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16 Cover Feature
With product lead times so long, reacting to current trends
isn’t enough. Stacey Sheppard talks to the ‘professional trend
forecasters’ and finds out how designers can look ahead to
future developments in order to maximise the success and
profitability of their products
At
the first mention of ‘trend
forecasting’, it is inevitable that
many of us will immediately think of
fashion and what the next big trend to
hit the catwalk will be.
However trend forecasting is a far
more complex undertaking than merely
discerning whether we should be dressing
like 80s rejects straight off the set of
Dynasty, toting outlandish feathered
headdresses or indulging in the latest
trend for ‘homeless chic’ – and no this
is not just some bizarre fashion trend
I’ve just made up, there really is an (oxy)
moronic trend for looking like a dapper
tramp.
trends are of course not limited
to fashion – they affect all sectors of
business and society. Contrary to the
general perception, trend forecasting is
also not something that can be done by
merely gazing into a crystal ball, rather it
takes in depth research, observation and
Above: People
application and when done correctly it about society and understand people, 20 years, Kjaer has built up an impressive
bond with brands
can prove invaluable to business success. their behaviour, needs and mindset, and portfolio of clients who come to her for
that engage and
Numerous companies have made it their how that could impact the future,” Kjaer advice and guidance. From BMW, Nike
empower them by
providing inspiration,
business to predict the consumer trends of explains. and Disney to Sony, Herman Miller and
interaction and
the future and filter this information back “there are Macro trends (long term Ikea, the list of big name brands investing
informed knowledge
to those that produce consumer goods. drivers 5-10 years) and Micro trends in her trend forecasting services is pretty
Kjaer Global is one such company (short term drivers 1-3 years). these extensive. And it’s easy to see why they
and its passionate and enthusiastic trends ideally should inspire and inform seek external help - predicting the future
CEO is Anne Lise Kjaer, a leading global companies’ future vision from the board, isn’t exactly an easy task.
futurist and trend forecaster. For Kjaer, brand and marketing to innovation As we are now living in the
trend tracking is an integral business strategies for developing products, services knowledge age, Kjaer believes that we
tool that can help give companies that and experiences that will fulfil and meet are often overwhelmed by the amount
all important insight into the demands the needs of tomorrow’s people.” of information we have available to us
and needs of their consumers. “tracking And she should know. Having been and she sees the biggest challenge for
trends is a crucial way to be informed in the trend forecasting business for over businesses today in understanding how
trend forecasting.indd 16 28/01/2010 09:35
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