How to Measure Trends?
By Marianne Korten
"In life, as in chess, forethought wins."
Wouldn't it be great to predict your future? To know exactly what your customers and suppliers think and want? When you check trends in your industry will this help you to put the chess pieces in the right position on the board to win the game? This article will focus on how to deal with trends to sharpen your business focus.
We like to know what can be expected in order to plan and act in an appropriate and effective way. When we ask ourselves what the benefits are of following trends, our replies include: to increase success and revenue, to create a positive and modern image, to control the future, to better serve our customers.
An interesting question would be: "what happens if we don't?". The opposite of the above can be assumed. In fact it can be summarized as the fear of missed opportunities or of losing control and who wants that? Part of this anxiety finds its roots in our explosive information society. The access to multiple sources and perspectives drives us crazy at times. Try to capture existing trends and you will find that where one trend stops another has been born. How do we know when a trend is of value to our company and clients?
My suggestion is two fold. First focus on macro developments as a tool to frame trends and second look within to make a decision.
Start with the broader picture to put trends into perspective. At the moment we discern general and clear global movements such as: the importance and integration of personal and environmental wellness, the demand for transparency and integrity, the longing for authenticity and clarity. These macro developments produce industry trends for instance: the marketing of products and services such as wellness themes in traveling, events and luxury goods. The popularity of branding our business refers to the development of presenting a clear and consistent image, to stand out from the rest.
Stay aware of the counter trends. While some organizations focus on one service or product only, other companies offer a one-stop-shop service. Although we are eager to present our uniqueness, at the same time we do not want to be an island and we become members of associations, alliances and organisations that share our vision. Each choice creates its opposite.
Knowing the macro developments and the duality of our decisions, we have a touchstone to measure trends that you spot in your company, branch or industry.
After you have turned your focus outward to the major existing trends, it is time to look within. How do we want to act upon the ideas we encounter? The following steps provide a process to make a decision about a trend.
- Consider the source: who mentions the trend and why and has it anything to do with your core business?
- Link the trend with your company's mission and vision: is it in line with your corporation's values and goals?
- Check the connection with your existing strategic plans: will it fit your future activities and resources?
- Ask your staff and business partners for their opinion on the effects of following this trend.
- State the long term consequences: a trend is a short term translation of a long term development: make a 'swot' analysis about the trend's foreseen effects. Choose long term value over instant success.
- Trust your gut feeling. Do you imagine your company to be successful if it follows a certain trend? Do you apply the trend out of fear or trust?
- Decide upon your company's trend position: are you a trend-setter, a trend-watcher or a trend-processor? Are you interested to start, observe or implement trends?
To create more success, we should have a clear picture of our surroundings and of ourselves. With a pure external focus, we will lose sight of our inner wisdom and purpose. Measuring trends is measuring ourselves.
As in chess, it is not only the position of the pieces of your opponent that will influence your moves, it is thinking ahead how your own actions will affect the outcome of the game. Stay focused and create your own future!
Marianne Korten runs a personal and professional development company Soul at Work in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She focuses on uplifting communication worldwide by offering individual and group coaching and training services. Her clients gain greater self-confidence, trust and skills to create the (business) life they want. Popular topics by demand are: public speaking skills, networking skills, career changes and finding your personal mission and vision. International companies and expatriates benefit from her expertise in the international meetings industry, of working with a variety of cultures and her personal skills as a certified coach, trainer, speaker and columnist. Sign up for her free E-Newsletter on: http://www.soul-at-work.com
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