at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Posts Tagged ‘trends’

We feel fine

In trends on December 6, 2008 at 7:35 am

I’ve sat around this morning playing with, pondering, thinking about wefeelfine, an interesting new web site. What makes it so special? Well…nothing…and everything of course.

Like much of the web, I’m sure there is some usefullness embedded in there somewhere. Like an international geopolitical minute by minute poll of our collective feelings. Perhaps at some point one could track future births by backtracking to the feelings of amorousness on a given day nine months prior. Or they could redirect counseling call centers to accept more distressed calls from New Mexico because they are feeling down.

In the meanwhile, it serves a a personal broadcasting and twitter like forum except they are just random comments, from random people about their feelings, all culled from the Internet rather than posted. By taking the comments out of context it feels like a poetic synapse firing away in the dark.

I feel…like it’s pretty cool.

So retro it’s now!

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2008 at 10:04 am

The truth be told, for every trend there is a counter trend waiting just off it’s heels. This is part of what makes life so interesting. It’s also part of why the fast-follower approach to innovation doesn’t work as well as it used to. When everyone has an iPhone it reaches a decible level where folks start checking out the Jitterbug. Likewise, when Ashton Kutcher punks everyone into buying a little digital camera to document their own existence…then you know it is about time for Blackbird, fly. A new dual lens reflex, $200 camera out of Japan to start hitting the shores.

I do believe the analogue days are coming and I think it’s starting to rear it’s head in categories such as apparel and personal care. Now if only they could do something about the automotive industry. I could go for a Shelby Cobra about now.

Trends Cause Trends

In trends on June 11, 2008 at 10:40 am

roadtrip feet

Originally uploaded by heathre

I’m not a big fan of futurists and trendspotters. I’ve listened to them, read them, even set out to hire one or two. The rub is that they tend to be great at spotting things early (at best), or telling me what I already know to be true (at worst). Few seem to be able to contribute to the next phase of the discussion which begins with “so what” and ends with “and how.”

For instance, gas prices are rising. YES. This will disrupt holidays, vacations, the great American road trip. YES. But what about the 10 year view? What will take their place and what will happen as a result?

Here are some things that I’m thinking about.

Kids in sports. The SoccerMom and MiniVan dad are going to have to question the return on investment of going to all of those games and running back and forth to practices. There will be other trade-offs made first. Mom & Dad may forgo date night. Dad won’t get a new pair of shoes even though he could really use them. The kids will come first in these occasions. But…over time I predict that the extracirculars that have become part of the over-scheduled generation will be cut back. This will lead to more family time and also more independent time for kids.

I’m also thinking about the weakness of the dollar (which yes, is a major component of rising gasoline prices). As folks start to cut back on pleasure travel what effect will this have on how Americans view the global community in which we all live. When study abroads are questioned, when people don’t venture out of the country because airlines have raised prices and don’t go on roadtrips because gas is too high, how do you learn about cultures that aren’t familiar? On the web people tend to seek out opinions that mimic and reinforce their own. Television is no better window to the world since most of the world appears through the cable box to be either hungry and poor or power hungry (neither of which aren’t true). And yes, more people from other countries will come to the states because it is more affordable but it doesn’t have the same effect to meet someone from another place as it is to be a stranger in their place. So the question becomes: do rising gasoline prices and a weak dollar actually weaken our understanding of the world and reinforce the isolationism that may have caused a couple wars to begin with?

Alert: The History Channel Has Run Out of History

In Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy on April 29, 2008 at 2:18 pm

The History Channel has run out of history. It’s a shame because, like oil, there seemed to be so much of it last time I checked. But alas, it’s true. Napoleonic wars, done it. King Tut, done it nine times. Lindberg, Anne Frank, George Washington, you name it, done it. Which explains their new move toward old growth trees and the reality show Axe Men.

Hypothetical meeting conversation:

“Why not stop covering history and start predicting it? We all know that trees are going to be history so let’s preempt it!”

“Let’s give that man a raise! Brilliant!”

“And we can compete against Discovery and Deadliest Catch. Logging is dangerous too! And not just to the trees!”

The End of Green?

In Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, culture, marketing, strategy on March 3, 2008 at 9:53 am

Originally uploaded by onikasi

The green trend and the recession trend seem to be on a collision course and something is going to have to give. It’s no secret that brands have been pushing green as a way to appease customers as well as clean up their corporate image, but what will happen in a down market?

