Working with Trend-Driven Innovation in a Latin American country, right after an earthquake – the Ecuador diaries

Featured image source: The Independent 

As our Lead Trend Strategist for South & Central America, Luciana Stein works with some of the most forward-thinking organizations in the region. Just before a recent trip to Ecuador, however, catastrophe struck – an earthquake registering 6.1 on the Richter Scale. Here, Luciana describes her consistent appreciation for the commitment to Trend-Driven Innovation in the country (whose population is smaller than the metropolitan area of Sao Paolo), even in the aftermath of such a devastating disaster. 

Ecuador-2

Recentemente a TrendWatching SCA visitou Guayaquil para ajudar um banco e um grupo de empresas de comunicação a identificarem e adaptarem tendências de consumo à sua região.

Guayaquil é a segunda cidade mais importante do Equador – país com população total menor do que a da região metropolitana de São Paulo – e com um cenário criativo e de negócios crescente em importância na região. No fim de 2016, um dos nossos clientes, a Insights, realizará um super evento que trará alguns dos nomes mais importantes da inovação mundial como Jessica Walsh e Cindy Galop – veja REINVENTION.

É surpreendente encontrar tanto em um pais tão pequeno – e que passou por um terremoto em abril de 2016. No entanto, se você ê um pesquisador de tendências ou um designer, àvido por tropeçar em inovações vindas das marcas quando viaja, é importante receitar certa paciência. Em geral você tem de procurar mais atrás de inovações de produtos e serviços na América Latina – as inovações nāo caem no seu colo como quando viaja mais para o norte do mundo. 

E a direção do seu olhar investigativo talvez tenha de ser outra para encontrar muitas inovações no continente. A inovação na América Latina está frequentemente no comportamento dos latino-americanos que se adiantam às marcas naquilo que eles precisam do mercado de consumo. Na América Latina, alguns consumidores são mais ágeis do que muitas empresas. Eles estão constantemente hackeando produtos e serviços – veja o exemplo do taxista que trocou o estofado do carro por uma cadeira de praia para driblar o calor equatoriano em um automóvel sem ar condicionado. Pode parecer apenas um exemplo isolado, mas ele contem uma cultura – e os taxistas são fundamentais para ajudar você a decifrá-la (em todas as cidades do mundo, creio)

Beach-chair-driver

Em Guayaquil, esqueça os taxímetros dos taxis. Eles estão ali, mas não funcionam. No taxi, é frequente encontrar um “botón de pânico” do lado do motorista – para proteger contra a violência urbana. Não sabemos se os passageiros estão também protegidos e pelo o que averiguamos, na maioria das vezes pagamos um ou dois dólares a mais por um percurso. Mas os taxistas são os guias espirituais de todo o pesquisador de culturas, então vale a pena. Em Guayaquil, taxistas podem perguntar o que você comeu em um tal restaurante e dividem com você o que eles gostam de fazer no fim de semana.

red-button

Como muitas outras cidades Latinoamericanas, a cidade parece um povoado tranquilo com vegetação farta – mas tudo impressão idealizada de brasileiro. Quando você viaja pela America Latina, você se dá conta que muitas vezes o Brasil e os brasileiros agem e pensam como se fosse os Estados Unidos diante da América Latina.

Guayaquil não é tranquila, é intensa. O público das nossas sessões no Equador foi uma galera cativante, participativa que transformou uma sessão de 2 horas de tendências em uma apresentação de 4 horas. Quem esteve presente nessas sessões escutou ativamente  complementando as tendências da TrendWatching com expressões de consumo locais.

Ecuador-3

”E, as inovações dos participantes a partir das tendências de consumo fluíram?”

Ao trabalharmos com as ferramentas Consumer Trend Radar e Consumer Trend Canvas, as ideias afloraram e elas eram reveladoras sobre o quanto ainda podemos fazer (com ou sem a ajuda da tecnologia) para melhor a vida dos consumidores latino-americanos. Assim, talvez consigamos ser mais ágeis e inovar tanto quanto os taxistas de Guayaquil.

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Through our content and tools, Trendwatching continues to offer professionals in more than 180 countries better predictions for the future and the best inspiration to innovate based on trends.

In 2015, we gave 79 presentations, 32 workshops and five innovation Trends Safaris in more than 30 countries! Our conversations and events “live” full of inspiration sessions provide a high level analysis to update your team in the main consumer trends.

Not only comprehensive, but also location, showing examples and innovations in the industry. Definitely the best tool to broaden horizons and apply successfully trends. Learn more at trendwatching.com/live

Michelin-star street food and queueing up for Kanye: Singapore's workforce is changing. But how?

Image sources in order of appearance: LaborMe, The Malay Mail.

Following on from our recent look at the development of NEW LABOR – our consumer trend exploring the new demands of a disrupted workforce – we hand over the reins to Dennis Rotairo, a FMCG expert (and esteemed member of TrendWatching’s Insight Network) based in Singapore. From the advent of P2P to celebrity-endorsed initiatives focusing on a new type of worker, he unpacks the changing landscape of the city-state. Dive in!

