Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
September, 19th 2012

By Dr. Trevor Davis, consumer products expert, IBM Global Business Services

 The marketing departments I work with worry a lot about trends, and the biggest worrier of them all is invariably the CMO.

There’s a lot to fret about. Trends in the economy, disposable income, demographics, even climate. But trends in consumer tastes often top the list. Quite understandably, CMOs don’t want to be blindsided by a lucrative new consumer trend that competitors are already capitalizing on. And they certainly don’t want to be “all in” at the moment a powerful trend loses steam.

Traditionally, marketers have relied on a wide range of valuable, if imperfect, tools to gain insight – surveys, focus groups, consumer panels, instinct.  But now, innovations in technology are providing CMOs with powerful new capabilities. The advent of social media and sophisticated analytics software enable marketers to identify trends that develop online, and chart how fast they develop and how they spread via social media from city to city around the world, creating adherents and – potentially – new customers. This burgeoning discipline allows marketers to correlate online trends with related developments in the offline, brick-and-mortar world — for example, new product introductions and new companies being formed.

The following infographic illustrates this capability in action. It shows a fashion and transportation trend, Cycle Chic, being born and moving through time. The trend — which involves cycling in stylish street clothes, often atop classic bicycles — spreads slowly at first but then gathers momentum. Soon, a variety of companies begin to serve the growing number of chic cyclists and others attracted to the movement.

Click on the thumbnail above to launch an infographic, to see the "Birth of a Trend."

This study is the first example of IBM’s new “Birth of a Trend” project, an effort dedicated to understanding the science behind online trends. By pushing the limits of technology, Birth of a Trend will provide insight as to whether what’s trending on social networks (not just Twitter) is, or is likely to become, commercially viable.

This is way more than merely knowing what’s “trending” at the moment. It’s a unique view of an unfolding market and competitive landscape.

Update: Please join me for a twitter chat on October 11, where we will discuss the importance of uncovering trends through social media analysis.

Time: 12:00 -1:00PM ET

Hashtag: #P4SPchat


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Posted by: David Novak
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Levi’s also started The Commuter (Form. Function. Cycling) Series:

IMHO that’s mark of a more global trend.

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This is very interesting. At which point/how do the businesses spot the trend so that they can produce the products people want next in the right markets?

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Nice follow up by Mikael from CycleChic.. he also included that awesome IBM work bike

Posted by: Karl Roche
4 Trackbacks
July 24, 2013
12:40 am

[...] rise of the cycle chic trend — which involves cycling in stylish street clothes, often atop classic bicycles — largely [...]

Posted by: Social sentiment can provide serious insight for big data: here’s how | memeburn
July 9, 2013
1:55 pm

[...] ciencia de identificar nuevas tendencias. A diferencia de mi trabajo anterior sobre Cycle Chic (donde la tendencia se trasladó geográficamente en el tiempo) steampunk se ha convertido en una [...]

Posted by: IBM predice que la nueva tendencia que invadirá la cultura pop a partir del 2013 será el Steampunk | Blog LoopNeo
January 14, 2013
7:53 am

[...] my previous work on Cycle Chic (where the trend moved geographically over time) steampunk has become a style influence on [...]

Posted by: Trend Spotting Moves to a Third Dimension: Crossing the Cultural Divide « A Smarter Planet Blog
September 20, 2012
4:02 am

[...] own interest and not those of large marketing departments in the cycle industry. IBM’s new Birth of a Trend social sentiment study shows how business can spot emerging trends like [...]

Posted by: Is Interbike taking notice of CycleChic? « Jaunty Angle
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