How to Identify a Fad VS a Trend

The duration of a trend is determined by a number of factors, including:

  • differentiation - how unique and remarkable the new trending product or service may be

  • superiority - how well the product or service compares to a close comparative offering

  • newness - how long the trending products or services has been in the market

  • performance - how well the trending products or services perform in relation to customer/ user expectation

  • customer community - how the user/ customer community interacts and uses the new product or service, what potential size might exist for this trend

  •  aesthetics - how timeless the design of the product or service experience may be

  • ground breaking - is this a total revolution or a simple evolution

  • market category - does the trend product or service create a new market category


So let's imagine that we've identified some dawning trends, uncovered some uncertainties and some disruptors. We can use a series of graphs to help us plot the potential success of a trend and then make a more informed decision about it.


Differentiation - there are some industries where differentiation is crucial and others where being too different can be a death knell, for example - the legal industry.

Differentiation is important because people become bored easily and therefore it can become an effective strategy to grab someones attention.

When we think about a new trend, it grabs our attention and gets us starting to think differently about something and gets us talking. Simply put when assessing an emerging trend ask yourself "Is this unique or really different to what currently exists?" "Is this truly unique or is it simply a predictable evolution or improvement of something that already exists?" "Is this product/ service remarkable i.e.. does it give me something to remark about?"


You might consider asking:

  • "What would be something remarkable about our potential product or services' usability?'

  • "What would be something remarkable about our potential product or services' efficiency?'

  • "What would be something remarkable about our potential product or services' advisability?'

  • "What would be something remarkable about our potential product or services' physicality?'

  •  "What would be something remarkable about our potential product or "What would be something remarkable about our potential product or services' interaction?'


Superiority - here we want to assess how well the potential product or service trend compares to a close comparative offering. You might consider asking:

  • "How effective is it?'
  • "How efficient is it?'
  •  "How much customer delight does it create?'
  • "How much value does it create?'
  • "How much more affordable is it?'

Newness - how long the trending products or services have been in the market. You might consider asking:

  • "Has anyone seen anything like this before?'
  • "When did this trend first come onto the scene?' "
  • "How long have people been playing in this space?'


Performance - how well the trending products or services perform in relation to customer/ user expectation. You might consider asking:

  • "How well does this trending product/ service meet the customer expectation?"
  • "How many needs or desires does the product/ service satisfy?"
  •  "How many aversions or frustrations does the trending product/ service deal with?"
  • "How importantly does this product or service trend factor into a customers life?"


Community - how the user/ customer community interacts and uses the new product or service.
Communities can play a big part in the success of a product, and part of this can sometimes be made up by the "why'. For example "this trending product/ service exists for the cause of making life easier for single mums". Having a cause creates bigger community participation and trend duration. Ask:

  • "Is there a cause behind this trend or movement?"
  • "Does the trend exclude a crowd?" Some trends are successful because they exclude people so that it appeals a very specific customer group which in turn increases the loyalty of the trending product or service.
  • "How many people could this trend attract or how deep would the pockets of a niche market be for this trend?"


Aesthetics - how timeless the design of the product or service experience may be. Looks can play a huge part in trend longevity. Questions worth asking include:

  •  "Is the design novel or enduring?"
  • "If I owned this in 10 years time would it still appeal to me?"
  •  "Does the design seem timeless or dated?"
  • "Is there anything clunky or annoying about the design or experience that frustrates me?"


Ground Breaking - is this a total revolution or a simple evolution. Consider asking:

  • "Does this finally deal with a problem that we've had for so long?"
  •  "If this didn't come along would we be any worse off?"
  • "Will this change my life or our customers life in some way, shape or form?"
  • "Is this totally going to change the way we do things?"
  •  "Will this mean the end of an era and a beginning of a new one?"


Market category - did the product or service create a new market category. Consider asking:

  • "Is this going to create a new market?"
  • "Is this going to create new niche in the market?"
  • "Will this take it's market share from an existing market place"


Conclusion

Now that we have a number of criteria and question to assess a trend we can use a polar bar chart to plot the impact of this trend to help in our decisions making.
To keep things simple consider using a scale of 0 to 10. 


For example, for differentiation on a scale of 0 to 10, how remarkable and unique is the trending product/ service? If it's not even remarkable you might give it a score of 2 and then plot it on the polar bar chart. Repeat the activity for all the other criteria and you have your trend analysis chart.

We'd love to hear how you go with this, please ping us a message to let us know about your success.

Thanks for reading. 

Cheers,
Nils

Nils Vesk

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About Nils Vesk


He's the founder of Ideas With Legs.

His  clients call him a Reinvention Renegade. Nils Vesk is an international authority on innovation and the inventor of the ‘Innovation Archetypes Process’.

Around the globe, leading companies such as Nestle, HP & Pfizer turn to Nils to share his unique game changing innovation techniques for formulating commercial insights, ideas, extraordinary customer experiences and irresistible products. Nils unpacks the million-dollar innovation principles used to create rapid growth for the future.

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