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Description: Gather your team and create a boundary-pushing innovation by using our Consumer Trend Canvas. In this quick walkthrough, we demonstrate how to apply JOYNING to your brand.
Finished reading 22 for ‘22? Let’s put that newfound knowledge to good use. Introducing… the Consumer Trend Canvas (or CTC) – a strategy tool that we’ve used with countless brands over the past two decades to help turn inspiration into real-life innovations.
Below, we’ll take you on a walkthrough of the CTC, focusing on our JOYNING mega-trend.
By the end, you’ll be able to come up with your very own awe-inspiring innovation that fits future consumers’ wants and needs perfectly. Let’s get started!
Step One | Blank Canvas
Your first step is to write down your chosen trend in the top left corner – in this case, that is the mega-trend JOYNING.
So, what’s the big idea? Even before COVID lockdowns, loneliness and social anxiety were on the rise, in part due to an increase in social media use and a decline in offline interactions. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has exacerbated our digital lifestyles and reset notions about traditional markers of success – a home, a family, a stable job. As consumers navigate an uncertain future, forging meaningful online and IRL connections will become increasingly valuable. Where can you create opportunities for people to foster connections that are genuine, supportive, and meaningful?
Step Two | Inspiration
Kick things off with a healthy dose of inspiration by sourcing innovations which demonstrate this trend in action. Take a look at your favorite publications (Innovation of the Day, perhaps) where innovations are heavily featured and try searching for a variety of products, services, campaigns, and concepts that exemplify the trend you’re trying to unpack.
We’ve taken our innovations from 22 for ‘22. The first being Douyin’s in-app feature which lets users connect with people nearby simply by shaking their phone. Travel Hands, an organization which connects people who are blind with local volunteers so they can safely navigate public spaces, is our second innovation, with Electric Daisy Carnival’s virtual party and GetSetUp’s social platform for older consumers also making appearances.
Step Three | Basic Needs
In this stage, there are no wrong answers, as long as you can explain your choice. Have a think about which unchanging basic human needs JOYNING fulfills?
We think this mega-trend has heightened people’s need for (genuine) connection and their willingness to be part of a community, while also magnifying the need to be able to express oneself freely and to feel supported.
A quick pro-tip: go light on the post-its, it will make things easier when we reach the end of our CTC exercise.
Step Four | Drivers of Change
Drivers of Change (DoC) are another key element in identifying and unpacking trends. By ‘Drivers of Change’ we mean the long-term shifts and short-term triggers that influence consumer opinions and behavior.
Some JOYNING shifts might include the boom in social media or the widespread loneliness that societies across the globe have been battling for years. On the other hand, you could describe the pandemic as a trigger – prompting people to reconnect with their local community, or to seek out new virtual hangout spaces (e.g. Zoom and Clubhouse).
If you’re ever unsure about what is classified as a shift or a trigger, reach out to friends or colleagues (online or in-person) for their opinions and practice some IRL JOYNING!
Step Five | Emerging Expectations
The final step in analyzing our trend is to look back over the previous segments we’ve completed and use our insights to figure out where consumer expectations are headed next. We won’t revisit what consumers want exactly (as you’ve already identified consumers’ basic needs), but rather figure out what consumers will perceive as the ‘new normal’.
As for JOYNING, we expect that tomorrow’s consumers will want to connect with like-minded people, niche groups, and soulmates in an accessible and frictionless manner. Brands that succeed in fostering these liquid connections, both online and IRL (or a combination of both – hello Electric Daisy Carnival), will win long-term consumer loyalty.
JOYNING is also built on the idea of using these new and old connections in a virtual or physical landscape as a means to share thoughts, ideas, advance causes, build movements, help each other, and create change.
Step Six | Innovation Type
On to the Apply section of our almost-finished Consumer Trend Canvas! Take your brand, a brand you admire or would like to work for, or a brand that could use a little helping hand in the JOYNING department and think about how your innovation could take shape.
We categorize innovations as services, products, campaigns, experiences, or concepts, but the most inspiring innovations are often those that transcend categories – for instance, a concept product which sparks important conversations (despite never hitting the market), or a pop-up consumer experience which doubles as a marketing campaign.
Step Seven | Who?
Who is your innovation for? Which regional, generational, or very niche groups might it appeal to? Perhaps your brand already has a strong grasp on one demographic segment: How might this trend specifically apply to them?
The human need for connection is universal – no matter your age, gender, race, or location. For the purposes of this walkthrough, we’re going to focus on older consumers, but try to think of a few different audiences that would benefit from a JOYNING initiative.
Step Eight | Your Innovation
You have reached the final step of our CTC journey – congrats! We’ve carefully completed every step and now we’re ready to use all of the information we’ve gathered and channel it into one, truly expectation-setting innovation.
Our idea? One of the main reasons older people struggle to get online, is a lack of accessible (i.e. non-virtual) information on setting up basic internet infrastructure. We propose a real-world marketing campaign, whereby young volunteers visit the homes of older consumers to help them get online. The campaign would also include a no-nonsense, printed book with senior-friendly instructions on the basics of the internet – including a helpline for those who need it.
And voila! There you have it. If you’d like a more in-depth walkthrough of the Consumer Trend Canvas – and to learn more about how we spot and identify trends more broadly – sign up to TrendWatching Academy.