocer Peapod.com announced in October 2012 that it was launching over 100 QR-code based ‘virtual stores’ at train stations in major cities including Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Meanwhile, QR code 'shops' continue to spread. Just one more (of many!): Walmart-owned Mexican supermarket chain Superama has unveiled QR code-enabled kiosks in a selection of shopping centers in Mexico City. Global MOBILE MOMENTS are truly upon us ;-)




4. NEW LIFE INSIDE

“It's time for products that give back.”

Recession or no recession, long term, one of brands' major quests is for more ecologically sustainable activities. So here’s just one small, sign-of-the-times eco-mini-trend for 2013: the phenomenon of products and services that quite literally contain new life inside. Rather than being discarded or even recycled (by someone else), these products can be planted and grown, with all the eco-status and eco-stories that come with that.

Of course, NEW LIFE INSIDE products are not going to solve major sustainability challenges. But more than ever in 2013, there is great symbolic value in creating new, environmentally beneficial life out of a consumer product.

And symbolic, even playful statements of your values will resonate with consumers, too. Especially if they are seen as expressions of larger intent to take more meaningful action.




'To Be Nature' Chopstick: Converts to plant support

Korean designer Gyeongwan Koo created the 'To Be Nature Chopstick' as an environmental alternative to disposable chopsticks. One of each pair of the sticks has a transparent starch cap at the end containing a seed. Once users are finished with the chopsticks the stick with the seed cap can be placed tip-first into soil, where the seed will germinate and grow into a plant. Meanwhile, the second stick can be slotted into the top of the first, providing a support for the seedling to grow alongside.

National Prescribing Service

Sprout: The pencil that wants to be a plant

Sprout is a pencil that wants to be a plant when it grows up. Once the pencil becomes too short to use it can be planted: a seed capsule in the tip of the pencil will dissolve upon contact with water, allowing the seed inside to germinate and grow. The project had successfully raised more than USD 35,000 from over 2,000 supportive PRESUMERS when funding closed in September 2012.

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Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa: Trackable seeds

Chile’s Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa has launched an initiative to give each of its guests a trackable virtual tree seed. Every guest is given a code and can choose where in the relevant protected area they would like their tree to be planted. Once planted, guests receive a geo-referenced Google Maps link to track their tree.

Molson Canadian: Plantable coasters

As part of beer brand Molson Canadian’s Red Leaf Project in reforestation, the brand released coasters made of seed paper, which grow into a tree when planted. Since June 2012, one million of the coasters have been distributed via bars and select crates of beer.




5. APPSCRIPTIONS

“Digital technologies are the new medicine.”

Digital technologies are the new medicine, as doctors and physicians turn to health apps and services to improve health outcomes.

We flagged the rise of DIY HEALTH* last year but increasingly, with over 13,000 health apps in the Apple app store it’s not a case now of finding an app, but finding the BEST one, and – given that this is a health issue – one that is accurate and safe.

So in 2013, expect consumers to turn to the medical profession and medical institutions to certify and curate these products, with doctors also 'prescribing' them, much as they prescribe medicines, as part of a course of treatment. And for health providers, these digital ‘medicines’ promise to reduce costs by making consumers more aware of their health, improve compliance, and allow remote monitoring that can pick up warning signals earlier.

Even if you’re not in the health industry, and think APPSCRIPTIONS isn’t relevant for you, we bet that an hour spent considering the bigger underlying trend – towards mobile driven service delivery – could yield some profitable new insights.  

* DIY HEALTH was about consumers using tech to track, manage, monitor and improve their health. Usually in an informal and self-imposed way.



mRX: App store for healthcare professionals

Happtique (a subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association) is a healthcare app store developed by and for healthcare professionals. In August 2012 Happtique launched a pilot program for an electronic prescription app mRx, which enables medical practitioners to prescribe certified apps to patients, and then track which patients have downloaded prescribed apps and send reminders to those whose apps aren’t downloaded.