Singapore, being a small nation with booming businesses and low population depends on a high ratio of foreign workers and technology. In 2014 we saw the start of a foreign manpower curb in the country, which paved the way for reliance on technology and automating business processes. Customer satisfaction was at risk. Long checkout queues, unattended customers, poor merchandising were just some of the qualms in the retail and F&B field.

Despite of the staffing crunch, consumer demands are ever increasing in this vibrant nation. With high mobile connectivity, Singapore is turning the page, from the being relatively dependent on permanent staffing to run business operations into one-click-away freelance solutions. The Peer-to-Peer (P2P) era began. The playing field is pretty colourful with FoodPanda and Deliveroo in food delivery; Uber and Grab in transportation; and Honest Bee in grocery shopping, changing the game and upping the ante.

LaborMe - NEW LABOR

In April 2016, Singapore came up with its own P2P brand, LaborMe. A homegrown label and described as the brainchild of two visionary Singaporeans, LaborMe wishes to become the smartest, fastest way to get instant help. This P2P app that offers concierge service is dubbed as the smart solution for businesses or individuals who are facing manpower or time constraints. From manual tasks and couriers jobs, to helping celebrate durian season with a tropical fruit delivery services, to waiting in line for clients at Kanye West’s Pop Up, it seems any job can be requested, offered and accepted all via the single app.

TLOP - NEW LABOR

The demand for the service rose just very recently when Michelin Singapore Guide awarded 1-star rating to popular hawker style restaurants. These hot-spot eating-places are small-scale and are not providing delivery services. Not even local food delivery apps covers them. For one to get a bowl of famous noodle, you have to endure a queue that lasts for an hour to three. This is where the next level of P2P business shows its strength by catering to all eventualities; from supplying someone to wait in line, collect food or even just supplying information on business hours. This is just one signal that people are willing to pay premium in exchange of the time and resources lost in the process of physically getting to the hawker-style restaurants.

Some famous brands and personalities have also turned to LaborMe. The app boasts delivery of thousands of cheese tarts from a well-known local manufacturer and hundreds of meals from Michelin-starred restaurants, doing furniture assembly for a local celebrity disk jockey and many more.

What transpires in these innovations? By looking closely to clients’ comfort and discomfort zones, businesses can craft a top-of-the-line approach towards quality products and services using the available resources (even how scarce those are).

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TrendWatching’s Insight Network, tw:in, is a global community of marketing and business-savvy spotters. Think you’ve got what it takes to become part of the trend revolution? Apply to join today.

Travelling from the tips of your fingers: Pockettour's battle to turn Ukraine's conservative market against traditionalism

Pockettour, a travel agency founded in Ukraine, are the first in the industry to run their booking operations entirely through messaging app Viber. After appearing in our GLOBAL BRAIN briefing as a prime example of our ALL-ON MESSAGING trend – exploring how messaging apps are becoming feature-packed controls for everyday life – we managed to catch up with Alexandr Dovgopol, the company’s owner and CEO, to discuss developing such an innovative concept in a climate as conservative as Ukraine’s. 

Alex-Pockettour

What was the inspiration behind Pockettour?

We were inspired by a wish to make the booking process easier and more comfortable than it was before. We noticed that from one side, people are less interested in visiting traditional travel agencies and from another side, well – no-one likes complicated booking forms that you can see on any online booking page. Pockettour’s story is about simplicity and comfort.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced while both developing the idea and establishing yourselves within the market?

Ukraine is still very conservative country when it comes to e-commerce, especially when we talk about online payments. The most difficult thing is to convince people that payments through Pockettour are absolutely safe.

What is your top tip to other professionals who seek to better understand, and stay ahead of, consumers’ changing expectations?

I think that the most important is keeping in touch with your clients. More often you don’t need to invent anything – you just need to listen carefully.

What was your favorite recent innovation and why?

Without doubt, it’s the launching of unmanned taxi services in Singapore! Technologies completely change lives and consumer behavior. I’m going to Singapore a month later and definitely I’ll take a ride!

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Our free Trend Briefings are published monthly, featuring the latest innovation opportunities and most exciting new trends set to shape the next 12 months (and beyond!). To get them sent straight to your inbox as they are released, you can subscribe here.

Ahead of our Amsterdam Trend Event, we posed a crucial question to the city's inhabitants: Can big Dutch brands be redeemed?

Image sources in order of appearance: Citinerary, EUtweets, Fairphone, The Post

This month, TrendWatching is partnering with Citinerary, an international network of passionate citizens who observe and share, how we live, how a city functions and how it continues to evolve. This blog series is part of the upcoming TrendWatching Global Trend Event series landing in Amsterdam on November 23rd. Mio van der Mei, an Amsterdam-based Citinerary correspondent, explains how big and local brands redeem themselves or the industries they’re operating in, and the impact it has on the city and its local communities.

