Document Sample
TREND ANALYSIS Powered By Docstoc
   EngC 1011H
For most people, the terms "trend"
and "fad“ are used interchangeably.
      • When the media tell us "what's
        hot" they label them as trends.
      • Someone who wears the latest
        fashions or has obscure new
        music on their iPod is called
   This could be just a discussion of
   semantics, but perhaps there is a
For that, we need look no further than
 sociologist Dr. Dre on "Encore," the
  title song from an Eminem album:
I'm a trend; I set one every time I'm
in/ I go out and just come back full
circle again/You a fad. That means
you something that we already had/
  But once you're gone, you don't
come back/ Too bad--you're off the
map now; radar can't even find you.
In other words, fads are short-
    term fanaticisms; a blip in
culture time whereby it seems
   the whole world is joined in
  the same craze. Exciting and
 electric as they are, they burn
             out fast.
 A fad is a fast and furious practice,
   product, or interest, fueled by
tremendous hype and followed by a
 deep decline. Usually isolated to a
 few market segments, or particular
 demographic groups, fads are self-
 contained, short-lived phenomena.
 Witness the short-
   lived era of the
 Trucker Hat (2001-
 2003, depending on
   whom you ask).

  Or Rubik's Cubes,
virtual reality, grunge,
   day traders, and
   countless others.
As Dre points out, fads are generally
  not missed once they are gone.

We want fad amnesia, to forget them
 and bury them away. . . at least until
 the next generation revives them as
retro goofs. That's because they stand
  for a certain point in time that we
           have moved past.
  Trends, though, may represent
 long-term changes or movements
   that are substantial to society.
  They become part of our DNA,
 even though they may begin with
just a few people, the trendsetters.
  A trend is a slower, steadier
    development. Trends are
 characterized by new ways of
  doing business, new lifestyle
practices, the changing needs of
customers and new products or
 services that render older ones
While trends don’t usually generate
  as much enthusiasm as fads and
  take longer to develop, they are
     longer lasting and far more
widespread. Instead of plummeting
to their demise, many trends evolve
 into permanent shifts in the ways
  we live, work, and interact with
   Many types of trends exist,
 including industry, economic,
societal, cultural, demographic,
       and technological.
      What you’re looking for . . .
• Some service, product, behavior, or value
  that extends in one direction, follows a
  course that is traceable over time.
• A line of movement that shows a
  prevailing inclination, a statistically
  detectable change.
• A shift or veer in a new direction that is
  more than a current style or preference.
 Fads span several categories as
well, most notably, entertainment,
       fashion and lifestyle.
Both trends and fads begin on the
   fringe and move toward the
center (the mainstream), but fads
fall away, while trends continue
 to penetrate larger groups with
          lasting effects.
Uncovering the epiphany - Fads
create a frenzy and fade; trends
  spur a transformation in our

More fascinating still, many fads
 are the byproducts of larger,
        looming trends.
Take the portable
   music trend
  spurred by the
  eighties boom
 box, which then
 evolved into the
nineties walkman
and matriculated
      into the
millennium with
     the iPod.
 While the hardware has been
 replaced with devices that are
more popular and portable, this
  trend has rocked steady for
 decades (and may already be
classified as a permanent shift).
 Trendsetters get the ball rolling,
like the first geeks who began file
sharing on the Internet in the mid-
  They led to the digitalization of
    music, which has built new
  industries and changed the way
    most of us consume music.
 Or JFK, a trendsetter
  in many ways, who
   was credited with
influencing men in the
   early sixties to go
  hatless. Since then,
   practically no one
 outside of a costume
 party, swing band or
   mafia film wears a
Trends have staying power.
  No matter how long since their
initial popularity, they still matter.
           Take hip-hop music:
• It could have been labeled an early eighties
  fad given its centrality on the streets of NYC.
• Now it's at the foundation of our popular
• From Billboard and Total Request Live to ad
  jingles, with the look and fashion adorned by
  most every mallrat in Iowa.
• Hip-hop and urbanization of culture was a
  trend that took hold over the last twenty
  Real trends have depth.
  Something causes their
popularity and acceptance.
In the example above, hip-
hop must have fused itself
to our culture for a reason.
 Understanding that is the job of
   sociologists, trendwatchers,
   market researchers and other
 professionals who are sought to
 analyze society and forecast the
trends that will change the game.
Their trend reports
  need to be more
than lists of what's
 in at the moment.

   That is only
spotting trends or
     Real trendwatchers . . .
• Use analysis to understand what is behind
  the fad.
• Examine why the trend is here.
• Prognosticate what its prospects are for
• Are wary of the latest hype and media spin,
  which often portray minor movements as
  national sensations.
Some tips to help YOU
be a trend-watcher . . .
First, prove
 the trend
 driving the
   Trends are fueled by
myriad strategic factors—a
confluence of events—that
 culminate and fortify one
 another to produce fertile
  ground for the trends to
        take hold.
       Such drivers include
    technological innovations;
   government regulations and
     deregulations; economic
  developments; demographic
shifts; lifestyle changes; and new
       values, attitudes, and
    Assess its overall
   appeal, the trend’s
ability—and mobility—
 to achieve mainstream
   Gauge if it's easily
   adopted by various
  demographic groups
and widespread market
 It took producing a mid-
  market SUV before this
 automotive category was
declared a trend. The same
     goes for the home
computer; in the seventies
  computers were far too
   clunky, and much too
      costly, to achieve
   mainstream adoption.
 important is
is the product
  available to
  Make a
 case for a
 cause (s)
  Identify the trend’s level of
Is it an incident isolated to one
or two market segments or is it
          broadly based?
 How readily does it replicate
  across market segments and
 Remember, fads fade and tend not to
 replicate, but trends transcend such
   barriers and manifest themselves
through an array of related tendencies
    and cultures. Chart the trend's
   connections to other categories,
  cultures, and consumer segments.
Track the trend’s progression.

