The Spielwarenmesse trend information arrives to companies through different channels; website, news, articles, presentations, the exhibition, et cetera, but getting the data is the first step. Companies need to understand how to use the knowledge, how to apply everything to their business and how to approach this information for the benefit of most of their departments.
Trends are not only useful for designers
A common misconception related to trends is that they are valuable for designers only. Even if it is indeed a wonderful tool for designers, it is also very useful for other professionals and departments among the company.
- STRATEGY. Trends assist defining the business model and contribute to the design of the strategic plan. They can serve as a base to analyze key products and restructure the product portfolio. Trends help detect market gaps and determine strategic product lines.
- R&D. Trends support research for the development of innovations, the applications of new materials and manufacturing methods.
- DESIGN. Trends inspire to develop concepts, detect new product opportunities; functionalities, topics... Trends inspire aesthetics like color palette, fabrics and patterns, et cetera.
- MARKETING. Trends help define and plan communication campaigns, determine communication and distribution channels, select influencers, improve services, as well as support the creation of meaningful digital content.
- SALES. Trends offer relevant sales arguments, backing up the importance of specific products.
What really matters from trends and how to apply them
Trends are usually presented with the support of innovative examples. That is wonderful as it helps explain how to translate the general, complex information into specific services, products or marketing campaigns. However, companies should avoid copying those examples.
The most relevant thing to do is to assimilate the main concepts behind the trend and then think how that could be implemented in a concrete business plan. For instance, the most important idea of the 2019 trend The Wow Effect is to develop something that makes kids totally surprised. That is the main insight behind this trend.
Companies should determine not only the insights that support a trend, but also the different concepts that are linked to the insights. Examining this information provides companies with a huge range of ideas, which they can enlarge by carrying out a design challenge. In the case of the Wow Effect, it could be developing products and strategies that generate an unforeseen effect somehow: an unpredictable effect, an unexpected play proposal, an unusual aesthetic, et cetera.
To support this process companies can use different tools like mind maps and moodboards. Mind maps are diagrams to organize all the information related to the main trend, its insights, and the concepts that are behind them. Moodboards can give a more visual feeling for the trend (materials, aesthetics,…). And there are many more methods to stimulate creativity. Sometimes companies apply their own systems of analysis to trends.
How to profit from trends most
No doubt, trends represent a great tool for innovations in several aspects of a business. Companies need to deeply comprehend the main concepts behind a trend in order to take advantage of a trend. Then all departments have to be taken into consideration how they can benefit from this kind of information.