How to apply our Trend Canvas



Here’s a 10-minute exercise to help you apply our Consumer Trend Canvas with the an example of our Mega-Trend, META-PHYSICAL. Turn your insights into an idea! It’s that simple! In this case, consider it your fast-track to the metaverse! Let’s go! 🚀

At TrendWatching, we’ve spent the last two decades developing a tool that is designed to help you put trends into action.

If you’re not already acquainted, allow us to introduce you to the Consumer Trend Canvas – a priceless piece of kit in the TrendWatching ToolBox that’s helped brands across the world bring bold new ideas to market. This worksheet (whether completed virtually or IRL) provides a step-by-step framework for creating innovations.

Before we go any further: a request. If you haven’t read our 22 Trends for 22, then hop to it. Our latest Make->Shift special is your crucial manual for the 12 months ahead: It includes a collection of 22 purpose-driven business opportunities along with 5 consumer mega-trends that your brand can’t afford to miss.

One of those mega-trends, META-PHYSICAL, is all about the rise of web3 and what that means for brands across all industries. In this demonstration, we’ll show you how to translate this mega-trend into a boundary-pushing business innovation that actually responds to the wants and needs of the modern consumer. So, without further ado… 

Step One | Blank Canvas

Here it is – the naked canvas. Start by writing your chosen trend in the top left-hand corner.

META-PHYSICAL looks at the ongoing convergence of physical and digital worlds. Society is on the cusp of an internet revolution: While yesterday’s web was dominated by websites and social media’s infinite scroll, the next iteration will be defined by virtual worlds, metaverses, and augmented digital-physical realities. 

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical -blank

Step Two | Inspiration 

Start by looking for innovations – products, services, marketing campaigns or business concepts which are shaking up Business As Usual and setting new consumer expectations. If you don’t have a stable of trusty research resources, finding relevant innovations can take quite a while. We recommend browsing Fast Company, Design Boom, or Innovation of the Day (😁) to find examples of META-PHYSICAL in action.
To make things simple, we will be plucking innovations straight out of 22 for ‘22. We’ve chosen the Government of Wales’ educational online platform Career’s Craft; the virtual fashion design platform, The Fabricant Studio; and Pollinator Park, a VR experience that explores a future without bees and other pollen spreaders.

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical-inspiration


Step Three | Basic Needs 

Now, think about how your chosen mega-trend and innovations cater to basic human needs. ‘What are basic human needs?’ you ask. It can be anything from the need for human connection to the need for creative self-expression. There are no wrong answers here but choosing more than four or five might complicate the process so go light on the post-its! 

For us, the need for personal identity and self-expression will be irrevocably changed by this mega-trend, as people find new, digital avenues to present themselves. We also think META-PHYSICAL taps into the timeless need for community, and that these new online communities will create new ways to build social status. And of course, perhaps the most obvious human need that META-PHYSICAL fulfils: entertainment

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical-basic-needs


Step Four | Drivers of Change

When we discuss Drivers of Change (DoC) they can be split into two – long-term shifts that move slowly over time, and triggers that immediately change the industry landscape and influence consumer behavior rapidly. There’s often overlap between shifts and triggers so don’t worry too much about filing them under the ‘correct’ column, so to speak.

For META-PHYSICAL, one shift could be the rise of new digital technologies such as AR, VR, and MR (new realities), social media, or the gradual movement towards more decentralized digital platforms

As for triggers, we opted for the Meta gold rush with brands scrambling in the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s October announcement, and the rapid shift to remote work prompted by the pandemic which has led people to engage virtually in evermore creative ways.

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical-DoC


Step Five | Emerging Expectations

It’s time to identify how this mega-trend is setting new expectations in the minds of consumers. Having looked closely at our selected innovations, it would be fair to assume that tomorrow’s consumers will expect brands to provide virtual spaces that allow them to escape the mundanity of the IRL world. Consumers will also expect to be offered new avenues for self-expression, and they’ll look favorably upon brands that create virtual community spaces where they can connect with like-minded people. It’s interesting to see how innovations like Pollinator Park are setting new expectations for educational content.

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical-emerging-expectations


Step Six | Innovation Type

We’re reaching the end of the canvas – only a couple more steps to go! We like to categorize innovations as services, products, campaigns, experiences or concepts, but the most interesting innovations are those that blur boundaries. Each of the innovations we’ve chosen for this canvas (Careers Craft, The Fabricant Studio, and Pollinator Park) offer a service but with an experiential spin. We’ve plotted a few potential innovation formats on the canvas below: 

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical-innovation-type


Step Seven | Who?

Who is your innovation for? You will have the best knowledge for this. Are there specific generational groups, regions, or niches that would benefit from your innovation? Don’t feel restricted by your brand’s current target audience. We decided to focus on digital natives – who surveys have found are the most open and willing to test out metaverse-style activations.

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical - who


Step Eight | Your Innovation

You’ve made it! Time to collate all the information you’ve gathered so far and come up with a new innovation of your own. Our creation? A Snapchat-based geo-tagging game which invites players to discover sustainable stores, attractions, and restaurants in their locality. Once users have visited 10 places, they’ll be rewarded with a virtual token which can be redeemed at any of the participating retailers or restaurants.

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.

Consumer Trend Canvas - metaphysical-completed


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.


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