More and more, marketers are asked to achieve what seems impossible. It often feels like, in order to succeed, we need to be able to predict the future to get ahead of our industry and our competition.
That’s why on day one of Univision’s Leading the Change conference last year, author and trend curator Rohit Bhargava presented a keynote address that provided an exciting new perspective on how marketers and brands can “see around the corner,” and in effect, see into the future.
Bhargava started with two “scary facts about marketing,” which are: 1) Having a great product isn’t enough, and 2) Great branding isn’t enough. Scary indeed, although I do believe it’s true. Over the years, he said, marketers have created a believability crisis among consumers by overstating brand benefits and presenting selling points that simply aren’t true.
One of the ways to rebuild consumer trust is to present messages that authentically reflect what is happening in society and culture at the moment. That requires being able to look into the future to see what will be happening when your message is actually in the marketplace. But none of us can predict the future, right? Wrong. As a trend curator, Bhargava researches and presents what trends will manifest in the months and years ahead.
Bhargava suggests adopting five important habits to be an effective trend curator – important reminders for all marketers in today’s dynamic and often perplexing marketplace:
- Be observant. Lift your head up, watch processes in action, and see the things that others don’t see.
- Be curious, especially about people unlike yourself. Try reading media not targeted to you to learn about other cultures.
- Be fickle. Capture ideas and save them for later. Pick what you’re going to think about and prioritize.
- Be thoughtful. Just wait a minute. Take your time to think and make educated decisions.
- Be elegant. Carefully choose the words you use to describe your brand and craft beautiful ideas.
When marketers apply this process to their brand strategy, the future starts to sound a lot less scary.