As part of a new product development project I worked on recently, we looked at current and upcoming trends to spur our imaginations and see what new product ideas could be generated with those trends in mind. In your new product development, make sure you include some trend work in your ideation session, as the combination of a few random trends could make for some really inspired new product ideas!
To spark your thinking, I am including a few trends–from American Tea Parties to American Idol, from the appeal of the latest technological toys to a yearning for simplicity–that may have implications for your industry:
How has the shift in American spending impacted your industry? What will healthcare reform mean for you (personally and professionally)? What do you see ahead? As the media argues over a double-dip recession versus a slow return to prosperity, marketers must evaluate the permanent mindset change that has impacted consumers over the past two years—the loss of jobs that is forcing greater entrepreneurialism, exploding direct selling industries, and causing the belt-tightening that has led to a struggle for middle tier brands to prove their value amidst the resurgence of private label brands, the staycation phenomenon, the rise of DIY décor, and the inconspicuous consumption of those who still have jobs and money now tiptoeing out to spend money without anyone noticing, not bringing in their designer shopping bags from the car until after dark.
The rise of the social media allows everyone to shine a spotlight on everyone’s favorite topic…themselves. Now that people can tweet about what they had for lunch today and blog about their opinions on the latest celebrity scandal, it means that everyone’s an expert and everyone is media (see blog post from April for more on this topic). Crowd-sourcing on-line has empowered everyone, given each person an opportunity to contribute a potential SuperBowl ad idea, speak up and let their voices be heard, from American Tea Parties to giving their rating on the latest novel at Amazon, voting on who should win American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars or any of the other “audience participation” shows on prime time.
Green efforts continue to build, as more Americans are gravitating to products and services that can boast environmental friendliness. However, buying green must be easy, and authenticity matters —DON’T bother to “greenwash” your product; such efforts will eventually backfire.”Buy local” is a watchword that goes along with those efforts, with many just now discovering the delights of the weekend farmer’s market.
Whether you are an individual consumer or a multinational retailer, technology still rules. With M-commerce on the rise as now 32% of Americans using mobil phones and mobil apps to access email, text or shop on-line, technology is changing how and when we communicate, while web-based training programs at the office and do-it-yourself scanners minimizes the need for human interaction—even at the hardware store. While some argue that today’s mobile-empowered consumers cannot communicate “properly” (meaning that they can’t carry on a conversation of more than 160 characters at a time), others will argue that technology is only enhancing how that social interaction happens, with tweet-ups and meet-ups organized on twitter.com or eharmony.com.
Take some time with each of these ideas (and many others that you can see in your own industry) and discuss how they are impacting or could impact your business moving forward. Looking at these trends slightly differently could yield a whole new stream of revenue one year, three years, even ten years down the road!