Discovering trends: a necessity for the successful businessman

If you are an entrepreneur, businessman, manager, salesperson… then you would like to be kept informed of the latest trends. Following the latest trends yourself is still the best way. If you are not convinced of its usefulness, please read the following.

Why discover trends (trend watching)?

Discovering trends is fun. It feels like you are always there and know everything about it. But that alone is not enough to make your company or business score even better commercially. Discovering elements that influence customers’ purchasing behavior is one of the many ways to gain inspiration that can help you develop new products and provide better services for and in collaboration with your customers. Discovering trends ultimately aims to achieve greater returns from your trading activities through innovation.

Common property

Trend discovery as a professional activity has changed radically in the last five years. In a world that is constantly online, where thousands of professionals and amateurs not only look out, observe, think and innovate, valuable and interesting trends are made public and accessible to everyone. The Internet thus becomes a huge grab bag in which anyone can grab at will for innovation ideas based on what is happening on the market.

What is a trend?

A trend is a change in people’s attitudes that causes certain products or services to sell more despite continuing to meet basic customer needs. The core of trade remains the same: consumer needs do not change fundamentally, but a certain trend can open up a number of products to the market. These so-called unlockers can refer to anything from social norms and values to a breakthrough in technology.

What are the needs of man?

Psychologist Abraham Maslov identified human needs in 1943 and formulated his theory in a pyramid form. Primary needs such as breathing, eating and drinking and sex are the base of the pyramid. On the second level you find the need to feel safe. The third level involves emotional needs ranging from friendship to family to intimacy. The second highest need concerns appreciation, respect for one’s own person. Self-realization is at the very top because it is the most difficult need to achieve as one has fully utilized one’s own capabilities and has fully integrated the four previous need levels. Maslov’s pyramid is considered an excellent starting point for understanding customer motives, for learning to understand why people buy certain products.

Some misconceptions related to trends

Discovering trends means more than discovering the next fashion color, fabric or designer. Black may be scoring well again and the mini skirt may be back in the summer of 2011, but the consumer image is broader than that. In other words: fashion in all its facets is only a part of the total trend formation around the world. Fashion alone does not exclusively determine purchasing behavior. The crystal ball does not exist and certainly cannot be used by trend watchers. Discovering trends is about observing and understanding what is currently happening as a main trend and as a side trend. In our case in terms of consumers and commerce. If anyone says that the pizza cone is an emerging trend, they are mistaken. A pizza cone is a fun product, but it will not significantly influence the purchasing behavior of the average consumer. It is merely evidence of a need that characterizes the consumer: laziness. Laziness is the trend, not the product that is based on it. Trends cannot be applied to everyone. A mistake that trend spotters and companies all too often make is to think that certain trends will be adopted by everyone. For every trend there is an anti-trend. Remember: the new does not always push away the old. E-sales may be on the rise, but traditional sales are far from dead and buried. But trends also provide innovation and increased appeal in the traditional store. Anyone who detects a certain trend would therefore do best not to make exclusive use of it, but to turn it into a both-and story. People sometimes say that discovering trends is a gift. Nothing is less true. Observing the world with an open mind is not something one is born with. If one wants to discover trends, everyone can do so.