Community Manager, Elisa Chiniara takes a look at fashion blogs to explore how trendspotting can help understand the motivations behind customer preferences and indentify unmet needs.
I should probably preface this post by saying this isn’t a fashion advice post, far from it. In fact I would never even try to give fashion advice since my style could be described as “first thing I see that kind of looks good together.” Though I definitely enjoy seeing how others express themselves through fashion.
Luckily for me, there are two go-to blogs I check out from time to time: “The Sartorialist” or “The Locals” for mostly Scandinavian/Danish street fashion. I will acknowledge that these street style blogs are subjective in who the bloggers who choose to photograph and take it with a grain of salt. Looking through these blogs, I sometimes find myself being inspired to try harder than just grabbing the first thing I see and be a little more creative (it’s the exception and not the rule.)
Though one thing I begin to notice are trends. I wouldn’t call myself a fashion trendspotter, but it’s hard not to notice similarities when looking at what people are wearing. Ultimately, this is how we define different types of people – ranging from hipster to preppy to avant-garde to “first thing I see” and everywhere in between.
I realized though, the way I look at these blogs isn’t that different from the way I facilitate my communities. What do I mean? Well, it’s no secret that marketers are interested in trends – and not just fashion trends. What’s cool? Who’s wearing what? Where are they shopping? What’s next? It’s hard not to get sucked into all the questions. Part of the fun of facilitating a community is noticing the trends and helping marketers not only understand the trends but also the motivation behind the trends.
When it comes to motivation, I could honestly spend all day making up stories about Louise the 25-year-old student who oozes casual nonchalance with a sense of pink whimsy or this New Yorker wearing L.L. Bean boots in October completely oblivious to the winter he was about to endure (or maybe that was what caused him to scowl) and why they chose to wear what they did that day. But the stories I can make up pale in comparison to the reality. I’d love to hear the stories of the how’s and why’s from these characters who fill the streets by digging deeper to understand how people select their style and what they feel it means about them.
Fortunately, that’s the beauty of a community, where I don’t have to make up the stories, but I do learn directly from the people behind the trends. The community allows me to understand the how’s and why’s of why people do what they do, their personalities, their likes, dislikes and their needs. In engaging in an ongoing conversation, I am better able to help my clients uncover the motivations behind the trends to spot what unmet needs might exist and anticipate the next trends. Which is what makes my job as a Community Manger so fun: I get to tell the story by getting to know the people behind the trends and looking beyond the street style.