Is it progressing or regressing?

 Trends steadily progress and
 build momentum over time.
    Take hip-hop, a two-prong trend
   encompassing entertainment and
lifestyle preferences. While in its hey-
  day for the mainstream, rap actually
 made its way onto the music scene in
the eighties. Had hip-hop been a fad, it
would have come and gone (and come
  and gone again) during the last two
 Instead, hip-hop has proven itself
 as a highly profitable business of
    music, movies, apparel and
   accessories (bling!). And rap
  music has established itself as a
 respectable genre in its own right
(arguably a permanent shift for the
          music industry).
In order to effectively analyze a
   trend, as opposed to simply
 reporting on a trend, you must
consider the effects of the trend
          on the culture.
If applicable,
solutions for
  the trend.
 An area that
doesn't receive
   nearly the
  coverage it
 should is the
 Simply put,
each trend is
matched by a
Look at the growing
   obsession with
 organic foods and
 the rising levels of
obesity. Sure, people
 are trying to trim
down with healthier
diets, but processed
 food revenues are
 growing at equally
  compelling rates.
Music and fashion thrive on
 (though it could also be
called counter-“fadding”).
Look at Avril Lavigne poised as the anti-
Britney, or Ashlee Simpson, primed as the
antithesis of her songstress sister Jessica.
 For most trends, an opposite
     countertrend exists.

If you feel as though you have no
unique insights to offer on a trend,
     hunt for a counter-trend!
 Trend-spotting isn't just for
entrepreneurs looking to start
    new companies or for
   marketing cutting-edge
    Consider the growing cultural emphasis
                 on well-being.
            Take apart that trend,
      says Mary Meehan of Iconoculture,
       and you'll see several minitrends:

•   the yearning for mental and physical health
•   a desire for greater balance in one's life
•   a revitalized interest in hearth and home
•   a new focus on spirituality
              The response:
• Grocery stores are stocking natural and
  organic foods, medicinal herbs, and nontoxic
  cleaning supplies.
• Some insurance companies have expanded to
  cover alternative medicine.
• Hardware stores are carrying air and water
  purifiers, nontoxic paints, and test kits for
  detecting contaminants such as lead.
               How do you start?
• Valuable information is everywhere you look.
• Read magazines, newspapers, and web articles; and watch
  TV news shows to spot recurring themes.
• Scan Web sites, forums, and chat rooms. File away
  information for future reference.
• Examine whether the fads around you add up to the deeper,
  wider trends.
• Recognize that the obvious often isn't so obvious. You may
  see something in front of you, but when you analyze it, you
  see it's really something else. How many people go out and
  jog for an hour, then go home and eat a pint of ice cream?
  That's fitness and fatness in the same person.
Big deal or big dud?
    Some times it’s tough to tell
       a fad from a trend
• Hard to find qualified   • Done at many malls
  practitioner             • Quick and relatively
• Involves surgery           painless
• Long-term recovery       • Recovery involves
• Tough to reverse           cotton balls and
• Difficult for              peroxide
  employment               • Holes close if not used
• Scary looking!           • Mainstream appeal
   Research and analyze a current
           cultural trend
A. Prove the trend exists
B. Analyze causes of the trend
C. Make a convincing case for a particular
D. Refute counter causal arguments
E. Consider the effects of the trend on the
F. Consider solutions (if appropriate)
A. Confirms your own hunches about the
B. Suggests other causes for the trend
C. Provides evidence in support of your
   proposed causes
D. Suggests effects of the trend
E. Suggests problems/solutions for the trend
Basic Features of Trend Analysis

  • Presentation of Trend
  • A Convincing Causal Argument
  • An On-going Questioning
         Presentation of Trend
• Introduce engagingly
• Prove existence of trend through
  anecdotes, statistics
• Provide details, background, current status
• Thesis: identify both the trend and the
  main reason or reasons for the existence of the
 A Convincing Causal Argument
• Include the presentation of the causes
  in an effective order
• Provide evidence in support of each
• Anticipate counter arguments
• Refute counter arguments

Remote causes       Foreign Competition
Immediate causes    Sales, profit drop
Situation           Clothing factory closes
Immediate effects   Jobs vanish
Remote effects      Town flounders
     Questions to Ask Yourself
         While Drafting
• Have I mentioned only one or two causes
  when I should be accounting for several?

• Have I mistakenly assumed that
  something that occurred prior to the
  beginning of the trend was therefore a
• How can I be sure not to confuse causes with
  effects? Sometimes effects can be sustaining
  the causes of a trend, but if that is so, I should
  acknowledge it as such.
• Are any of my causes also results?
• How can I show readers that I have accepted
  the burden of proof? I must offer proof for all
  my assertions and not assume the reader will
  understand or make connections.
• How can I refute counter arguments without
  ridiculing their proponents?

Shared By: