The consumer trend canvas is a simple framework for understanding consumer trends and uncovering innovation opportunities. The consumer trend canvas is a simple framework for identifying consumer trends and creating value-based innovation. The framework encourages successful innovation that is customer-centric without necessarily being consumer-led. That is, it encourages businesses to identify trends before they become mainstream.
Understanding the consumer trend canvas
Many organizations believe consumer trends are mysterious, opaque, abstract, or difficult to predict. What’s more, they seem to come as quickly as they go.
In today’s expectation economy, many trends emerge from where quality, positive impact, and personal expression meet. Uber is regarded as having started a trend based on prompt, interactive, and personalized service across multiple domains. On the other hand, socially responsible companies such as Patagonia have revolutionized guilt-free consumption and so-called ‘meaningful consumerism’.
The two components of the consumer trend canvas
The consumer trend canvas is comprised of two components which in turn are divided into parts.
Let’s take a look at each component and part below.
1 – Analyze
- Basic needs – what are meaningful consumer needs the trend addresses? It’s important to realize that trends are driven by fundamental needs that rarely change. Some of the more common needs driving consumer behavior include social status, self-improvement, connection, identity, freedom, entertainment, and simplicity.
- Drivers of change – why is the trend occurring now? Trends are invariably driven by change as consumers satisfy their needs in more novel or exciting ways. To analyze change, the business must consider shifts and triggers. Shifts are long-term, macro changes such as urbanization and the climate emergency. Triggers are more immediate factors driving the emergence of a trend, including new technology, environmental accidents, or economic shocks.
- Emerging consumer expectations – what are the new needs, desires, or wants created by the change? How does the trend satisfy them? Identifying these unmet needs is the key to creating innovative products. In other words, is there a gap between what the consumer wants and what they currently have?
- Inspiration – how are other businesses applying the trend? In most cases, innovation results when previously unrelated information is combined and deployed in a new, useful, context. Companies should find their inspiration from a wide gamut of industries, perspectives, regions, and cultures.
2 – Apply
This component consists of three more parts:
- Innovation potential – how and where might the trend be applied? How will the trend influence the company’s business model or vision? Will new products, services, or marketing campaigns need to be created? The business must avoid jumping on a trend for the sake of it, particularly when the trend is not aligned with organizational, industry, or cultural values.
- Who – or the new customer group likely to be impacted by a trend. Linking a specific demographic to a trend is simple in hindsight. However, the business must find a way to make the trend relevant to a new group of people to be truly innovative.
- Innovation – from the information gathered above, new and innovative ideas should then be brainstormed and recorded. Each session should be led by a competent moderator who provides a creative environment and encourages a diverse range of opinions.
- The consumer trend canvas is a comprehensive and holistic framework for identifying new consumer trends and developing innovative products or services.
- The consumer trend canvas stresses the importance of customer-centric trends over customer-led trends. By the time a trend is led by customers, it is likely too late for a new player to take advantage of it.
- The consumer trend canvas requires the business to describe trends in terms of six key parts: basic consumer needs, drivers of change, emerging consumer expectations, inspiration, innovation potential, and new consumers or consumer demographics.
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