Trend Spotting Platforms for Brands and Agencies

They may inhabit the same planet, but there is little cultural similarity between the Z, Y, X, Millennial, Baby Boomer and Born Free generations. In the 21st century, increasing access to technology and digital platforms have created a growing identify gap between age groups, regions and demographics. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the resources available to track trends in the form of trend spotting platforms.

The creative, marketing and brand research industries are facing a great challenge - to keep up with the ever shifting nuances in their consumer groups. Specifically, the young, “up-and-coming” consumers (generations x.y, z) are placed in complex, dynamic and very digitised environment. The media influences who they follow, what they buy, and the lifestyles they settle into or aspire to immerse themselves in are vastly different than the Millennials.

The ultimate goal of modern research is to implement a system of “track and follow”, but internal resources alone are often not sufficient to keep pace. Fortunately for brands and agencies, there are a handful of resources available. Having investigated the market for trend spotting platforms and their value, we have broken them down into the following categories:


Trend Spotting Platforms - Industry Reports


This kind of report incorporates the insights gained from industry experts. These reports appeal to professionals within a similar job role or industry category. For the marketing/advertising industry they have titles like “The Future of Social Media Marketing” or “Advances in Audience Measurement”. The readership can find value having the inside scope of insights.

What’s useful

  • Professionals can keep up to speed with the latest goings-on in their fields from industry peers.


  • New industry tools and practices can be discovered and are evaluated. In addition, any groundbreaking and innovative advancement within the field will be covered.


  • The reports can serve as a benchmark to highlight the achievements of the the great minds in a given industry.

What’s not

  • There is no way to draw insight from consumers in this kind of report. Due to it’s nature, these studies are built on the frameworks of a “professional to professional” guideline


  • They are often full of industry jargon and terminology and neglect the underlying forces giving rise to the trends.


Trend Spotting Platforms - Futurism Reports

Futurism trend reports contain ambitious projections for technology and consumer habits. The reports typically pertain to technological advances in a variety of industries. The “future of subconscious data sourcing”, “ rise of augmented reality”, drones and the latest launch of Google Glass or the Apple Watch are examples of what one may find in a futurism trend report.

What’s useful

  • A very engaging read for tech-lovers and those in the industry keen to gain insight into prospects for the future.


  • The reports carry the potential to open the public’s mind to the possibilities of the future.


  • It can be purely tech-driven, which would appeal to a growing market on the global front.


  • The findings could essentially help business to “future proof” themselves.

What’s not

  • Being based on the premise of the future, brands won’t be able to take immediate action for this particular premise of trend spotting.


  • Due to the report’s nature and the fact that nobody can predict actual impact or certainty of a future trend, it is hard to budget for the future should a brand wish to invest in a futurism trend.


  • These trend reports do not take into account the current or relevant environment of their consumers as a foundation of their predictions.


Trend Spotting Platforms - Purchase Data Reports

This report is a very common subscription for brands when actively tracking buying habits. The report is typically data-driven and gives insight into the buying scope of consumers in their respective markets.

What’s useful

  • This type of report can be useful as a concise “market tracking” tool for brands.


  • “It reflects on the statistical reality of market. These valuable numbers can be used by brands to model a refined understanding of what consumer buy, when and for how much.


  • There is also a great deal of useful data that can be used by advertisers and sales companies to formulate strategies based on the presented numerical data.


  • Helps brands to develop “market share” analysis to benchmark against their competitors, and category.

What’s not

  • The lack of qualitative data means that the value is limited. There is no “why” or “how” foundation of insight to source.


  • There is also a lack of information into why consumers love or hate certain products, services, lifestyles.


  • These reports do not indicate what influences consumers to buy, switch products, become loyal or act on a marketing campaign.


  • Ultimately, there is a lack of consumer preference in these reports as they mostly answer generalised “yes or no” questions.


Trend Spotting Platforms - Technology Reports

These reports outline more detailed statistics on what technology products consumers are buying around the world. The most famous of which is the Apple iPhone vs. Samsung vs. Blackberry reports that dominate the tech media when they are released.

These reports uncover the consumer uses of tech products in different markets. This can include mobile phones and tablets, computers, internet penetration rates, social media platforms, IM platforms and all the way through to home entertainment systems and satellite television.

What’s useful

  • Internet penetration figures can be tapped from these reports. The implications for the advertising industry is that they can plan their digital/online campaigns around these figures.


  • It provides a description of where consumers are in fact consuming media.


  • Therefore, it will boost the industry’s knowledge of how to reach target markets.


  • This report can be used as a point of inspiration for creative design strategies.

What’s not

  • These reports often leave out why the trends are happening, or what the implications for the market are.


  • Technology reports often are not connected to what the consumers are using the products for, or how their habits will change as a result.


  • They often leave out the demographics related to purchasing habits of technology products.


  • Lower income demographics are often left out of these reports as their purchasing rate of high-tech products is much lower.


Trend Spotting Platforms - General Regional Reports


These trend reports are often cover a continent unique consumers. The are designed to identify cultural differences among geographic markets and are either monthly, quarterly or topic specific. A common report would be “Consumer Behavior in Africa”.

What’s useful

  • A report like this encourages diversity and acknowledges the difference in consumers across regional markets.


  • Brands/agencies can gain a clearer understanding of the general differences and/or similarities in African consumer and Asian or American consumer.


  • Readers can tailor their marketing communication strategies to specific consumer groups in different markets.

What’s not

  • There is a limit to the amount of quality data that can be drawn from this. A “general sense of things” can only take marketers and brands so far.


  • Often are too generic. A common trend report on “Africa” neglects the dozens of unique countries and hundreds of unique ethnicities and cultures.


  • There are markets within markets within these days. There are a multitude of ethnicities, demographics, races etc for brands and agencies to account for.


Trend Spotting Platforms - Lifestyle and On the Ground Reports


These reports are similar to Springleap Trend Reports and are focused on capturing the daily environment in which local consumer groups live. These reports can reflect an immediate view of what’s happening in real time.

What’s useful

  • On the ground trend reports can provide a genuine, holistic view on the lifestyle culture, preferential standpoints and interpersonal dynamics of a consumer’s environment.


  • Very locally focused, arguably the “go to” trend report for a quick-fire yet deep understanding of a demographic.


  • The immediacy of the reports enable more actionable opportunities.


  • Provide a qualitative and visual understanding of the market.

What’s not

  • There is room for misinterpretation during the initial stages of research to formulate said trends.


  • Often do not include statistical data.


  • This is not the report for a brand who wants to look at things from the perspective of a bird’s eye view.

At Springleap, we’ve catered to our own clientele and formulated our own definition of a trend report. Some important keywords to note from our model: In-the-moment, local, purely environmental, real time and empathy-driven. With the innovative model of crowdsourcing at our disposal, our analysis of the trending landscape can exponentially enhance your scope of knowledge on your target markets.

<span  style=”font-family: trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;”>Consumers are our best friends. They define the purpose of research, marketing and branding communications. If you’re interested in hearing about the environments in which they thrive, spend and engage with, take a look at the Springleap Trend Platform here.


 Photo credits

Kev MisterMakonga

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