How to spot key trends and capitalize on them before they disappear

Whether your team won or lost the Super Bowl, one thing is for certain: Super Bowl ads hold everyone’s attention—or at least they should.

Spending millions upon billions of dollars is no road untraveled for big brands and their Super Bowl investments. The funniest and most captivating ads of the year air aiming to hold your hearts, move you to tears (did you catch the Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale?) and make you laugh like you’ve never laughed before. Creating these ads, however, means a year of research trying to keep up with the consumer. This means appealing to current trends and tastes, crowdsourcing to have your audience do your work for you. The ability to connect with a mobile audience is essential, too.

Appealing Away the Consumer Orange

Consumers can be fickle but they can also be loyal. As stores often say, the customer is always right. They are the core to every advertising campaign—whether your commercial is airing during the Super Bowl or during a weekly game show. The key to appealing to your consumer is to spot key trends and capitalize on them before they disappear.

Trendspotting

With the advent of mobile technology and waning attention spans, it is now more important than ever to expand conventional consumer research practices towards innovative tactics for gathering insights and spotting trends. Turn your advertising research techniques into rapid customer-centric processes that build on emerging trends. How? Listen to what your target market has to say based on conversations with key influencers, social media interests (i.e. hashtags, trending topics). Go beyond the questionnaires by using ads and more to ask your audience what they want.

Customer Engagement—Spotting and Setting Trends

Using engaging content to harness your customers’ attention is key to spotting and setting trends. During the Super Bowl, Coca Cola turned engagement into a fun exercise by asking the audience to choose a winner.

Source: Coke-YouTube

This case study as presented on Inc.com by Geoffrey James is an effective example of how engaging and asking your customer base can be helpful:

“Rather than asking a marketer, ask your prospective customers to write your sales message.

Case Studies: Axe Body Spray, Toro Lawnmowers

Some companies have already implemented this idea in their advertising. In the book Outside Innovation, author Patricia Seybold explains how Unilever created its marketing campaign for the Axe male body spray line by opening a private online forum for men aged 17 to 23. These prospective customers came up with marketing ideas, promotional ideas, advertising ideas, and even new products.

Where Unilever’s traditional marketers has assumed that that body spray was a lifestyle product, the young men explained that body spray was all about “getting the girl,” as Seybold somewhat delicately put it.

With that observation in hand, Unilever was able to open up a new demographic with a highly successful product offering reflecting what was most important to that demographic. Here’s the video–although you should be aware that it’s a little bit risqué.

This method works with less dramatic products, too. Seybold cites the example of Toro Lawnmowers who, rather than letting their marketers write the sales messages, brought professional groundskeepers together to get a sense of what was really important to their customers.

Turns out the groundskeepers couldn’t have been less interested in the kind of features and functions that seem to fascinate most marketers. Instead, groundskeepers were mostly interested in how a lawnmower would make their job easier by saving time.

That concept was reflected in the “Timemaster” line of Toro products, where the product’s features are expressed almost entirely in terms of how they save time.

What are you doing to spot trends? Share with us on Facebook and don’t forget to Tweet us your ideas too!