In competitive markets, brands need to be more than aware of trends. They need to be able to detect and track emerging trends and understand the larger context behind them. They need to identify changes in consumer values, needs and wants—before they become established trends—in order to lead the market, not lag behind.
Consumer trends don’t just influence consumer spending, but they affect how people use and talk about products and services. By staying on top of up-and-coming trends, companies can leverage ideas that inspire product innovation and content creation, discover new ways to differentiate their brand and their services, pull out early from declining markets, and make smarter decisions about their marketing, communications, and sales strategies.
Why awareness of consumer trends and fads is critical to your business
Consumer trends represent the needs, desires, and beliefs that influence buying decisions—the values and attitudes that become ways of living—how people define themselves and create lifestyles. Fads, on the other hand, are fashions, colors, devices, and other things that are “in style” or “hot” for a moment, that strike suddenly and fade quickly. Brands should be aware of both, but how they use trends and fads will differ.
Fads, like viral memes and media, capture a moment well and can be used to inform short-term marketing efforts on social channels, making your brand cool and in-the-know. Consumer trends, on the other hand, stay around for the long term and helps firms see their products and brand positioning from a new perspective. Subsequently, companies can better understand and interpret the voice of the consumer and futureproof business strategies by predicting future purchasing behavior.
Ways to identify and keep up with consumer trends
There are a number of easy ways to learn about new consumer trends. In addition to checking out the latest market research and trends reports, you can:
- Subscribe to and regularly read the blogs or newsletters of key influencers in your industry
- Use tools like Google Trends and Adwords to look up trending search queries and keywords
- Attend trade shows and other industry events where you can network with influential people and leaders
- Observe your competitors—check their website and blogs for new content and keep an eye on customer reviews of their products
- Ask your customers—use market research tools like surveys and feedback forms to find out what’s on their minds
Using social data to detect and stay on top of emerging consumer trends
A simple and effective way to detect trends as they emerge, or before they become established consumer trends, is to leverage the power of social media data and social media trend analysis. Social channels offer firms easy, real-time access to a massive and (mostly) unbiased focus group – consumers that aren’t shy about sharing their opinions and frustrations. You can monitor consumers, your competitors, industry influencers, and other brands getting attention—in real-time and from the comfort of your desk.
With social media listening tools, you can aggregate and analyze mentions of your brand, your competitors, and other topics and keywords relevant to your business. The tool does the work for you, so you can spend more time using social media insights and less time searching for them.
Uncover trends and get actionable insights faster with Signals from Synthesio
To help you take the pulse of the social web, Synthesio has developed a suite of social intelligence tools combining easy-to-use social listening dashboards with powerful audience and trend analysis modules.
Signals, Synthesio’s AI-powered trend detector, identifies statistically-significant trends and insights—the peaks of engagement, or spikes in conversation volume, shifts in interest, correlations, co-mentions, and viral media—that you can use to inform your marketing and PR strategies. Using state-of-the-art data science algorithms, Signals processes and analyzes billions of online conversations, surfacing the trending topics, images, and videos your brand should know about. Signals provides you with in-depth reports showing you why, where, and how trends develop—information you can use to better understand and engage consumers and stay ahead of the competition.