Blurring and Blending: A Trend for Brand Innovation
Following trends is something that Sparks and Honey influenced me to do three years ago. It’s a necessary practice for making sense of the world of work and of the world of my own personal life. I’ve been inspired by the agency and it’s led me to include the practice of trend analysis in a form suited for educating the next generation of marketing professionals here and abroad. Understanding “signals” makes students keenly aware and skilled at spotting, curating and interpreting trends. It’s a valuable skill for them as they approach the first jobs of careers. It’s a real distinguishing skill in a typical skill set of a marketer.
As the year 2018 closed I saw that my trend seeking was showing me a trends that I’m calling Blurring & Blending. It’s the illustration of how the “mashup” that the visionary author Tom Friedman predicted before the 21st Century. It’s being played out in the context that Marshall McCluhan painted of an electric speed of communication in a foggy sea of information.
I noticed over and over again that wildly different sectors were finding new connections with new partners to meet the escalating demands of consumers for new experience. Things weren’t sorting into verticals or sectors anymore.
Just walking the street in NYC I could see Capital One Bank becoming a Coffee Café, a retail store called Story behaving like a magazine and changing its theme every two months, and top restaurants becoming co-working spaces in their off peak hours.
Tuning into Blurring and Blending I saw more examples. The New York Times acquiring an experiential marketing agency called Fake Love, and Cadillac House becoming a showroom for autos against an event and gallery space. restaurants becoming co-working spaces in their off peak hours. The leader of the co-working sector. Wework just launched a “Made by WE” concept that blends their brand with the brands that they house and then blends with a retail and coffee experience, combined with on-demand, “grab and go” style time in a workspace. Talk about a blur of innovation! I even spotted a signal that suggested a new sport, the blending of Boxing and Chess was taking hold!
Blurring and Blending the lines is creating new ways for consumers to behave, to learn, to engage. It’s Blurring and Blending marketing! Maybe cutting through the fog for marketing meaning is morphing?
I’m suggesting that keeping your eyes out for potential blend and blur partners and opportunities is a 2019 strategy, and telling that to education clients as well as to my business clients. Where do you see the lines being blurred in your company? Where do you see a place to lead in a way that inspires the juice of innovation that comes from this kind of risk taking? Let’s talk about it over coffee-- in a bank!