Finding the elephants in the room
What's a megatrend, you ask? It's something big. I'm talking really big.
Think of a giant unstoppable tsunami of change transforming society as we know it. Think global warming scale -- then apply it to mass human behavior. Think glaciers carving the grand canyon of consumer sentiment.
Compare and contrast. Here are some regular trends:
"Everyone is on Twitter these days."
"Boomers are investing more in home renovations as they approach retirement."
"Green is 'in' this season."
All of these are important. None are mega.
Here's a megatrend:
"Social media has permanently transformed the way people connect and share information."
Much of the planning that goes into positioning a brand takes into account product attributes, competitive differentiation, and target insights. These are all critically important considerations. But they're not what I'm talking about here.
I'm talking about what is so often left on the table -- the elephant in the room. Megatrends. Latching onto these tectonic shifts can surge an entire brand strategy forward way ahead of the curve. Google caught on to an access-to-information megatrend. Facebook caught on to people connecting. Yet, these megatrends are rarely leveraged by brands. (This was confirmed for me by the sheer difficulty I had coming up with campaigns for this article).
Most companies wait until a megatrend is so pervasive and obvious that it becomes a minimum standard, a non-differentiating proposition -- so that leveraging them does nothing to differentiate their brand. Case in point: Who doesn't have a "green" message these days?
So what are the new megatrends that I believe will transform society in the coming years? What brands are taking advantage of them? And what can you learn from them?