Citinerary

‘Corporate’ is often used as a dirty word, tainted with connotations of pollution, exploitation, of risking people’s health for the sake of profit. Amsterdam is home to many major multinationals that have been criticized for one (or more) of these practices at some point in the past. But, as a city, Amsterdam has great ambitions to become a green metropole and embrace the circular economy, and is keen to become an attractive location for sustainable companies to set up shop.

Brands are helping people to help others

Not only is the government pushing for a greener and more prosocial corporate climate, citizens in Amsterdam want brands to go beyond conventional CSR. Mark Woerde, co-founder of award-winning Amsterdam-based advertising agency Lemz, conducted a global study that showcased how people are waiting for brands to help them help others. Woerde is helping businesses to transition into prosocial brands, and believes big brands could win Nobel prizes in the near future. His research became a bestselling book called ‘How advertising will heal the world and your business’. This city in particular, has the people, the expertize, the creativity, and the wherewithal to make the transition to sustainability and ethicality.

Take G-star for example, a company that was criticized for human exploitation back in 2007. The brand has since signed an agreement ensuring the safety of factory workers. But G-star truly redeemed itself two years ago with its ‘RAW for the oceans’ line, produced in collaboration with Pharrell Williams. It’s a sustainable jeans collection made from recycled plastic soup. G-star used over ten tons of ocean plastic to produce its first RAW line meaning that simply by purchasing a pair of jeans, people could help to keep the oceans clean.

Although a brand like G-star is from Amsterdam, it has little direct impact on the local communities within the city. So who are the ‘big brands’ in Amsterdam?

EUtweets

The societal meaning of the rise of startups

As mentioned above, the capital city of Holland is home to countless corporate brands, but it’s also home to hundreds of innovative startups. Despite being a relatively small city, with a population of just 800,000, Amsterdam is well on its way of becoming the startup city of Europe and was named ‘startup hub to watch’ in 2014 by Inc.com.

The difference between regular corporate brands and startups? Startups can have an idea today, process it tomorrow and have the result the day after; whereas corporate brands often consider ideas internally for relatively long periods. Startups have the ability to make positive changes now. According to serial entrepreneur and founder of Rockstart, Oscar Kneppers: “it’s easier to start your own company and change the world than to exercise influence from within the government.” Many startups in Amsterdam rely on their communities, and the customers’ inclusiveness is key.

Fairphone-1

Take Fairphonefor example: an ethical and sustainable smartphone brand that’s been made possible through crowdfunding. They are offering a solution to consumers who don’t want to buy products that are manufactured through exploitation and child labor, and sourced from conflict minerals (as 99% of electronic companies do). Fairphone integrates materials in the supply chain and supports local economies. They invest in factory workers’ wellbeing, safe working conditions, and pay fair wages. Fairphone was established in 2012 and is delivering 150,000 smartphones this year. The backers of Fairphone have a sense of ownership by fighting the often unethical and unsustainable electronic industry by purchasing a counter-product. Fairphone has an engaged online community, including many young successful city dwellers.    

Then you also have Moyee Coffee, the world’s first Fair Chain brand, superseding Fair Trade. Coffee farmers earn very little money from their beans alone. Coffee beans increase 99% in value once they are processed and roasted in the West. Moyee Coffee is tackling this economical disproportion by roasting the beans in their country of origin and equally sharing the added value of the beans amongst the local communities. Buyers are aware that they’re joining Moyee’s Fair Chain revolution with every purchase they make, and feel like they contribute to a fairer world.

Although there are many more examples that I could elaborate on, I will leave you with a short list of startups that already are, or are still on their way to becoming, the new big brands in this city:

Tony Chocolonely, the only chocolate available that’s 100% slave free (and whose Marketing Manager, Pascal van Ham, will be featuring on the ‘Do Brands Have a Future?’ panel at TrendWatching’s Amsterdam event – editor ;)

Vandebron-1

Vandebron, who offer wind, water, sun or bio energy, directly sourced from local farmers.

Roetz-bikes, durable designer bicycles made from recycled discarded bike parts. Around 1000,000 bikes are thrown away each year in the Netherlands.

The new big brands

You could say that startups are the new big brands in Amsterdam; they contribute to a sharing- and circular economy, but also help people to help shape a better world. Startups are redeeming certain industries by being the solution themselves.

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TrendWatching’s 2016 Consumer Trend Events head to Singapore (27 Oct), Sydney (3 Nov), Chicago (10 Nov), London(16 Nov) and Amsterdam (23 Nov). Ready to unlock and experience the trends set to shape 2017 (and beyond)? Find out more here.

Introducing the 'Era of Empowerment': The evolution of a new workforce

The proliferation of on-demand services, the post-demographic appeal of the wantrepreneur lifestyle, and the automation of jobs are transforming expectations around work. In this edition of our tw:in Twin series – where we pair two members from our worldwide Insight Network to explore how a certain trend is manifesting in different locales – we look at France and Singapore to see how brands and workers are responding to this new freedom being part of this new labor force brings.

