Discover more from Futurestate Insights
Beware the trend report
Have you read any trend reports to help you figure out where to go next?
I challenged myself to read a whole batch of trend reports over the Xmas break, from the big research and investment companies to more unusual sources like Pinterest.
In summary, they were either:
Obvious and/or too generalised, or
Interesting, but superficial.
The big ones always feel more like horoscopes or taro readings, and this year was no exception. They’re full of big, sweeping statements, charts and positioning quadrants that I guess you could use in a deck to back up your plans for the year ahead.
The niche ones turned up some wonderful insights (who knew that sci-fi is an emerging clothing trend?) that may actually be actionable to some people (my silver trousers, due today, notwithstanding). Things like colour trends for the fashion industry are useful, although I still wonder how many of the people for whom the report is written didn’t already know this.
Irrespective of the source, be wary of trends in any form. Because there’s one thing they all, unavoidably, have in common: everyone else can read them too.
Whether inferred from data or observed and interpreted, if you follow trends you’ll end up in the same place as everyone else who’s read the report.
In the same way as most would enjoy an uncrowded beach rather than one heaving with toasting bodies so close you can smell them, companies should look to position themselves and their services in places that aren’t crowded with others.
To create space around you, you have to find a new, uncrowded location. To do that you need to buck the trends and be prepared to do something unexpected and imaginative.
And you won’t find any of that in a trend report.