Antibiotics Reminder app

In June 2012 the Australian government funded National Prescribing Service launched Antibiotics Reminder. The free smartphone app lets patients set reminders for their prescribed medication, track when they have taken it, and keep a recovery diary to monitor their progress. The app aims to help users take their antibiotics correctly, and so get the best results from their medicine.

Proteus Digital Health: FDA approval for ingestible medicine compliance tracking sensor

In July 2012, the Food & Drug Administration in the US granted Proteus Digital Health pre-market clearance for their ingestible sensor that can monitor whether a patient is taking their medicine. The sensor is activated (and powered) by stomach fluid, and the patient’s physiological data is output to an accompanying smartphone app, that will alert them if a medicine isn’t taken as scheduled.

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6. CELEBRATION NATION

“Flaunting the new ‘it’ cultures.”

In 2013, global cultural capital will continue to be overturned just as dynamically as its financial equivalent. One result? Emerging markets will proudly export and even flaunt their national and cultural heritage in the next 12 months. Symbols, lifestyles and traditions that were previously downplayed if not denied, are being brought up to date, to become a source of pride for domestic consumers, and of interest to global consumers.

In case you're not from one of these CELEBRATION NATIONS, then it's probably time to partner with a hot local brand from an emerging market and bring their flavor to your customers. Or, if you’re already active in one of these markets yourself, reread our MADE FOR CHINA (IF NOT BRIC) trend, and start paying respect to local cultures.




NE-TIGER: Luxury fashion ‘From China, to the World’

China’s first luxury fashion brand NE-TIGER, is renowned for its East-meets-West, ethnically inspired designs. September 2012 saw the company’s founder Zhang Zhifeng give a speech entitled ‘From China, to the World’ before the brand presented its latest haute couture ‘Huafu’ collection in Milan, Italy.

House of Masaba: Pop Art sarees

Mumbai-based luxury fashion designer Masaba Gupta’s House of Masaba has reinvented the traditional Indian sarees with quirky, modern motifs and Pop Art prints that are targeted at young female consumers. Released in Spring 2012, her black-and-white camera print saree has been favored by several Indian celebrities, as have her cow- and animal-print versions. Prices range from INR 8,000 to 10,000.

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Studio Tsimáni: Design that celebrates Mexico

In April 2012 Studio Tsimáni was invited to join the Destination Mexico initiative at the MoMA Design Store in New York. The studio takes inspiration from traditional Mexican culture to develop contemporary furniture and homeware products that embody the people and identity of the country.

tvN: K-Pop Star Hunt

Launched in July 2012, Season Two of tvN’s K-Pop Star Hunt aims to find the next big K-Pop star in Asia. The hunt is being held across eight Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Korean music is of course now a global phenomenon, especially after the smash hit 'Gangnam Style' by PSY (even if he pokes fun at many K-Pop staples ;-).

Sulwhasoo: Traditional Korean beauty takes the US

Beauty insiders have long celebrated Korean beauty products, but expect this to grow further in the coming 12 months. Just one example: in October 2012, shoppers at Neiman Marcus stores in San Francisco could purchase the Korean beauty brand Sulwhasoo. Noted for its distinctive package design reminiscent of classic Korean pottery, its products feature native Korean botanicals and medicinal herbs, including ginseng and white peony root.

Sol de Janeiro: Brazilian inspired beauty

Beauty brand Sol de Janeiro, which celebrates iconic Braziian beach culture, is now being stocked by Sephora in the US. The brand uses traditional local ingredients like green coffee beans (which prevent free radicals from damaging skin cells), and antioxidants from an extract of acai.

Osklen: Luxury modern Brazilian style

Source: amandascoen

Luxury Brazilian fashion house Osklen unveiled its Spring/Summer 2013 collection at New York’s Fashion week for the first time in September 2012. The brand’s founder and creative director said that the style was “Brazilian soul meets Californian dreaming… modern”. Osklen has 62 stores in Brazil, and is available in stores in the US, Japan and Italy, amongst others.




