Ceramic Industry

Trend Tracking

July 23, 2008

We all want to help our companies succeed, and innovation is truly the key. Providing new and evolving products/services that focus on customer needs is the surest way to help our businesses stay one step ahead of the competition. But how do we know what our industry customers -- and, perhaps just as importantly, end consumers -- really want?

trendwatching.com defines the term trend as “a manifestation of something that has unlocked or newly serviced an existing (and hardly ever changing) consumer need, desire, want or value. At the core of this statement is the assumption that human beings, and thus consumers, don’t change that much. Their deep needs remain the same, yet can be unlocked or newly serviced.”

When staying on top of trends related to the ceramic and glass industries, we luckily need not concern ourselves with miniskirts vs. flare pants. (Not professionally speaking, that is.) But what about business trends such as outsourcing and right-sizing, or manufacturing trends like fast-firing? Certainly one trend with far-reaching implications for everyone these days is alternative energy, whether we’re producing it, supporting it or using it. Being aware of these and other trends is the first step in helping our companies successfully benefit from them.

According to trendwatching.com, turning trends into innovation requires us to ask a few important questions. Does the trend we’re discussing have the potential to:

“1. Influence or shape our company’s vision?
2. Come up with a new business concept, an entirely new venture, a new brand?
3. Add 'something' new for a certain customer segment?

It’s also important to speak the language of those customers already ‘living’ the trend. Show them you get it, show them you know what they’re excited about.”

Visit www.trendwatching.com to learn more trend-tracking tips.