The trend report you don’t want to miss

Last year I told you about JWT's (J Walter Thompson) Top 12 Trends Report for 2010.  It's by far the most comprehensive and helpful of any of the trend pieces we see this time of year.

Here's a quick video peek at their trends for 2011. (e-mail subscribers, click here to view)




I had a chance to ask Ann Mack, JWT's Director of Trendspotting a few questions about the report.  As you can imagine, I'm sure she was crazy busy as the report has just been released.  So I am grateful that she took the time. Here's what she had to say:

Q1.  What trend is the most surprising to you/your team?

If there are two trends that stand out to me this year, it’s our Eat, Pray, Tech trend and our De-Teching trend—they both address our increasing dependency on technology but from opposite angles. 

Eat, Pray, Tech speaks to the fact that high-tech devices and services (and the skills to use them) are fast becoming as integral to people as food and clothing. In an interconnected, tech-driven and -enabled marketplace, the latest technology is becoming more than just a luxury or a guilty pleasure.

At the same time, as our dependency on technology rises, so too will our desire to dial it down. De-Teching speaks to the idea that more people will log off—at least temporarily—or engage in one tech activity at a time in an effort to re-engage in the offline present and/or to rewire their brains to be more effective.  

Q2.  What trend do you think has the most significance for small business owners?

One of the trends that is significant to small business owners is Non-Commitment Culture—the idea that people are increasingly opting for choices that require a less permanent commitment because they are reluctant to commit to discretionary or big-ticket purchases. Consumers will be more likely to rent goods, buy them one year and sell them the next, or share them with friends.

Small business owners can take advantage of this trend by working within this non-commitment culture—helping to enable the sharing/borrowing of their products or lowering the commitment required to buy into their products and services.

Otherwise, they will need to provide incentives to counteract these consumer leanings—by offering added value (such as cutting-edge technology, a more green product, customization options, etc.), by helping to allay the risk around long-term commitments or by showing why long-term commitments can be worthy investments.

Q3.  What trend do you think has the most B-to-B relevance?

Worlds Colliding has a lot of B-to-B relevance. It speaks to the borders between the online world and the physical world becoming increasingly fuzzy. Mobile gadgets are bridging the two worlds (the Web accompanies you and helps you navigate the physical realm), and all kinds of objects/devices are becoming Internet-enabled.

So not only will we have a multitude of connected gadgets (from e-readers to phones to televisions), but objects like fridges or even dog collars will connect to the Internet (alerting us that we need certain groceries, for example).

The latter is often referred to as the Internet of Things. Businesses will need to forge relevant partnerships with providers of applications, tools or devices to enable this merger of the online and physical worlds. 

Q4.  If you owned a business and had read the entire report — what two or three questions would you be asking yourself?

  • How can my business better reflect the lifestyle of the digital native so that it seamlessly bridges the virtual and real worlds (with little distinction in my communications, products, tools, etc.)?
  • What products or services can I offer to help people step away from technology (at least temporarily), focus on the offline present, mono-task or connect with others in the real world?
  • How can I endorse the non-commitment mind-set without hurting new, fresh sales?


Their full report is 88 pages and it's packed with not only the 10 trends, but they take each trend and dig into the following:

  • The trend itself
  • Drivers of the trend
  • How the trend manifests itself
  • Case studies and examples
  • Significance/relevance
  • Potential
  • Questions to get you thinking about the trend and your own product/service/business

It really is an incredibly insightful tool that will have you thinking differently about not only how you market your business but how you run your business.

You can read more about the report and purchase it here.



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7 comments on “The trend report you don’t want to miss

  1. Ann’s answer to #1 hits me exactly. I love my Mac and iPhone and go almost nowhere without them. However I’ve been taking my sketch pad with me more places so that I can quickly jot down ideas and do mindmaps. Much faster (and lighter) than a laptop, and faster than using my iPhone for the same function.

  2. Great Q&A there Drew. The “Worlds Colliding” concept intrigues me, but I think we’re still a few years away from wireless dog collars (with GPS? could be a good seller actually…)

  3. Interesting – to me it seems society is becoming more diverse – on the one hand the ones described here and on the other hand those who oppose trends and go back to old ways – no pc no nothing. I guess a happy medium might be the balance we are lookign for,

    Frieke Karlovits

  4. Robert,

    I find myself sometimes trying to force fit a device to a task too. Sometimes the old fashioned way is simply easier and better.

    I’m guessing that for most heavy tech users, the pendulum swings back to center in most cases and they can find the right balance. I’m still working on it!


  5. Andy,

    I agree, they would be good sellers…or for those of us who have already put a chip in our cat or dog — simply selling us access to the GPS tools that the company must have would be a start.

    It’s an interesting time we live in!


  6. Frieke,

    No doubt! As I said in my comment to Robert, I think gadget and tech people tend to go off the deep end at first and most of them (okay, us) end up back in the middle.

    But you have to go a little crazy first…and then when the frenzy dies down, you can adjust to the best solution — no matter which side of the fence it is.

    The cold turkey, no technology would be pretty tough for most business people today. Having some access and knowledge is the price of entry, I think.


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