7. DATA MYNING

“Why consumers want ‘good’ data not ‘big’ data.”

If data is the new resource, expect consumers in 2013 to start demanding their share of its value.

To date, the ‘big data’ discussion has focused on the value of customer data to businesses. Now, increasingly savvy consumers will start to reverse the flow: seeking to own and make the most of their lifestyle data, and turning to brands that use this data to proactively offer customers help and advice on how to improve their behavior and/ or save money.

Of course, this is nothing new in the world of entertainment (think film recommendations and re-read our TWINSUMER Trend Briefing from 2005 ;-) but in 2013 expect even 'mundane' industries to start taking consumers' data and making it useful.

A word of warning: brands will have to walk a fine line between offering consumers a valuable (and ideally seamless) service, and freaking them out with aggressive if not downright scary 'services'. Yes, consumers want to feel served to, but they don't like to be watched.




Movenbank: CRED score rewards savers

Movenbank launched in October 2012 with the aim of creating a financial services platform that encourages customers to improve their financial behavior, and rewards them for doing so. The service is based on a user’s CRED score, which is boosted by managing spending and saving, as well as by 'social influence'. Customers with higher CRED scores can benefit from reduced fees and access additional products.

Cignifi: Credit scores from mobile usage data

Cignifi is a US firm that has developed analytics technology which uses mobile usage patterns – calls, messages and top-ups – to assess someone’s lifestyle and subsequent credit risk profile. The service recently completed a pilot in Brazil, and is now targeting the 100 million people that make up Brazil’s emerging middle class; who currently have limited access to financial services products due to their lack of traditional credit data.

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Kroger: Personalized supermarket discounts

August 2012 saw US-based supermarket chain Kroger introduce a personalized discounts scheme, generating coupons based on shoppers’ loyalty card usage data. Kroger said that 70% of shoppers who received personalized coupons redeemed at least one of them.

Opower: Social app creates energy usage competition

Launched in April 2012, the Opower energy app is the result of a collaboration between Facebook, the Natural Resources Defense Council, energy information software maker Opower and 16 US based utility companies. Users can connect their energy account to the app, and see visualizations of their energy usage throughout the month. They are able to compare their usage to that of friends and other households in the US, and engage in competitions to reduce household energy waste.



8. AGAIN MADE HERE

“Local manufacturing is the new Service Economy.”

In 2013, manufacturing is coming home, that is, if ‘home’ is a mature market.

Driving this trend: the perfect storm of consumers’ ever-greater NEWISM, the expectation of getting just the right product (and NOW!), eco-concerns and the desire for more interesting STATUS STORIES, all combined with the spread of new local manufacturing technologies such as 3D-printing and make-on-demand.

And of course, consumer embrace of AGAIN MADE HERE will be welcome news for executives concerned by rising labor costs in China, long lead times and fragile global supply chains.

Just one stat to kick-start the discussion:  

  • Four out of five US shoppers (76%) notice "Made in the USA" claims and labels, and are more likely to purchase that product (Source: Perception Research, July 2012).

Observant readers will have by now noted how PRESUMERS and AGAIN MADE HERE will feed off each other in the coming months. Get ready, as the reshaping of the mechanics and business models of manufacturing will make ‘local’ in 2013 about much more than just artisan food and craft ;-)




Shapeways : Factory of the Future opened in Long Island City, New York

Source: NYCMayorsOffice

In October 2012, leading 3D printing platform Shapeways – which provides 3D printing services to its community of designers and PRESUMERS – opened its Factory of the Future in Long Island City, New York. The 25,000 square foot site will host 30 to 50 3D printers, and will have capacity to print 3 to 5 million objects annually.

Tesla Model S: Made in California

June 2012 saw the first deliveries of the Tesla Model S, manufactured in Fremont, California. The car is powered by a lithium-ion battery and has a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds, providing a high performance sports driving experience. The Model S also has a touchscreen dashboard with wireless Internet access (which can be synced with various smartphones), allowing users to control systems such as navigation, music and temperature.

