consumer trends and insights from around the world
Since we're all in the marketing business these days, maybe we can reconcile ourselves to the necessity of people who keep tabs on what the rest of us are doing, who's doing it first, why we should care, and which items might hang on longer than a nanosecond.
Faith Popcorn was among the first (beginning in 1974) to describe what she (and her fleet of researchers and consultants) expected to happen in American culture and how that would affect businesses — and culture — in the United States and around the world. If you ever heard that consumers were "cocooning," you encountered Popcorn. By the 1990s, she began periodically issuing The Popcorn Report, a summary of findings and projections for (mostly) the coming year (sometimes, decade). Whether or not you agree with her predictions (skeptics abound), Popcorn gave marketing a "buzz" and brought it into everyday conversation.
Many other people and groups have jumped into the futuring business, and the folks at Trendwatching.com have their own take on things. They, too, are prone to buzz-type trend labeling (Generation C[ash], Generation C[ontent], InfoLust, Transumers, Youniversal Branding).
You can pay big bucks to get a seriously in-depth look at this stuff and lots of big companies do, but their info is accessible via the Web to anyone who cares. Simply sign up for the free monthly e-letter to get a good handle on where the world is going.
Your competitors won't like it, but your accountant, shareholders, and employees will probably thank you for paying enough attention to the emerging trends that you can keep your business in the black.