At Future Foundation, we have been using Crimson Hexagon’s platform for a couple of years to complement our knowledge of consumer trends. We would like to share 3 examples of how social insight helped us to supplement our proprietary research programme. You can learn more about these and many other trends by joining for us at our forthcoming TRENDING USA conference.
1. Social Insight helps us deepen our knowledge of consumer trends
Our trend “Liquid Skills” describes how, with multiple new tools and services to hand, consumers are developing a mercenary approach to the acquisition of new skills. Increasingly, knowledge can be acquired on-demand – you can now learn a new language or how to code just by opening an app. In context, brands are faced with a new type of consumer: one that can confidently and quickly adopt skills and one that will not shy away from challenging the information brands provide.
Our quantitative survey tells us that 40% of Americans say that learning a new skill or activity is very valuable for their overall entertainment. But behind the cold numbers, social insight adds another layer of narrative, showing us the wealth of activities consumers are engaging with as well as their excitement and overwhelmingly positive approach to learning. Here’s some detail of our findings:
- Talking online about learning new skills is a growing activity among Americans. The use of phrases such as “learning new skills” and “learning new things” is creeping up in social media feeds: almost 1 million mentions over a four year period.
- We get a sense of the performative aspect to the acquisition of skills; consumers are now compelled to create a digital “shop front” to display their prowess in a certain field via social platforms.
- Learning a new language is one of the skills many consumers seem to embrace with eagerness. Apps such as Duolingo, which was launched in November 2011, have been welcomed by consumers judging by the number of mentions in social media and by the overwhelmingly positive nature of comments.
2. Social Insight helps us measure the strength of our trends
Our trend “Perfection of the Body” reports how appearance pressures remain acute in America. Consumers go to great lengths to look their best – at any age and in every situation. Our online survey tells us that over 40% of American women claim they “need beauty and cosmetic products in order to look good.” But social media research allows us to dig deeper. We can measure the strength of people’s need for perfection and capture this consumers’ own language. Here’s what we found:
- The need for appearance perfection is palpable in social media: we gather almost 4 million posts over a three year period.
- We are able to identify the categories in which the need for perfection is stronger: 40% of conversations refer to having a perfect body, with others focusing on skin, weight and face.
3. Social Insight helps us identify new or emerging trends
In our emerging trend “The Romantic Minimalist”, we identify minimalists as a growing tribe in America. We have been able to establish this new trend by following the success of “The Minimalists” on social media. TheMinimalists.com is a website launched in December 2010 by two American former corporate executives. With their articles, books, conferences and advice, they inspire people to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, which consists of focussing on simple living, health, relationships and personal growth. We have followed their success by monitoring the increasing number of mentions they receive on Twitter. And through social insight, we were able to discover the specific ways in which people are embracing minimalism and learn which objects they are more willing to de-clutter, providing a new insight into the emerging trend.
At Future Foundation, social media research is enabling us to access and mine a wealth of consumer insight that is being created as we speak. We hope these three examples we have shown some of the value in using social research to deepen trends knowledge, measure trend strength and discover new emerging consumer tendencies.
For additional insight into how to use consumer behavior analysis to understand key trends, read Crimson’s latest study on the empowerment messaging infiltrating 4 major brand marketing strategies.