Hiut Denim: “Our town is making jeans again”

September 2012 saw Hiut Denim release their first batch of jeans from their factory in Cardigan, Wales. The UK start-up aims to bring work back to the town, which lost its major employer when the previous jeans factory was closed nearly a decade ago. The jeans also come with a ‘History Tag’ app, which enables customers to see images from throughout the jeans’ manufacturing.

Véloscoot: Moving production back to La Rochelle

In March 2012, French electric bicycle company Véloscoot moved production from China back to La Rochelle, France. Véloscoot say they will now manufacture the first “Made in France” electric bicycle, and aim to become more competitive by being closer to their primary market.

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Google Nexus Q: Designed and made in the US

In June 2012, Google unveiled the Nexus Q home media-streaming entertainment player, and the wireless system is laser-etched with "Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A.". The Nexus Q's metal base is made in the Midwest, moulded plastic components are manufactured in California, and the device is then assembled a short distance from Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.




9. FULL FRONTAL

“Not just transparent, but naked and proud ;-)”

So what’s next for the mega-trend of transparency? Brands must move from ‘having nothing to hide’, to pro-actively showing and proving they have nothing to hide, and go beyond uttering lofty statements on 'values' or 'culture' to real, unambiguous and clear evidence, or statements about actual results.

No, not all consumers will be this demanding, but as total transparency becomes a hygiene factor, even those that aren’t will expect brands to prove their ethical and environmental credentials to those that do care.

Some stats:

  • The percentage of global consumers who trust business to do what is right fell from 56% in 2011 to 53% in 2012 (Source: Edelman, January 2012).
  • The proportion of people saying brands making a notable positive contribution to their lives is around 8% in European markets, and 5% in the US. Interestingly, the comparable figures in in China and Latin America are 57% and 30% respectively (Source: Havas, February 2012).
  • 69% of US consumers said they are more likely to buy from a brand that talks publicly about its CSR results, versus the 31% who would purchase from a brand that talks about its CSR mission and purpose (Source: Cone Communications, October 2012).
  • Only 44% of Americans trust companies’ green claims (Source: Cone Inc., March 2012).

While the bulk of the examples below might be food-related, the takeaway is clear... Only brands that have the utmost confidence in their product (and themselves) will be able to go FULL FRONTAL*.


If you’re wondering what will your customers say if you go FULL FRONTAL, the real question for 2013 will be what they will think if you don’t?

* For those that find this scary, then re-reading our FLAWSOME Trend Briefing should help convince you that it won’t be the end of the world if things aren’t perfect. It’s the intent that matters.




McDonald’s: Calorie information on menus

September 2012 saw McDonald’s begin publishing calorie information on all its restaurant menus and drive-thru windows in the US, while the company also began promoting its ‘Favorites Under 400 Calories’ menu, which includes lighter dishes such as the Filet-O-Fish sandwich and the Egg McMuffin.

Natura: Socio-environmental targets and failures revealed in annual report

Eco-friendly Brazilian cosmetics brand Natura provides a comprehensive list of all of its socio-environmental targets in its annual report. End of last year, targets such as water consumption, employee training time and reducing solid waste were labeled as ‘Not Achieved’, and followed by an adjusted target for 2012.

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Yi Mu Tian: Chinese organic farm

Mindful of Chinese consumers’ concerns over food safetly, organic farm Yi Mu Tian uses digital food tracking system. The high-tech farm, which uses computers for temperature regulation, lighting and watering, operates a Traceability Code System that allows consumers to track any food item back to the field in which it was grown. Customers can also track the growth of vegetables by camera. As of October 2012, the farm had fulfilled home delivery orders to over 60,000 families in Shanghai.

