🎉 So you've gone through all the prior sections, established a brand identity, and formulated a plan to express it. You're basically done with branding your business; what's next?
📈 Looking Forward: Leverage Trends, not Fads
You're likely familiar with culinary and ingredient fads and trends (hello spherification, rainbow foods, fermentation, kelp, the list goes on...); maybe you've added to or changed your offerings due to trends. Keeping up to date on general consumer trends and shifts in content consumption could be equally important, as they reflect changing values, needs, and behaviors.
You can read trend reports or synthesize your own observations to try and predict what will appeal to consumers in the future. Unlike fads that come and go, trends tend to coincide with macro-level shifts and have long-term impacts on consumer behavior. Differentiating fads from trends can help your business more quickly adapt to changes while ensuring you don’t chase “the next big thing” at the expense of your mission. Examples of trends are:
💡 Growing concern about the state of our environment ➡️ interest in consuming sustainable and regenerative products ➡️ emphasizing the local source of ingredients
💡 Multi-generational effects of globalization, immigration, and diasporas ➡️ culturally-conscious and open-minded foodies ➡️ increasing fusion or globally-influenced offerings
💡 Food moving beyond a product or service to a medium of creative expression ➡️ a desire for narrative-rich food experiences ➡️ incorporating storytelling in more touchpoints of the customer experience
💡 Technology enabling the sharing of experiences ➡️ increased importance given to the presentation and visual aesthetics of food ➡️ ensuring offerings have a cohesive, complementary look and feel
Following the Observation → Implication → Action format, you can predict how a trend alters values, needs, or behaviors and respond accordingly.
Here are some more specific, recent trends as of early 2021, with the last section left blank for you to fill out. How could these observations and implications impact your business?
💡 The rise of direct-to-consumer brands
➡️ expectation of pared-down information and clearer communication as well as a desire for simpler value chains
💡 Negative effects of Covid-19 in the food industry has put a spotlight on smaller, local businesses
➡️ people are digitally promoting local businesses
💡 People are seeking refuge from technology-powered information and choice overload
➡️ interest fewer but more focused offerings
If observations lead to seemingly contradictory implications, put yourself in your target audience's shoes. For the last observation, seeking refuge from information and choice overload could lead to a desire for minimal, toned-down visual communications. Or, it could imply a need for bold visuals to capture attention. Both can be true, but the latter is more likely to apply to Gen-Z, with whom a maximalist visual aesthetic has been proven to resonate.
💡 Have you noticed an interesting trend lately?
➡️ Does it change your audience's values, needs, and/or behaviors?