For part one we turn to Soraya Ferahtia, a student in France, who looks at this new workforce’s evolution in her local region through the eyes of the ‘intrapreneur’.

The advent of the digital age disrupted our way of seeing the world and ourselves.

We live in a globalized world where we could feel lost. But we do not. Because, the other part of the globe is two clicks away from us: Google maps, Forbes and Wikipédia, make me aware of what is happening in the other side of the planet.

Our era is the era of the awareness of the world, but also the era of empowerment: I am only 24 year old but I am able to yell out powerfully: Twitter, Facebook, Change.org allow me to express myself, to find my place in this world, and become a player of it.

Major companies do not really understand these new ways of thinking the world. 80% of French student are looking for companies which suit them in terms of values: new generations want to understand why they are doing what they are asked to do and how useful their company is to the world.

Freelance - Paris

That is, we want to reconnect with our work because our awareness of the world is so important that it is unbearable not to understand how our day-job make us be part of it.

Often, companies do not offer these answers.

In 2015 in the US, the number of freelance was growing more than two times faster than the number of employees. It suggests that people want to be able to express themselves at work as they do in their private life: they want to express their full-potential, to be independent enough not to let a job description limit their creative intelligence.

Impact ‘intrapreneurs’ are drawing the way for major companies. Intrapreneurs chose to reconnect with their purpose, to bring to work who they are as human beings, by working with their guts on projects that really matter to them.

I met an intrapreneur who works for Leroy Merlin, a major furniture company, where he implemented a solution for the brand to give to people in need furniture that can not be sold in the Leroy Merlin’s stores. He convinced his leadership to adopt this new model by proving to them, that after tax-reduction, this solution is more profitable for the company than selling the products to discount stores.

Rio+Rio

I also met Taciana, who founded Rio+Rio, a startup within NBS, a communication agency. Rio+Rio allows companies to create a dialogue with favela communities by serving the interests of these communities. Recently, it enables girls living in favelas to celebrate their birthday like real princesses, by organizing these amazing birthday with three groups of people that usually do not communicate: a cosmetic brand, police officers and these young girls’ mothers.

Companies should embrace impact intrapreneurship because it is a wise way to start adapting to the evolution of society. It will allow them to attract and retain the best talents by becoming companies where one can find purpose and express themselves.

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TrendWatching’s Insight Network, tw:in, is a global community of marketing and business-savvy spotters. Think you’ve got what it takes to become part of the trend revolution? Apply to join today.

Do we still have time to talk about the Olympics?

The Olympic Games are a special kind of phenomenon. Combine this with the vibrancy of Brazilian culture and you have a potent mix of atmosphere and exhilaration—all set against a backdrop of political tension and trepidation. But how did brands in Brazil capitalize on the world’s biggest sporting roadshow? Luciana Stein, our Lead Trend Strategist in the SCA region, explores.

Ainda dá tempo pra falar das Olimpíadas?

Em meio, às vezes vibrante/às vezes suave festa de encerramento da Rio 2016, muitos brasileiros talvez tenham pensado: “vaidizê,  eita energia coletiva e entusiasmo. Nessa hora, os gringos devem estar comprando passagem pro Carnaval aqui e desejando ser um pouco como a gente” (sim, eu pensei isso). 

No entanto, não foi apenas uma Olimpíada com muita energia humana, garra e boa vontade (o que o Galvão Bueno provavelmente diria). A qualidade dos eventos e das ações inovadoras das marcas durante os jogos tiveram um upgrade em relação aos da Copa, há 2 anos.

Uma das ações mais impactantes em termos de inovação foi a da Samsung ao levar a experiência dos Jogos Olímpicos aos brasileiros das regiões mais distantes do país usando a Realidade Virtual (pense em uma tribo indígena e os pescadores de uma ilha usando os óculos de RV). #Vale ver esse vídeo. A tecnologia criando emoção ainda vai render muitas campanhas às empresas que desejam engajar os consumidores por aqui e será uma chave para destravar essa tecnologia emergente – o video da Samsung tem cerca 100 mil visualizações (nota: a TrendWatching tratou bem disso em VIRTUAL ACTUALIZATION.)

Esse conteúdo da Samsung em RV chamado #DesafieBarreiras estava disponível também no espaço da marca no Boulevard Olímpico. Talvez o próximo passo da Samsung seja usar a RV para fazer o caminho inverso, nos levar pra dentro de uma tribo indígena e para uma ilha de pescadores e assim nos remover um pouco da nossa rotina descontrolada

Os espelhos giratórios na Skol Live House, no Boulevard, que pulsavam de acordo com o agito da festa Olímpica também são outro recurso para potencializar as experiências dos consumidores com a tecnologia. Em pouco tempo, os consumidores brasileiros esperarão que experiências imersivas deste tipo sejam mais frequentes em diferentes indústrias. Não importa o que a sua marca vende, existem maneiras muito mais envolventes hoje de estimular a interação do público (como fez a Skol) e explorar a potencialidades do seu produto (como fez a  Samsung).