Kimitachi: Sushi monitoring via webcam

In September 2012, Japanese restaurant Kimitachi opened a franchise in Curitiba, Brazil after a successful pilot in Florianópolis. Customers ordering takeout can follow their food preparation via a video system installed in the restaurant’s kitchen. Kimitachi created the system to “humanize sushi delivery” and give consumers more transparency on the dish preparation.




10. DEMANDING BRANDS

“Brands’ wishes will be consumers’ command.”

Expect to witness a daring change in the relationship between ambitious, responsible brands and their customers in 2013. Switched-on brands that are embarking on the much-needed journey towards a more sustainable and socially-responsible future will demand that their customers also contribute, and in doing so earn the respect of even the most hyper-demanding of consumers.

But consumers aren’t going to put themselves out for brands unless they truly believe in the bigger vision. So, in positioning yourself as a DEMANDING BRAND, make sure you’re 100% transparent and sincere. Otherwise, it’s time to stick to being a SERVILE BRAND ;-)

One more thought for DEMANDING BRANDS in 2013: it’s one thing being temporarily demanding as a stunt to grab consumers’ attention, but quite another to make meaningful demands on an ongoing basis. Hey, no one said it was going to be easy.

Here are just two blood donation-related examples to get you thinking, but keep an eye out for a dedicated, full Trend Briefing on DEMANDING BRANDS in Q1 of 2013.




Vitoria: Give blood to restore football kit colors

To promote its charitable blood donation campaign, Brazilian soccer club Vitoria unveiled new player uniforms in July 2012. Although the team’s shirts are usually red and black, the soccer uniform was released in white and black stripes, with fans all over Brazil encouraged to donate blood to restore the shirts to their regular colors. Over the 2012/2013 soccer season the four white stripes will return to red one at a time, as the Brazilian blood bank achieves key blood donation target levels.

Tata Docomo: The Bloodline Club

On a related note: Tata Docomo now runs 'The Bloodline Club', a blood donor social network to participants from around the world. Upon registering, users give their blood type. In an emergency, members contact Tata Docomo on Facebook and the brand will send the appeal to suitable members.

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Don't forget...

Liaoning 16, China’s first aircraft carrier

Like all the best words, the word ‘trend’ is multifaceted ;-) For some, it means the Autumn/Winter collection 2015. For others, it means the rising cost of energy in developed markets. So we should point out that:

  • Our obsession is consumer trends.
  • Yes, we track the big-picture, macro-trends, too. But that’s to inform our investigation of global consumers: we don’t publish our thinking on the macro picture. For more on that, there’s lots out there. Try McKinsey’s Global Institute, Global Trends, and The Economist.
  • Consumer trends aren’t like the seasons: they don’t play out neatly across calendar years. They emerge via the cross-pollination, re-combination, meeting-and-matching of existing and new consumer behaviors and innovations, and once they’ve emerged they constantly evolve.
  • That means there is overlap between trends we’ve identified here in this list and other trends we’ve tracked throughout the last 12 months and yes, even before, from SERVILE BRANDS to EXCEPTIONALL.
  • This free Trend Briefing identifies 10 trends that we believe need to be on your radar for 2013. But it’s only a selection of the consumer trends that will shape the coming 12 months. If you’re hungry for more, dive into the ocean of online trend content. Or check out Trend 11 ;-)
  • None of these trends will be relevant to all consumers. Human beings are far too complex for that. When thinking about which trends are right for you, think about how you might apply them.

Which leads to the most important point… Trend watching is all about applying.
If you don’t use consumer trends to inspire new, profitable innovations, they’re just “nice to know”. So take action, apply these trends, and increase your revenues in 2013, whether you're a for- or not-for profit organization!

Apply

If you’re a regular at trendwatching.com, you’ll be familiar with our four ways to apply consumer trends. When analyzing what a trend means for your business, constantly ask yourself if and how they can:

  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. Feed into your campaigns and marketing, and help you speak the language of those consumers already 'living' a trend.

Good luck!

FINALLY…

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Aren’t you glad applying trends doesn’t have to be like this? ;-)




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