Trends influence all aspects of our way of thinking, our way of life, our approach to the work we do, and our perspectives on just about everything. At the rate they come and go, it’s a wonder our heads aren’t literally spinning around our bodies. How do we know what bandwagon is worth jumping on? When should we make the leap?
The fact is we don’t trust our instincts well enough when it comes to identifying and adopting certain tendencies. We already instinctively follow trends without consciously knowing what they are or even why we’re doing it. If we were to pay attention, we would hear our common sense and practicality tell us if and/or when we should jump on board.
A quick example: disruption and the rise of the rebel were both widely-identified as big trends for 2016. Why, then, did the election of Donald Trump to President of the United States come as such a surprise to so many? Like it or not, that campaign should have won the highest marketing award in the land for its impeccable timing and effective execution. Understanding and identifying trends as early as possible can prove to be incredibly powerful, as evidenced by this example, and be invaluable to our success. So, what’s the trick?
The answer, although simple, requires a bit of time and effort, as does anything worthwhile. PAY ATTENTION. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. You must pay attention to the world around you—how you are being communicated with (in advertising and marketing), what you are wearing and accessorizing your home with (all of a sudden, you’re all-leopard all the time), how younger generations are behaving and reacting to things (inclusivity rules)—and then you will see clearly and quickly what’s coming in and what’s on its way out.
There are vast resources of information instantly available to all, and those who take the time and put the effort into paying attention will always be just slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to trends. It’s really that easy. Fashion reports, celebrity reports, lifestyle blogs and vlogs, gaming, music, videos, movies—these are all things we look at and enjoy every day. But, how much attention do we pay to what they are telling us?
If all of these mainstream resources can actually tell you everything you need to know (and they just about do), imagine how much more “in-the-know” you would be if you followed more industry-related resources like graphic and video design, colour theory, new technology, marketing, future prediction and even the world economy? All of these have an effect on what trends will affect meetings and events. Following what’s going on will most certainly give us a unique insight into what will be trending.
As long as you don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the shiny and sparkly (I’m talking to you, Pinterest-hounds), your own natural instincts and curation of the right type of knowledge will set you on the empowering path of trendspotting, and to the subsequent success of adopting and integrating the right trends into the event experiences you create, in the most advantageous ways.
–Diane Julien is the founder of The Really Fabulous Event Co. An acclaimed event planner, designer and producer, she has 30 years of industry experience and is an advocate for the profession.