How to spot opportunities in emerging trends

There’s no shortage of new ideas and trends, but which ones should you take seriously? We help brands and their agencies identify, understand and track the adoption of new ideas and competitors. So that they can make better-informed investment decisions.

Time for a reboot

We all know the language of how ideas spread, the early adopters, the mainstream, the laggards; but the way we think about it needs a reboot.

When we hear about early adopters we tend to assume someone young(ish), someone techy.

The internet and social media have made a nonsense of this.

We can all be early adopters, innovators or laggards. It just depends on our interests and how we choose to spend our time.

The biggest challenge to market growth is how to get something new to appeal to a mainstream audience who isn’t really that interested. Most innovations fail to make it big, but it can work and social us shows when it does.

The opportunity

Social captures how early adopters spend their time engaging with innovators, and each other, about their passions.

Between them, they’re creating the social content that the mainstream sees when it suddenly becomes relevant to them.

Surprise hits don’t just happen.

Here’s the opportunity for brands and their innovation or investment partners. You can use social to identify, understand and track how thousands of these conversations develop and change over time, across the globe.

Handy for spotting gaps in consumer needs or knowing when it’s time to take a competitor seriously.

To do this properly there are a few challenges, you need to:

  • Find where these conversations are happening,
  • Explore the digital ecosystems that support them,
  • Absorb thousands of conversations to understand what’s important to people.

This is where we come in.

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash
Photo by Niels Steeman on Unsplash

Should you invest?

We create new insights from digital behaviours and social conversations so that we can help organisations decide where and when to invest.

We’ve developed a new form of market research to do this, one designed to unlock the meaning in the social data people create and share. We call this Social Learning.

We use this to help organisations develop effective investment strategies by:

  • Exploring: we work with you to understand which markets and categories you see potential in and why.
  • Listening: we’ll then explore digital behaviour (search results & trends) and the social conversation. We combine the right tools to map out behaviours across the digital ecosystem with Social Learning techniques – to help us understand what people are really talking about.
  • Learn: next, we explore and analyse the patterns in the data (quantitatively), while at the same time use qual techniques to delve deeper into the reasons and explanations behind what we’re seeing.
  • Inspire: the final stage is all about inspiring your colleagues into action, to help you spot developing trends, assess the weight of the momentum behind them and plan your strategy to take advantage of the opportunity.

Decisions based on evidence, not gut feelings

This approach will transform how you spot potential in emerging trends.

It puts shape and substance to how ideas develop and spread. It enables you to make decisions based on evidence rather than gut feeling.

The main benefits are that you’ll discover:

  • Where conversations and digital activity are taking place, across the world.
  • How these ideas are developing over time.
  • The weight of interest and support behind them.
  • Exactly what’s driving people’s interest.
  • Who’s influential in shaping the conversation.
  • What motivates different types of people (early adopters, mainstream).
  • Where you need to take action and what teams need to be involved.

See how we helped Essentra spot new investment and product development potential in emerging technologies.

Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

Next steps?

We work with organisations across a wide range of sectors at home and internationally. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.