Back to business - what a different world is being born. I've "cut and pasted" and summarized a great report from Trendwatching.com - they have their finger on the pulse in the birthing room. Here's the highlights and links to examples.
Attractive to consumers driven by experiences instead of the fixed, by entertainment, by discovery, by fighting boredom, who increasingly live a transient lifestyle, freeing themselves from the hassles of permanent ownership and possessions.
For these creatives, status comes from finding an appreciative audience…. it's becoming increasingly important to hone one's creative skills. Status symbols, make way for STATUS SKILLS? E.g.: Nespresso’s AAA Campus.
From networking sites to buddy lists to meetup.org to a boom in members-only clubs, social status 2.0 is all about who you connect to and who wants to connect to you, tribal-style. CONNECTING LIFESTYLES is a subset of
ONLINE LIFESTYLES, which encompasses everything from status gained from the number of views for one’s photos on Flickr, the real estate one owns in Second Life, to the good looks (and outfit) of one’s avatar. E.g. Trendwatcher's YOUNIVERSAL BRANDING briefing.
Status from leading an eco-responsible lifestyle is both more readily available, and increasing in value. A substantial subset of consumers is already bestowing recognition and praise on Prius drivers while scorning SUV owners. See top 10 eco & sustainability ideas).
TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY 1+ billion consumers are now online, and the majority of them have been online for years. They're skilled bargain seekers and ‘best of the best’ hunters, they're avid online networkers and they're opinionated reviewers and advisors (tripadvisor.com now boasts 5,000,000+ travel reviews).
As camera and video phones are becoming both ubiquitous and more powerful, reviews of anything and everything will go multimedia. EVERYTHING brands do or don’t do will end up on youtube.com, or a clone to be born which could be dedicated to product reviews.
, Consumer reviews will increasingly become real time and on the spot, i.e. expect ever shorter gaps between a consumer experience (good or bad) and the rest of the world knowing about it. Oh, and those web-enabled phones will also come in handy for in-store price comparisons; check amazon.co.jp a bit of inspiration.
Real-time TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY daily and hourly reviews on any topic imaginable.
PROFILE MANIA the missing link in the above is profiles: Expect a host of new TWINSUMER ventures to monetize collaborative filtering and profile matching in 2007, most likely by partnering with sites that are already centered around profiles, like MySpace and Bebo.com. Collaborative filtering and profile matching ranges from social shopping (check out Crowdstorm, ThisNext and Stylehive on Springwise) to the Last.fms and Yoonos of this world. Expect more niche price comparison sites like Red Roller, which compares shipping prices for small businesses.
Web N+1 Educate yourself about as many WEB N+1s as you can. Quick tip: start by (re)reading everything by Kevin Kelly, who has been correct in predicting the Next Big Online Thing over and over again. When it comes to the shift from offline to online, the predications are out there, we haven’t seen anything yet, and you have no excuse not to know about it. * Web N+1 was cleverly coined by Steven Pemberton.
TRYSUMERS: “Freed from the shackles of convention and scarcity, immune to most advertising, and enjoying full access to information, reviews, and navigation, experienced consumers are trying out new appliances, new services, new flavors, new authors, new destinations, new artists, new relationships, new *anything* with post mass-market gusto.”
Trying out and sampling is the new advertising. An entire TRYVERTISING infrastructure, from 30 second samples on iTunes to firms specializing in relevant product placement is now in place, enabling consumers to try before they buy. “introducing yourself and your products by letting people experience and try them out first, is a very civilized and effective way to show some respect.’’ Amen. And Trendwatchers walks the talk, you can sign up for regular Trend briefings yourself for free at their site. www.trendwatching.com/trends/2007top5.htm
Global C2C infrastructure is now in place, from eBay to classifieds, enabling (or even encouraging) TRYSUMERS to quickly dispose of what's no longer needed. From Daniel Nissanoff, author of FutureShop: "An interesting phenomenon that somebody shared with me was that, as eBay began to grow, people began to buy musical instruments, especially guitars, much more frequently, because they weren't as worried about taking up the wrong instrument or buying the wrong instrument and getting stuck with it. The auction culture is beginning to empower the consumer to reach because they can afford better items since they're not paying the whole ticket for them. They know there's going to be residual value at the end of the day and they're willing to take more chances because they know there's an exit if they made a mistake." (Source: Daniel Nissanoff interviewed by Tom Peters.)
THE GLOBAL BRAIN: all of the world’s intelligence and experience, fully networked, incorporating not only the usual suspects like gurus, professors and scientists, but the experiences and skills of hundreds of millions of smart consumers as well. With the 'shortage of talent' that every brand on every continent seems to fear in 2007, expect many corporations, small and big, to aggressively court the 1% of most creative and experienced individuals roaming the globe.