Uncovering emerging trends ahead of competitors is a top competitor tactic, though many brands lack both the appetite and skillset for it. And that’s unfortunate, as emerging trends are everything to a businesses, whether or not they know it. If your brand isn’t aggressively pursuing emerging trend opportunities, take a seat and follow along. Here’s how to do it, and why you must.
And we’ll also cover some emerging trends to keep in mind now, including:
- Remote Work & Learning
- Ethical Purchasing
Before we dive in, here’s a few stats that should help focus your thinking:
- 40% of marketing and sales teams believe data science driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is foundational to their success.
- 77% of consumers prefer to purchase from brands that reflect their personal values.
- 73% of millennials say they’d be willing to pay more for ethically produced goods.
What Is Trend Analysis?
A trend is defined as a collection of similar themes that can point to developments and changes over time. A trend analysis is the method used to track shifts in the conversation surrounding relevant market questions as they pertain to your brand or product.
More specifically, you are likely to use a trend analysis to dig into macro themes or big ideas that are shaping specific narratives in a conversation. The goal being an actionable understanding of how topics evolve over time and become a trend, along with educated insight into the future of those ideas – the emerging trends.
A well-built trend analysis will boil down a broad topic to uncover emerging trends by identifying and answering four key questions to uncover:
- Major narratives in the discussion
- Niche narratives in the discussion
- Major trends apparent in the narrative over time
- Which trends are growing and which are slowing down?
Understanding Major Narratives to Inform Emerging Trends
In an endeavor to capture a robust and comprehensive look into emerging trends, it’s important to quickly capture the universe of articles relevant to your query. And “universe” is an apt description as you set out on this search! “Relevant” is the key word here though, as you’ll want to be sure your massive capture is something worth analyzing and ultimately actionable.
Visualizing our search results in Quid Enterprise, our first step after performing our targeted Boolean-powered search is to familiarize ourselves with the network map. This will give an overview of the major narratives in the conversation.
And as you move through each cluster, and rename each as necessary based on the key takeaways from the articles presented within, themes will begin to appear.
Once this is done, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the major narratives – along with an understanding of the common themes and concepts that will help identify emerging trends later in the analysis.
Understanding Niche Narratives That Could Be Emerging Trends
From here, let’s zoom in on the small, unconnected clusters on the periphery of the network map. These clusters are unconnected to the main narrative as they’ve yet to gain traction within the mainstream media.
However diminutive, these clusters shouldn’t be overlooked as they often contain technological breakthroughs, research investments, rumors, news of product launches and relevant partnerships. Put succinctly, this is the space where emerging trends live. But it’s not the only place to find them, as some hide in plain sight in the main clusters. More on that in a bit.
These hidden gems though – they are representative of the niche narrative composed of evolving topics that can hint at future developments. And it’s helpful to isolate these emerging conversations and create a saved view as we’ve done below:
To see how our emerging trends have evolved over time, we can then group similar clusters together using Quid’s tag functionality and switch to timeline view colored by tags.
As you can see, a thoughtful trend analysis puts some serious competitive intelligence at your fingertips. The power of visualized data helps you spot emerging trends and how they’ve waxed and waned over time. Not only that, it’s market intelligence that your decision makers can act on with confidence.
Emerging Trends to Watch Right Now
In the spirit of keeping a watchful eye on emerging trends, let’s take a quick peek at three that should be on your radar already.
Remote Work & Learning
Everybody was scrambling to get on Zoom back in March as the coronavirus swept the globe. Schools closed their doors and before we knew it, everyone was trying to figure out how to do work and school remotely.
But just because the topic isn’t on the forefront of the mainstream media these days doesn’t mean the story has played out. As we approach the time when many schools would resume classes, coupled with U.S. federal unemployment assistance set to expire July 31st, we are beginning to see an uptick again in the conversation around remote work and learning.
There are still a lot of questions and unmet needs in this conversational space and smart brands will continue paying attention for opportunities to provide answers. A search of that periphery reveals myriad ideas to consider.
Another particularly impactful trend revolves around Ethical Purchasing.
If you didn’t know that Gen Z and Millennials care an awful lot about ethical concerns – you haven’t been listening online. Not only is this a primary concern of both segments, they increasingly flex their retail purchasing power when a brand or product doesn’t reflect their values.
It’s a growing trend to put brands under the microscope for a top-down assessment of their ethical practices from sourcing to sustainability. Top brands in the luxury market are paying attention and so should you.
And these generations plan to be around for a good bit of time, so expect an increase in Peter-Panning as well . . .
Life expectancies have grown considerably since the 1920’s and there are many out there despite the extra years, that find ‘adulting’ difficult or repugnant. And there’s a name for it … Peter-Panning.
Younger generations are going longer without having children while older generations clutch their PlayStation controllers. Generations across the board are holding on longer to their youthful indulgences.
While the term can allude to both a youthful playfulness or a refusal to grow up, it can be creatively leveraged from either angle. And smart brands know to explore every angle they can find. This is a trend that offers key understanding for any consumer-facing brand to be aware of and strategize around. Helping consumers capture that youthful self is huge, particularly as they’re faced daily with worries around their own mortality in the wake of COVID-19.
Overall, spotting emerging trends doesn’t have to feel like finding needles in a haystack. Visualized data powered by the next generation artificial intelligence (AI) in NetBase Quid provides the actionable intel you need. The ability to sort through massive quantities of structured and unstructured data and find relevant, accurate intel is game changing, for sure.
We help top brands spot emerging trends every day – enabling them to steer the narrative in their respective markets and discover white space ahead of competitors. And you can too. Be sure to reach out for a demo we’ll show you how.