Benchmarking Your Trend Strategy: Zigging when others zag


Benchmarking Your Trend Strategy: Zigging when others zag

The global ad agency BBH famously prides itself on zigging when others zag and pursuing a strategy of brand differentiation for clients, hence its iconic black sheep mascot. At TrendWatching we’ve (somewhat) involuntarily created a tool that provides brands with a clear view of opportunities for zigging.

Late in 2015, we launched a data-driven tool for our Premium clients that showed them a heatmap of which mega-trends clients in 15 B2C industries were focusing on.

We have 16 mega-trends with over 140 sub-trends that we track in our Innovation Database. It’s a lot to take in, particularly for new users. So our primary motivation for building Industry Heatmaps was to help clients decide which mega-trends they should explore. Offering a way to tap into the wisdom and focus of peers in their industry was a clear win.

Yet the first instinct when using the tool (look for the most popular 1-3 trends and then center further research on them) isn’t the only opportunity. Users can take the opposite approach. They can zig where peers have zagged. They can look out for the 1-3 most over-looked mega-trends in their sector. If their competitors aren’t focusing on those areas, perhaps they have the a real opportunity to surprise and delight consumers. They can lead the way for their industry.

The CMO of a beauty client could open up the Industry Heatmap and see that, unsurprisingly, BETTERMENT (the universal quest for self-improvement), HUMAN BRANDS (the growing desire for ‘human’ businesses), and STATUS SEEKERS (the ever-evolving pursuit of status) are key areas of focus among the other users from their sector. They could pat themselves on the back for already having these three mega-trends covered in their brand’s marketing strategy for 2016 and feel secure knowing they’re on the same page as the competition.

Zigging when others zag

Or, they could look at that tiny trend in the bottom right of the map. That’s PLAYSUMERS. It’s our mega-trend that captures all the innovative ways that brands around the world, across consumer-facing industries, are injecting fun into their marketing, products, services and experiences. Whether it's a supermarket letting visitors ‘shop like a Jedi’ or a cognac brand creating a film that will be locked away for 100 years - there is plenty of expectation-raising opportunity within this mega-trend.

The CMO could ask “Why must beauty brands take themselves so seriously? Could we reach new customers and delight current ones by lightening-up and bringing play into their lives?”.

Having discovered this opportunity, there are many ways the CMO might proceed. But let’s imagine they’re as obsessed with our methodology and process as we are ;) The next step would be to call a meeting of the marketing department. They could present 15 examples of PLAYSUMERS initiatives from other sectors pulled from our Innovations Database, before instruction teams to breakout and use the Consumer Trend Canvas to come up with their own playful marketing solutions. They could bring one (or more!) of the ideas from that session to market. They could create new expectations in their industry rather than chase those set by their peers.

By reading our Industry Heatmap ‘upside down’, so to speak, a brand might profit from bringing a little dose of joy into their customers’ lives. This tool can, therefore, become a key asset in the long term strategy of zigging when others zag.

The Industry HeatMaps are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our Premium Service. Find out more about the world's number one Trend Intelligence platform, and how it can help your organization develop your next game-changing brand, product or marketing strategy here