All the research that I’ve seen says the predictable. Customers want to buy green products and they want corporations to be green as long as they don’t have to pay more for the product itself. We’ve been calling this “values added” marketing but it could just as well be called “holy shit.” Now you have corporations who are pushing green, most without maintaining a price point, and you have customers who are becoming increasingly mindful of their pocketbooks.

My prediction is that green will continue to move in upscale categories and categories like automotive where there is a bottom line benefit for customers. In the mid and lower markets it will move back to corporate image and away from products since customers don’t typically cough up the money right away to help a corporate image. Longer term the future of the trend is anyone’s guess. Make yours in the comment section below.

When Product Accessories Become the Product

In Branding, Brands, Consumers, innovation, market research, marketing, strategy, trends on January 21, 2008 at 1:11 pm

What happens when that cool new thing that you got suddenly becomes the cool new thing that everyone has? Trend Setters (god I hate that term) either move on to the next new thing or  redouble their efforts to bring personal ownership to their products. Creating an accessory culture around new products may prove to be a way to keep these early users engaged.

Steve Portigal has an interesting post on Crocs culture and the emergence of charms in Japan and the UK (see picture above). Apple has also inspired a ton of secondary markets for its products from the useful iPod Skins to the scary-but-true Taser/iPod holster that was displayed at CES.

My personal favorite are the iColour modifiers which allow you to take that boring old glowing Apple logo and modify it to your own liking, gaining the ire of your IT dept. at the same time.


Is 2008 the Year of the Tear?

In communications, research, trends on January 16, 2008 at 9:30 am

Originally uploaded by Daniel Greene

America seems to be going soft all of a sudden. We started with the
carefully crafted YouTube clip in late 2007 of FanBoy sobbing over
Brittney and her heartbreaking situation. That was a nice way to end
2007; it’s always better to cry at the end of things to help you move
on. I thought that was it, a little isolated tear-shedding and we could
move on.

Not a chance. 2008 kicked off with Hillary Clinton getting misty-eyed upon the electronic screen, a not-so-subtle display of humanity that some
credit for helping her win in NH. And then, even more shockingly,
Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys gets choked up during an interview
as he defends Tony Romo against the inevitable onslaught of the media.
T.O., really? Mr. Brash, Mr. Bling, Mr. Historically, I’d be more likely
to blame my quarterback, my coach, my jockstrap manufacturer… suddenly
having an emotional breakdown in his quarterback’s defense?

Read the rest of this entry »

John Kerry is still Living Strong

In Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, trends on January 10, 2008 at 10:36 am

live strong
Originally uploaded by Spicy-Shots

John Kerry came out and endorsed Obama today, effectively Swift Boating his campaign by reminding everyone just how bad of a campaigner Kerry was.

But as a marketer I was more struck by this (copyrighted) picture that accompanied him on several sites.

John Kerry is still wearing his Live Strong bracelet and frankly, I don’t know how I feel about it. This is what happens when causes create products that become trendy.

Most folks I know removed their bracelets long ago as the trend died and hygiene reasserted itself into their minds. That and the fact that yellow really doesn’t go with most outfits. But I’m reminded by the picture that some people are keeping on. My question is: what does it signify now?

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MIT goes vitual

In communications, education, marketing, strategy, trends on November 28, 2007 at 2:02 pm

I love the fact that MIT publicly pushes the envelope in terms of technology adoption and distribution. I subscribe to and love their blog for the new ideas and applications that it brings to the table.

Now those sneaky academics are posting coursework and lectures online as part of MITOPENCOURSEWARE. Since leaving school I feel like I’ve become focused on the practical and the applicable but still find that some of the best new ideas come from looking at the ephemeral from an academic vantage point.

Part of me wishes that they would stop spending their time doing stuff like this and fill my order for the flying car though…maybe next year.

Trends in Facebook Applications

In research, social networking, trends on November 23, 2007 at 11:16 am

Facebook Applications Trends Report #1

from nomansblog

“Last Friday I stumbled upon this fantastic facebook analytics site – Adonomics (previously Appaholic), which provides figures on all 8648 facebook applications. It’s similar to what you can view on facebook (i.e. most popular, % of daily activity) but with additional data such as estimate of the net value of each application as well as new and returning users.

The data immediately felt like a goldmine and prompted my curiosity to dig into the chart and to carry out a systematic analysis of the 100 most popular applications – those that have at least 1million users – in an attempt to get a better grasp on favoured activities that take place in this global playground. In a sense it is similar to my Youtube trends reports, only here instead of analysing what people are watching, I want to take a a look at what people are doing.”