In our “The New Challenge” (Oct. 2009) publication we explored how the Chinese character for the word, “crisis,” has two brush strokes: one stands for danger, the other opportunity. The Great Recession was the danger and we are now seeing the opportunity. In the 2010 issue, the Agile Development Trend identified the accelerating pace of innovation as a key focus for business leaders looking to emerge from recession.
As we entered 2011, there were seeds of renewed optimism. Consumer confidence is off its lows and a new consumer is emerging, one who will pursue wants and needs on her own terms. In response to tomorrow’s consumer, creative and business-savvy entrepreneurs are innovating to form volunteer mobs, crowdsource maintenance of local waterways and much more. Below, we share some of the most common market trends, with a bonus trend at the end!
- Good Values: If there is one positive result of the Great Recession, it is the outpouring of genuine kindness. The Good Values trend is about new ways in which entrepreneurs and everyday individuals are paying forward and re-enforcing good values for generations to come. We share new ideas and concepts, such as volunteer mobs, business-in-a-box and Krafty giving
- Green in Motion: Green has been in the conversation so much, that there is a risk of green fatique setting in. We are moving from the green awareness phase to the next phase of green, what we call green in motion. We will demand real results by actively applying green principles.
- True Vitality: What does it mean to be sustainable? Is it about buying a Toyota Prius, eating whole grain, shopping locally, or buying used clothing? More and more, consumers and companies are injecting creativity and innovation into their pursuit of longevity, by creating business models and lifestyles with a focus on sustainability. We explore how consumers and businesses are extending the life-cycle of clothing, introducing fresh, greenery to advertising and cleaning up a polluted emotional environment with a goal of extending life.
- Local Power: Entrepreneurs, ranging from tech geek to farmer, are finding ways to sustain and grow local economies and communities through the power of new networking technology, such as smartphones and social networks. We explore new ideas in local crowd sourcing, locally sourced food and even an app that monitors local waterways.
- Instant Access: With access to information all the time via iPhone, iPad, and other devices, there is an expectation of speedy delivery. Keep your customers happy by providing instant access. Combine Local Power with Instant Access, and you get hyper relevance!
- Recognize and Reward Me: For many customers, it’s not good enough to simply exchange money for goods. It’s about self esteem and extras as well. We explore how a designer brand is rewarding fans willing to pass on happy blog comments with merch, FourSquare-like companies rewarding top contributors with branded gear, and vending machines rewarding mental agility.
- First Class Service: Checking into a Doubletree for holiday discounts, logging into a cocktail lounge, a key-chain with a lifetime of exclusive offers are just a few novel ways brands are making consumers feel uniquely cared for. VIP is usually synonymous with high-brow luxury, but more “economy” brands are leveraging technology and consumers’ desire to feel distinct from their peers. Learn more about how everyday consumers are “flying first class.”
- Tailored for Me: We remember Adidas’s customizable shoes, which was just a taste of what was to come. Customization has permeated into not only consumer industries but enterprise as well. From custom, 48-hour PPT presentations to perfect fit jeans, to personalized coffee, consumers and businesses are ever-customizing their world.
- Brand Me: The beauty of Google is you can find almost anything — including that embarrassing photo of you drunk at a college frat party. As job and university applicants and new mothers and fathers, we need to manage our digital brand more effectively. We explore strategies to reshape your digital footprint.
- Spontaneous Fun: Ever want to have the thrill of being a drug dealer, smuggling cargo across the border or be kidnapped by terrorists? There is an undercurrent of people that want to explore, have fun and seek new adventures. We discover new products and services that range from giving spontaneous gifts via text message to discovering and promoting Indie authors to being kidnapped for 24 hours.
- Brain Candy: Innovative companies are leveraging augmented reality to teach astronomy, combining food with learning, developing adaptive algorithms that understand individual learning preferences and expanding upon Mrs. Frizzle’s Magic Schoolbus. Learn more about how innovative entrepreneurs are re-shaping the world around us.
+ Brilliant Blend: Entrepreneurs are merging the digital and real worlds to find creative and innovative solutions to everyday consumer problems. From digital dressing rooms, to augmented reality watches to digital piggy banks, innovative entrepreneurs are developing products that create a more intuitive user experience. Learn more about how entrepreneurs are brilliantly blending ideas to creatively solve consumer problems.