It all started with when Sheri Schmeizer and her three children decided that their Crocs shoes could use a little bit more style. After all, they were the latest craze, and people of all ages young and old were wearing them, but they wanted to do something to put their personalities into them. So they used clay and rhinestones to create distinct little charms that fit perfectly into the holes of the Crocs.
Soon after, the kids started coming home with stories of their classmates wanting to know where they could get their own custom charms. That’s when Rich, Sherri’s husband saw an opportunity to take advantage of the Crocs trend that was sweeping the country, ride it all the way to the top.
With funding from a home equity loan, Jibbitz was founded in 2005. In just a little over a year later, the company was acquired by Crocs for $20 million!
Jibbitz isn’t the only company that has gotten a boost from a trend. Target spotted the trend toward a design lifestyle. They soon became one of the biggest contributors to this trend, and helped to bring it to the mainstream. Apple’s iPod got a huge boost from the online music sharing trend. Now they sell the most popular mp3 player in the world.
An ability to perceptively spot trends is a vital part of putting your company ahead of the competition. But recognizing a trend is only half of the equation. It’s even more important that you take action. What good is it to spot a trend if you can’t take advantage of the coming wave?
This is where it becomes important to not only look for trends, but to look for them early. I’ve compiled a list of 20 different how to tips, tools, blogs and websites that can help you in spotting trends. They are organized into different categories.
Get out of your office! Go somewhere that everyone seems to be. Watch people interact with each other. What are they doing? What are they wearing? Who is the center of attention? Why? Look for something different. Something unique.
Listen. Learn to listen to people (even the ones you can’t stand). Try to figure out why they think and believe what they do. Be curious. Ask questions and listen some more.
Volunteer. Getting involved with a project where you can give back will help you to get out of your comfort zone and into an a new environment with different people.
Watch the Celebs. No matter how much we hate it, celebrities often have access to fashions, products and trends before they go mainstream. When it comes to fashion they can even influence trends and consumer buying behavior.
Read something different. Once a week, pick up a magazine or trade journal from a totally different industry. What’s transforming the industry? How could this be applied to your business or product?
Dedicated to Trends
TrendsSpotting follows the behaviors and attitudes of internet users and regularly report and conduct surveys. Contributors to the site express their professional opinions on emerging trends and what they mean to you.
PSFK is one of my favorite sources for discovering emerging trends from around the world. The blog consistently delivers surprising observations. They also host a number of great conferences throughout the year.
Springwise boasts more than 8,000 “Springspotters” from around the world, all on the lookout for emerging trends. The site is a hub for entrepreneurs looking for their next business ideas.
Trend Hunter Magazine bring observations from a wide range of topics. The site provides 99 different RSS feeds, broken down into different categories, so that you can hone in on trends in a certain niche or industry. Trend Hunter also issues a number of reports and presentations.
Cool Hunting is blog that is self described as “a daily update on ideas and products in the intersection of art, design, culture and technology.” I find Cool Hunting to be an awesome source for a look at design trends, modern urban lifestyle, fashion and arts.
NOTCOT is a daily showcase of inspiring design works from around the world, “fighting the good fight against ‘creative block’ since 2005.” (NOTCOT.org, and Tastespotting are some other great sites in the NOTCOT network.)
Design*Sponge is a daily website/blog dedicated to home and product design. The site even sports a special mini trends section, exploring waves of small trends (colors, styles, patterns) as they are spotted.
Josh Spear covers everything from Design to gadgets to travel. It’s a must following for anyone wanting to stay ahead of the curve.
Rapid Online Trends
Google Search Trends is a tool with which you can cross search different terms and compare them. Do some research here.
You will find Google Hot Trends on this same page. This feature has become a valuable source of information providing rapid search trend reports. There have been numerous times where I have spotted major news on Google Trends, hours before the news broke on the national stations. By subscribing to the feed, you will receive updates every hour reporting Googles top 100 searches from the last hour.
Viral Video Chart is the ultimate source for tracking what’s moving in video. Their Top 20 Viral Chart is by far the most popular, but the site also breaks the videos down into different categories to help you fine-tune your research.
Trendpedia is a tool that scans blog content, making it easy to compare popular topics graphically. Find out what’s hot and what’s not.
Twist performs a similar function to Trendpedia, only comparing Twitter content trends.
Summize is a tool that makes it easy to search Twitter updates.
What’s your method for spotting trends?