I love, love, love trendwatching.com and their ongoing efforts to stay on top of the latest-and-greatest consumer and business trends. So it was with great excitement that I looked in my email in-box a few days ago and found their latest list of 12 new mini-trends. If you own or run a business — or if you have plans to start one up — it will be worth your while to check out these trends as they may have a significant impact on the markets in which you do business, or plan to do business. Here are five of my favorite mini-trends from the list:
Custowners (a hybrid word built from customer + owner). These are consumers who move from passively consuming a product towards actually funding/investing, if not owning a stake, in the brands they buy from. You might recall the recent example of the Pebble E-paper watch that attracted more than 68,000 backers on Kickstarter who put up more than $10 million to fund the startup of the company and initial production of its watches. Every backer got at least one watch in return for his or her cash — the bigger the contribution, the more watches you’d get.
One touch wonders. Really cool little electronic gizmos that enable you to order or pay for a product or service with a single touch, swipe, tap or button press. I especially like the VIP refrigerator magnet from Dubai-based Red Tomato Pizza. Just touch the pizza, and an order is sent by way of the bluetooth link in your cell phone to the nearest Red Tomato Pizza restaurant. The order is processed and the pizza is quickly delivered to the registered account address.
Teenpreneurs. Teens are increasingly jumping onto the entrepreneurial bandwagon, and all sorts of programs are sprouting up to support them and provide them with the skills and networking opportunities they need to thrive. The Teens in Tech Incubator is an eight-week hands-on program in the Silicon Valley for entrepreneurs between the ages of 13-19 who are serious about building products and learning about entrepreneurship.
Safety net. People are always worried about their safety and the safety of their loved ones, right? These are all sorts of products, services, and apps, that help keep people safe when they might need it most. Witness the recent release by Softbank of the Pantone 5 107SH in Japan, a smartphone with a built-in Geiger counter — something that might just come in handy over there right about now.
Branded government. In these days of deficits and tight government budgets, companies are stepping in by taking on high-profile tasks and jobs — and advertising their brands in the process. Consider South African insurance company OUTsurance, which put traffic wardens on the streets of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Tshwane to ease the traffic flow at dangerous or congested junctions. These wardens were plastered with bright OUTsurance logos.