A tecnologia é aliada e se você aprender a lidar com ela (ao invés de temê-la) e aplicar a RV será um dos caminhos para ajudar as marcas serem experienciadas, vividas pelo consumidor – antes de serem compradas. 

Há anos o mercado nos promete uma sociedade sem dinheiro – CASHLESS, mas a Visa de fato avançou essa conversa quando colocou em prática um belo exemplo de wearable technology ao apresentar pulseiras, relógios e anéis que permitem realizar pagamentos durante os Jogos. Em parceria com o Uber Pool, a marca do setor financeiro deu um toque lúdico às caronas compartilhadas.

Visa Payment Innovation Showcase with Ibtihaj Muhammad

Já a Magazine Luiza flexibilizou os preços toda vez que os atletas brasileiros ganharam alguma medalha de ouro (DYNAMIC DEALS anyone?).

E a Nike? Mais do que o esporte, a comunicou algo que até os que não gostam de esporte entendem: a liberdade (veja a campanha Unlimted aqui) e ao abrir o jogo provavelmente conquistou novos fãs.

A Rio 2016 pode não ter chegado a todos os brasileiros (a maioria do público veio dos estados do RJ, SP, BA e DF), mas muitas marcas que criaram a partir das Olimpíadas estenderam suas ações para todo o público e muitas dessas ações eram exemplos de tendências que tratamos na TrendWatching. Isso nos mostra não apenas que as tendências tem longa duração (exemplos delas seguem pipocando), mas que o esporte se tornou uma plataforma de comunicação com os consumidores e que cada vez mais essa plataforma se alinha com o seu tempo/com as tendências de consumo.

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Através do nosso conteúdo e ferramentas , Trendwatching continua a oferecer aos profissionais em mais de 180 países melhores previsões para o futuro e a melhor inspiração para inovar com base em tendências.

Em 2015 , demos 79 apresentações, 32 workshops e Tendências de inovação cinco Safaris em mais de 30 países! Nossas conversas e eventos “ao vivo” cheia de sessões de inspiração fornecer um alto nível de análise para atualizar sua equipe nas principais tendências de consumo.

Não só abordagem global, mas também local, demonstrando exemplos e inovações da indústria. Definitivamente a melhor ferramenta para alargar os horizontes e aplicar as tendências com sucesso. Saiba mais em trendwatching.com/live

Trends Go Social: Key social trends for now, next and new ideas

This is the first in a four-part series of blog posts where, each week, we’ll be sharing two of the 16 mega-trends that form part of our broader Trend Framework. These are the big, slow-moving currents in the consumer arena that, taken together, form our complete picture of consumerism today and where it’s heading.

With the help of our friends at We Are Social, we’ll be mapping the most actionable mega-trends against the KEY social trends of the moment – demonstrating how they translate across industries, channels and regions.

What is a Trend Framework and why do I need one?

To develop truly relevant, meaningful (and successful!) innovations, you need to understand the bigger picture. Enter the Trend Framework – an insanely comprehensive (and actionable) overview of the the 16 mega-trends we track.

Ready to explore? Read on!

STATUS SEEKERS

STATUS SEEKERS: What, why and what next

STATUS SEEKERS is a way of describing the relentless, often subconscious, ever-present force that underpins almost all consumer behavior – the deep and universal human need for status and recognition.

In consumer societies, people traditionally derive much of their social status through the goods, services and experiences they collect and share. And with so many choices available in modern economies, consuming is as much a statement about who I am as what I have.

As status becomes more diverse, and traditional status symbols such as cars, houses and designer handbags lose their allure, status is accrued through knowledge, skills, expertise, connections and more. And the most important facet of the post-material statusphere? The ability to tell and share ever-more interesting stories on social platforms.

The We Are Social perspective

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all encourage self promotion. But Instagram is arguably the natural home of the status seekers. It’s where you’ll find the Rich Kids flaunting their wares, and actual fashions for selfie poses ranging from T-Rex hands to the duck face and the fish gape. It’s where people post filtered, perfect shots of beaches, dinners, drinks and sunsets. In short, it’s the go-to platform to create instant FOMO.

Rich Kids of Instagram

But despite the undeniable popularity of Instagram for posing, more private platforms like Snapchat are growing rapidly in popularity, thanks to their sense of humour and private sharing options. Users can share silly, unfiltered, unposed photos of themselves for select groups of people and what’s more, they disappear after a set about of time. Snapchat is becoming a force to be reckoned with, attracting major investment from some of the world’s biggest brands.

Instagram has been attempting – sometimes shamelessly – to steal back users’ time from Snapchat For example with its new Stories feature which offers expiring images. What is certain is that a more playful trend is emerging for social posing, one that is not rooted in depicting a polished and perfect existence. The meteoric success of musical.ly, which has been an enormous success with teenagers, is based purely on a fashion of lip syncing and has made superstars of some teens who would struggle to make a mark on the beautiful people landscape of Instagram.

