What’s a trend?
Broadly speaking a trend is known as a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving. When it comes to coolhunting, this definition is not enough.
According to Martin Raymond, the author of The Trend Forecaster’s Handbook, a trend can be an idea, a set of similar shapes or interrelated objects. Word for word he says “Nor is it a term that simply refers to processes which affect physical or aesthetic changes in our culture. A trend can be emotional, intellectual and even spiritual. At its most basic, a trend can be defined as the direction in which something (and that something can be anything) tends to move and which has a consequential impact on the culture, society or business sector through which it moves”.
As far as Marta Domínguez Riezu explains in her book Coolhunting. Marcando tendencias en la moda, we must distinguish a trend from a punctual element. A trend is an element that will be on the market during five years or so, which must fulfil a need more than being just a whim.
As regards the book Coolhunting. Cazar y gestionar las tendencias y modas que mueven el mundo written by the Spanish coolhunter Córdoba-Mediola, we can find six key issues that will make something become a trend:
- Somebody’s wish and ability to appropriate it.
In addition to this, he says that something cool is more than just something weird or different. That something will have to be amplified by loudspeakers in order to be spread across the market. It will have to be shown as a realistic and accessible option and finally be received as an original thing.
In the main, one of the most important things not to forget when defining a trend is its diffusion. As a rule we must refer to Everett M. Rogers, who published Diffusion of Innovations based on Bryce Ryan’s and Neal Gross’ study. Rogers creates five different groups:
- The “Innovators” are the first individuals to adopt an innovation.
- The “Early Adopters”, “Innovators’” closer friends and mates, adopt the idea and share it.
- The “Early Majority” observe the trend on the “Early Adopters” in order to appropriate it and again share it with more people.
- The “Late Majority” are the ones with a high degree of skepticism. They will just adopt the new idea when the majority of society has already done it.
- Lastly, the “Laggards” are the last to adopt an innovation because they have an aversion to change-agents. They perceive the innovation as normal when it is finally socially established.
In contrast, Córdoba-Mendiola creates his own groups:
- The group of “the Originals”, where you observe the trend for the first time. He describe them as people who are constantly moving forward and cause admiration.
- The second group are “the Amplifiers”, which consists of:
- “The cool groupies”, which follow the trend consciously or unconsciously.
- “The cool transmitters”, which are in charge of spreading the trend. They tend to be magazines, producers, photographers, people who work on advertising,…
- “The cool businesses”, businesses that define themselves as cool because they aspire to be all the rage. According to Córdoba-Mendiola, a business is cool if it causes on its target the reaction “They are the only ones who can do that!”.
- The fourth group are “The coolhunters”, the professionals who detect relevant behaviours for a brand or company. They must add value to them by asking psychologists or making quantitive research.
- The “Mainstream” group embraces the rest of the people.
In particular, in advertising we talk about trends diffusion in the following terms:
- The Trendsetters, who are the “Innovators” (Rogers) and “the Originals” (Córdoba-Mendiola).
- The Leading Edge, equivalent to “Early Adopters” and “Early Majority”, and “the Amplifiers”.
- Finally, the Mainstream, the “Late Majority” and the “Laggards”.
Taking it all into account, we can make this groups of diffusion classification, regarding the different readings:
At last, we would like to comment briefly the three questions expressed by Marta Domínguez Riezu that help us to forecast if a trend will be adopted by the Mainstream:
- ¿Who is behind the trend?, a trend needs solid grounds to achieve credibility.
- ¿Which are the Mainstream access possibilities?, a trend needs to be understandable, economical, easy to obtain and appealing.
- ¿Is it perceived in more than one place?, a trend must be found in different places, industries and sectors.
Text by Sílvia Cabra and Silvia Conde.