Is Your Brand Setting Trends with Community?

With Paris Fashion Week in full motion, it’s a timely opportunity to think about how brands are “setting the trend.” While some fashion brands are on the Communispace roster, our clients are always, metaphorically, putting their products and services on the runway. And we all know a consumer insights analyst or marketers Holy Grail is truly, “how do I get ahead of the curve in terms of trends?”

This question came into my mind recently, as I watched a documentary called, “The Life and Times of Bill Cunningham.” Bill Cunningham is a New York Times fashion photographer (and legend) who is widely known and admired for capturing trends, both by celebrities and (more importantly) regular folks, on the streets of New York. During the movie, when asked about how he has been able to get ahead of the trend, he said something that struck me … he goes to the shows (where the experts are), the evening events (where fashion is to the extreme), and the streets (where the regular folks are wearing it and making their own real life combinations).

So let’s take a look at the Communispace Community Equivalent to …

The Runways: Expert Communities
Expert communities help provide an environment where experts from all different fields are able to discuss trends in their area of expertise, provide inspiration and co-create; all on a curve ahead of the average consumer. While their expertise is united by one common interest, sometimes their differences in occupation or area of focus can often provoke conversation and research beyond our own intuition.

The High Profile Celebrity Events: Brand Loyalist Communities
Brand loyalists always have plenty of things to say about a particular product. They are tried and true brand lovers and there’s something they can provide about your brand that others can’t – which makes them love you so much. Understanding this core truth can help marketers understand why your product makes a difference in their life.

The Streets: Behavior Driven (i.e. Shoppers) or Gen Pop Communities
While it’s important to be thinking about your brand first, sometimes you need to be learning from people “on the street” to find new growth opportunities of how your product can help fulfill people beyond your target’s wants or needs. Also, while companies often plan for consumers to use a product in a particular way, it’s also important to get true life experiences and stories on how they are really using it and what could be done to improve the experience.

When thinking about product development or what new trend will help provide competitiveness for our clients, it’s often the ones who use a complementary approach that are more likely to find new growth and product development opportunities.

So … how is your brand getting ahead of the trend?