BETTERMENT

BETTERMENT: What, why and what next

BETTERMENT is the universal quest for self-improvement. Show us a consumer who doesn’t aspire to do so!

The desire to improve can manifest in many ways: the desire for better health, for greater knowledge, the development of new skills and much more. The products, campaigns and services that enable the realisation of these goals will simply appear ‘better’ than those that don’t.

Consumers now seek a deeper, lasting personal impact from their purchases, wanting a sense of personal growth (think emotional, spiritual or ethical) that is not always easy to quantify. It’s time to think beyond BETTERMENT devices and tools of convenience to services that truly facilitate a higher version of the self (more on that can be found in our recent briefing, THE FUTURE OF BETTERMENT).

The We Are Social perspective

There are now a vast array of self improvement apps, gadgets and YouTube stars available to help consumers improve every aspect of their health. From Change4Life’s sugar smart app to help you make lower calorie shopping choices, to Nike’s running app, technology is on your side to fix your eating and exercise habits. But a growing trend for more holistic health is driving an exponential growth in technology designed to improve your all-round wellness.

Change for Life - SugarSmart image

From digital sleep improvement masks like Neuroon to meditation app Headspace, consumers are using technology in a more holistic fashion than the original fitness tracking apps. You can log on to Clue to help you get pregnant faster, and Ovia to track your pregnancy. There are even betterment devices available for children. The Octopus Watch  is a smartwatch programmed by parents for their kids, with daily reminders for tasks like brushing their teeth or washing their hands.

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We Are Social’s research and resources offer a unique combination of skills and experience across marketing, creative and technical disciplines, all grounded in a deep understanding of social. You can read more on their social thinking here. TrendWatching’s full Trend Framework is available exclusively to clients of  TW:Premium

Melanie Yap talks professional freedom, diversity in collaboration and doing 'Good' ahead of our Singapore Trend Event

The list of speakers for our 2016 Consumer Trend Events just keeps getting stronger (and longer!). Each city will see leading innovators join our own trend gurus as we get to the heart of consumerism’s most pressing topics – from AI to big data, demographics to Big Brand Redemption. 

Melanie Yap, partner at A Very Good Company — a boutique consultancy specialising in social innovation, research and design — is part of the all-star line-up at our sold-out Singapore event. We managed to catch up with her to discuss the values of Generation Z (and Singapore as a whole) ahead of her appearance on our Branded Infrastructure panel — looking at how smart brands are making Asia a better place to be.

Melanie Yap

Can you tell us a bit about your day-to-day life working for A Very Good Company? What do you enjoy the most, and what do you find the most challenging?

My days are never the same and that is why I love what I do. All days do start early though as I have two young children. I’m usually out the door by 8am and from there head into the Singapore’s Impact Hub, a co-working space I share with a great group of like-minded businesses.

I might start the morning with a coffee meeting and then spend the day head down developing new social impact programme for a business client. Other days, I hop from meeting to meeting, looking for collaborators to create innovative partnerships. What I really enjoy is coming into the room as an outside voice and helping organisations to see issues and in new ways. That’s how we create opportunities and innovate.

As someone that’s speaking at our Singapore event, what do you find about the region that make it such an important place for innovation?

Singapore has a natural geographical advantage, which places it at the centre of people, business and ideas. This heady mix creates an exciting platform for innovation.

I love the mix of people that I meet on a day to day basis — from young Singaporeans trying to initiate ground-up initiatives to global CSR professionals to groundbreaking social entrepreneurs.

Without giving too much away, what topics, issues, trends or challenges are you excited to share with our audience at the Singapore Consumer Trend Event?

I’m excited to share our new research on Singaporean Gen Zs and their changing values as they relate to business. I am also happy to share our work with supply chains in the region, in particular our pioneering service design led approach to improving health and wellbeing amongst factory workers.

You feature on our Branded Infrastructure panel, exploring how smart brands are making Asia a better place to be. Can you share a favourite innovation or initiative that you feel embodies this subject matter?

I love Uniqlo’s holistic and strategic approach to doing Good. Their initiatives span the entire business — from factories through their female empowerment programme to consumers in the form of their All-Product Recycling Initiative.

Uniqlo also has a great inclusive employment programme. And, if that’s not enough, the company has also established Grameen UNIQLO, a social business that aims to strengthen local communities and encourage economic development in Bangladesh. Its clothes are made and sold locally, and all profits go right back into the business.

Uniqlo-Grameen

What trends do you feel that your organization are pursuing in your work? They don’t have to be TrendWatching trends! They might be very broad trends such as ‘the sharing economy’ or ‘the rise of artificial intelligence’. How do you think those trends are set to evolve, and what challenges lie ahead for you?’

I see so many people now, particularly Millenials or Gen Zs who work in demanding full time jobs, while working or building not just 1 but sometimes 2 or 3 businesses or social initiatives.

