* Generously ‘inspired’ by Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas
How and when to use the canvas.
Consumer trends – and consumer behaviors more broadly – are ultimately driven by these rarely-if-ever-changing basic human needs and desires. Identifying these underlying needs is central to understanding any consumer trend.
Where to start? How about these:
Social status / Self-improvement / Entertainment / Excitement / Connection / Security / Identity / Relevance / Social interaction / Creativity / Fairness / Honesty / Freedom / Recognition / Simplicity / Transparency
To analyze change, think Shifts and Triggers.
Try looking at the data behind the trend. Rapid growth or sudden shifts, even if the absolute numbers might be small, are worth attention.
New consumer trends emerge when basic human needs bump up against external change to create (or unlock) new needs, wants and desires. And identifying these unmet needs and wants is the holy grail of understanding trends, as it will present you with compelling innovation opportunities.
To identify emerging needs, wants and desires,look for expectation gaps between what consumers want, and what they currently have.
Try asking yourself “What do the consumers embracing the brands, products and services that embody this trend now want and even expect?”.
One further tip: pay careful attention to other industries. Consumers don’t think in industry silos. New expectations of quality or service will usually be set outside your industry, but they won’t remain there for long.
Seeing what other businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits, governments even, are already doing with the trend is a great way to better understand it (and gain inspiration ;).
Indeed, very few ‘innovations’ are totally new.Most (successful) innovation comes from combining seemingly unrelated elements, or taking something and deploying it in a new context.
So try this: look at existing business innovations,understand them, then adapt them to your business. To gain as wide a perspective as possible, look specifically at other industries, other regions or cultures, or other types of business (e.g. corporate versus start-ups).
We’ve long said that when thinking about a consumer trend, it helps to consider how and where it could impact your business using these four areas:
How and where you apply the trend will depend on your business. Not all trends apply equally to all businesses or regions. A luxury brand may actively choose to ignore the DEALER-CHIC trend. In Asia, where admitting error means a loss of face, the FLAWSOME trend is less relevant…
Say ‘trends’ and many people instantly think of demographics. And of course, consumers that share certain traits (whether in age, income, lifestyle, tribe, location etc.) will often have similar tastes and preferences.
But when it comes to applying consumer trends,try thinking beyond those who are currently living the trend. Indeed, thinking about what changes you would have to make, to make this trend relevant for other (new) demographics is a great way to come up with new innovations.
Need further inspiration? Then look to the margins and at what extreme users are currently doing. New consumer behaviors usually start with certain (niche) segments, before evolving and spreading throughout the mass market.
The CONSUMER TREND CANVAS is just a tool. It’s only as useful as you make it.