| Harvard Business Review
July – August 2010
Are You Ignoring Trends That Could Shake Up Your Business?
Virtually all managers in consumer businesses recognize major social, economic, and technological trends. But many do not consider the profound ways in which trends--especially those that seem unrelated to their core markets--influence consumers' aspirations, attitudes, and behaviors. As a result, companies may be ceding to rivals an opportunity to transform the industry. For instance, the impact of the digital revolution on consumers' daily lives is hardly a revelation. But it may be less obvious that heavy digital users tend to focus on short-term goals, demand immediate gratification, and expect to multitask. That insight, the authors argue, is as important for a company that sells lipstick as it is for one that sells smartphones. The authors present a process for identifying the trends that could reshape a business and three strategies for leveraging trends to create new value propositions: Infuse aspects of the trend into the product category to augment traditional offerings, as Coach did with its lower-priced Poppy handbags. Combine aspects of the trend with attributes of the category to produce offerings that transcend it, as Nike did with its Nike+ sports kit and web service. Or counteract negative effects of the trend with new products and services that reaffirm the category's values, as iToys did with its ME2 video game, which encourages children to be physically active.
Innovation and Invention;
Knowledge Use and Leverage;