In many ways, that’s why we founded A Very Good Company ourselves — we wanted the freedom to pursue our different interests under the umbrella of a single brand focused on doing Good. And we recognised that many of our peers also wanted the freedom to work on different projects at the same time and our working model enables them to do just that.

It’s not just about having multiple careers over a lifetime now, it’s about having multiple careers NOW. I think that this is something that businesses looking to recruit and retain talent really need to consider.

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TrendWatching’s 2016 Consumer Trend Events head to Singapore (27 Oct), Sydney (3 Nov),Chicago (10 Nov), London (16 Nov) and Amsterdam (23 Nov). Ready to unlock and experience the trends set to shape 2017 (and beyond)? Find out more here.

Taking TrendWatching to the Masters

As part of TrendWatching’s educational outreach, Victoria Foster, head of the TrendWatching Insight Network, leads sessions with students around the world that are exploring innovation in various contexts. Her next stop took her to Ravensbourne University in Greenwich, London, as she helped students with a meaningful, tangible issue—the long-term health of the residents in a borough of one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

Opening the course prospectus, I had to do a double take. Here it was: A study that addresses the challenges of modern day life, shaped by a globally-connected society and an on-demand world by developing suitability-led solutions that put people at the heart of business, technology and society. Had I found myself mistakenly re-reading TrendWatching’s own brand mission statement?

Fortunately for me, this wasn’t the case. That modus operandi, in fact, belongs to Ravensbourne University’s Masters of Design and Innovation—a one year program that explores using ‘design thinking’ to solve some of societies’ and businesses’ biggest issues.

Throughout the course, students explore the many methods and approaches used to drive innovation, so partnering with TrendWatching is a natural fit. We were invited to run a 2-day program for students, introducing them to our counterintuitive approach to gleaning customer insights from existing innovations. Through our Trend-Driven Innovation methodology, we lead the students on a journey through beneficial innovations for both businesses and society at large.

On day one we painted the overall picture. Over the course of five hours, we gave the students a run down of our business-first approach to spotting trends, including how this provides us with useful consumer insights and the trends that can result from it.. Using our cornerstone Consumer Trend Canvas, we also applied trends to brands in a quick-fire ideation session.

As we kicked off the second day, we put purpose first. The students looked at how TrendWatching’s trends and our Trend-Driven Innovation methodology could solve their challenge at hand: to develop a long-term holistic strategy to improve the health of the residents of Greenwich, London—a project with true purpose and a tangible outcome. Through this challenge, the students are working alongside local authorities, residents and businesses to develop practical solutions that could improve the health and wellbeing of the local citizens, for generations to come.

This session took the form of a round-table discussion, as we debated how short-term innovations could contribute to long-term strategies to improve social wellbeing. Working with our Trend Radar and the “Focus” chapter from our  book Trend Driven Innovation, we looked at how to assess trends and identify the most fitting ones to work with now and as the project develops over 6 months, 5 years, 10 years and beyond. We also looked at regional differences in trends—both global and city-wide—and how this could impact a project based in one of London’s many diverse boroughs.

Creating a strategy to improve the health of the next generation is no small job. And, it was an empowering process that demonstrated how TrendWatching’s trends and methodology can sit alongside design thinking, human-centered design theory and other schools of thought, to help create sustainability-led solutions that put people at the heart of business, technology and society.

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Victoria Foster is the Head of TrendWatching’s Insight Network, as well as working with numerous universities from across the globe to provide materials for students, guest lectures and facilitate longer project. Think a similar course could work for you? Get in touch at victoria@trendwatching.com.  

Flying to Gotham City, ‘ironing’ bread and local coffee culture: Spotting trends in Turkey - what’s next & who’s winning.

In the second part of a series of featured posts from Idea Bakery, our partners in Turkey that have been applying Trend-Driven Innovation methodology to the work they produce for clients, Brand Communications Consultant Neslihan Kohen discusses the Turkish brands most worthy of admiration (whether they receive the plaudits or not) and the consumer expectations that brands across the country are failing to recognise.

You can view the first part of the series here

What Turkish brand do you most admire, and why?

Turkish Airlines. With a revolutionary approach, they have the most daring vision I’ve ever seen in a Turkish company: to become the biggest and best airline in the world by 2023! This vision enables them to thrive and become a distinguished competitor among global legacy airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France, Emirates and British Airways.

It’s a vision that walks the walk: they fly to more destinations than any other airline in the world, their innovation strategy has upped the game of the airline business (flying chef, invest on board, etc.) and their communication strategy has set an example to all local brands who strive to become global.

Their high-profile campaigns show their ambition, too. Past ads include celebrity usage of world superstars such as Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant. Recently they are the first Turkish brand to advertise in Superbowl with a highly creative idea of “flying to Gotham City and Metropolis” to promote Batman vs. Superman sponsorship. This has also won them Entertainment Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Creativity Festival in 2016.

Turkish Airlines - Gotham City

Which Turkish brands do you feel isn’t often talked about outside of Turkey, but should be? And why?

