Trends are trendy, insights get shit done


My new rubber stamp. If there is enough interest I might get some more made.

I gave a talk at Haymarket's Trends Plus conference this week. I'm sure it was a wonderful shindig - the speakers I saw were excellent - but I couldn't help feeling a bit contrary about a conference on trends. I've never had much truck with the 'cool hunting' fraternity, about predicting the future and about making money out of stating the bleeding obvious. Or for that matter from Portmanteaus - the ghastly habit of sticking two perfectly good english words together to make a new word that is both ridiculous and unnecessary. You know the sort of thing maturialism, tribefacturing, the statusphere, or engageonomics. Anyway here is the presentation. As usual it makes very little sense without the talk that goes with it, but you might get something out of it. Slideshare have been kind enough to feature it on their home page today.


Far too interesting to be silent. Try and record the presentation if you do it again. I want to know if I laughed in the right places.

Posted by: Charles Frith at December 4, 2011 05:35 AM


You did. Should try and find a way to record a voice over.

Posted by: Richard at December 5, 2011 07:34 AM

I spend alot of my time getting annoyed at people that spell my surname incorrectly. And stupidly I have done just that on the last slide of the presentation. It's

Posted by: richard at December 5, 2011 09:13 AM

I'd definitely like a stamp!

Posted by: Rob Mortimer at December 5, 2011 02:24 PM

True, it became a name for "all stuff concerning people" category. Whatever it means, from excel spreadshits to wife's opinion.

Posted by: Marcin at December 6, 2011 10:49 AM

This presentation has been very widely shared which is fantastic. However I understand that the revelation about the Imperial War Museum's permanent holocaust museum is upsetting without the VO. This revelation is from DLKW for the exhibition launch and focuses on the exhibition's coverage of the organisation and mechanisation of death on an unprecidented scale - the railway timetables, the command structure, the logisics - in essence the banality of death. It won a Gold at the APG awards in 2001.

Posted by: richard at December 6, 2011 01:01 PM

The terminology of 'trends' and 'insights' make me vomit a little bit in my mouth sometimes. I'm guessing this is similar to Mr Frith's laughter response...

There seem to be so many 'trends' services and websites around that by their very nature they're saying pretty much everything is a trend. If everything's a trend, then where's the trend?

I remember I used to be on one 'trends' newsletter thing (I honestly can't remember its name, honestly) where part of the eDM was to proudly state how many trends they had found that week. "736 new trends added" or something like that. hmmmm. Really?

Some services seem to provide a database of observations instead of trends, that Planners can search through and pin their hypothesis to if relevant.

Great stuff Richard, thanks.

Posted by: Mark Hadfield (@markhadfield) at December 6, 2011 02:23 PM

Oh please, please can I have a stamp? We need one (in the very least) down here (Australia) somewhat urgently.

Posted by: Katie Harris (@Zebrabites) at December 8, 2011 10:11 AM

Thoughtful stuff (again). We've actually got a trends unit at the agency and they regularly turn up some interesting issues. What I find really useful is their ability to spot societal fault-lines, and this is what helps us to find the cracks in culture into which we can insert brand ideas.

Posted by: Adrian at December 10, 2011 09:10 PM

Trends also renews a target audience's enthusiasm, albeit temporarily. Although trends die out, businesses should still know how to take advantage of them.

Posted by: MicroSourcing at December 28, 2011 01:58 AM

Excellent stuff. I think we could do with some insight into how the feeding frenzy that conference producers exhibit towards a new trend (eg content/social/mobile/2screening) changes the status of that very 'thang', without any hard evidence to support it.

Posted by: Tess Alps at December 29, 2011 12:06 PM

I have been seeking this info for a while. Almost half an hours of continuous finding, fortunately I found it in your site. I wonder why Bing never display this kind of resourceful sites in the first few pages. Generally the top search engine results are garbages. Maybe it's time to try another search engine.

Posted by: Alyse Steck at January 3, 2012 02:27 AM