There are two major Turkish brands that deserve to be famous worldwide yet are only vaguely known internationally. “Yeni Rakı” and “Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi”.

Yeni Rakı

Turkey’s national alcoholic drink, representing a common cultural legacy of the many diverse civilizations that have lived in the region — comprised of today’s modern 21st Century to Anatolian wine culture. Just as one would do with wine, the people of Anatolia developed and perfected a new craft over the centuries: distilling alcohol they obtained by fermenting grapes.

Rakı, majorly represented by the brand Yeni Rakı, is not only a legendary alcoholic beverage due to the production process but also due to  its rich cultural heritage, it is an indispensable part of the dining and entertainment culture of modern Turkey. As the most renowned representation of the Anatolian heritage, Yeni Rakı is the perfect match for an unforgettable Turkish experience. Even better than Turkish Delight! ;)

yeni-raki

The occasion of drinking Yeni Rakı is also a ceremonious pleasure — in both preparation and in the drinking itself. When fixing your raki drink, you start with an empty glass — preferably a tall raki glass from fine hand-made crystal — add the raki, then water, and at the end add the ice. The way to drink it is slowly, by savoring every sip. Rakı is commonly consumed with a selection of hot and cold tapas style appetizers. This experience is called ‘Rakı Sofrası’ (Rakı Feast).

Looking at the top 100 spirits in the world, Yeni Rakı is number 17 on the list among the worldwide spirit brands in retail value, however, it’s still at the bottom of list when it comes to recognition. It deserves to be in the top 5 in both lists!

Yeni Rakı Commercials

Following the passing of government legislation prohibiting its promotion and advertising in 2013, Turkey has been very much a ‘dark market’ in terms of alcoholic beverage marketing. These commercials belong to the time when it was a semi-dark market (when adverts were allowed on all mediums except TVC — this was in place until 2013).

Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi

Turkish coffee has a 500-year-old history with an inspiring culture and tradition

The first ever coffeehouse opened in Istanbul in the 16th century. Turks introduced coffee to Europe, preparing with appreciation ‘for 40 years’ — a phrase to highlight how offering a cup of coffee builds friendships and smoothens atmospheres (it being said that once you share a coffee with someone, they can ask for 40 years of favors from you). It is the equivalent of a “cup of tea” in the British culture.

Drinking Turkish coffee is an inseparable part of the Turkish culture, indeed the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism submitted Turkish coffee to Unesco’s World Heritage list as a cultural inheritance. The infamous “is it Turkish coffee or Greek coffee?” debate should be no more!

Unlike other coffees, Turkish coffee has a special tool and preparation ritual, as seen in the below video:

Although the brand is sold around the world, neither Turkish coffee nor Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi have really been able to cement the uniqueness and authenticity of the Turkish coffee experience in the minds of many modern global coffee consumers.

Gizem Salcigil White and Tugcem Gaines, aka The Turkish Coffee Ladies

There is, however, one PEER ARMY, “Turkish Coffee Ladies”, who are relentlessly trying to bring Turkish coffee to US customers. The volunteering team offers samples of Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi to promote the brand, as well as Turkish coffee as a whole, through their ‘Turkish Coffee Truck’ initiative.

Traveling to major U.S cities such as Washington D.C, Baltimore, New York and Boston and across Europe to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, visiting universities, festivals and the NATO Headquarters, among others, in three years (2012–15) they estimated reaching over 15,000 people.

The project received international media coverage, as well as official recognition the U.S. House of Representatives. The project is funded by donations from Turkey’s oldest coffee ground seller, the aforementioned Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi.

Which new & emerging customer expectations do you think are most overlooked by Turkish businesses?

There are 2 major customer expectations that are not efficiently tapped by Turkish companies: instant gratification through engagement and practical minds

Instant gratification through engagement

One of the overlooked new and emerging customer expectations is ‘instant gratification through engagement’.

Why? Even though we are in the era of digital marketing, Turkish companies are still caught up with the traditional ways of marketing communication.

It’s still a monologue from the brand to the consumer, rather than designing a full experience and leveraging creative engagement through the use of data and technology. Even though these companies pour their resources into understanding this shift, the perception of digital marketing is still at an underdeveloped stage.

Despite the potential of the connected young population, most companies only focus on digital marketing as a promotional platform where number of “likes” or “clicks” matter more than true consumer engagement.

They are not successful in reacting to comments in real time, and therefore fail to create a true dialogue between the brand and the consumer. When their perception finally evolves properly, they will start analyzing the dialogue between the consumers and turning data into strong insights that will translate into purpose-driven campaigns.

Practical Minds

Another overlooked aspect is a stereotypical characteristic of Turkish people deriving from our culture — “practicality”. As a developing country, creative practicality takes over when resources are not readily available at any given time (for example, it’s a common practice to use a clothing iron to make toasted bread at university dorms! ;).

Turkish people have practical minds by nature, and any immediately actionable innovation that can make our lives easier is always more than welcome — yet this opportunity and cultural insight is immensely overlooked by the brands.

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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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