Diary of a Trend Stalker: The Weapons

Where would Bruce Springsteen be without his trusty blonde Telecaster? What would Annie Leibovitz do without her camera? How could Elmer Fudd hunt Bugs Bunny without his shotgun?

Whether you are a rock star, a celebrity photographer, a cartoon archenemy … or a trend hunter – you need the right weapon to get the job done. We already established that everyone is a trend hunter to some extent. But your level of success depends on the time, tenacity and tools that you bring to the table.

There’s a lot to explore if you hunt trends or cool, and it can seem a little daunting. But with enough passion and these tips, you will be on your way.

Here a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Without a doubt, you share your interest with someone who is already out there doing a great job exploring and covering it. Find that person.
  • Understand the "refresh cycle" of your interest, and make sure you stay topical so you do not miss the latest developments.
  • When establishing thought-leadership (writing a blog, producing a vlog, taking photos, collecting, reporting), complete your due diligence and cite your sources.
  • Actively participate in your communities of interest – and be HUMBLE.
  • Define your role with contacts.
  • Prognosticate on trends and see how well you do. The longer you follow something, the better you will get.

Buzz vs. Meme vs. Cool vs. Trend

  • Buzz: Just because something has buzz, it’s not necessarily a trend. In fact, “buzz" often is manufactured. Trust me. As an advertiser, it's my job to create this manifestation around product and service offerings.
  • Meme: By definition, a "meme" is an idea, behavior or cultural element that spreads from person to person. In my context, however, a meme is an Internet fad of sorts. And often it involves humor. A meme is frequently an online “quick-hit” or “one-hit-wonder.” It is frequently an image or short video clip that services as a joke. More often than not, it tends to be viral, self-replicating within the community of interest.
  • Cool: In my humble opinion, cool is the highest echelon of trend hunting. Cool surpasses time and often is a base platform for becoming cyclical. Creating cool is far more difficult, because its cache is that of a personal statement or an ideal that people will accept and adopt.

    Cool often comes with a greater circle of influence, too. For example I think rat rods are cool. With that comes a much larger community of rockabilly culture, with endless branches of music, fashion, tattoos, and its ownlexicon.
  • Trend: Trends occupy a space somewhere between cool and buzz. They're volatile, fragile and rapidly changing. Trend hunting is also the most difficult to become good at, as buzz will die off and cool is readily accepted. Therefore spotting trends, and more importantly determining what industries, demographic and psychographic they will affect, is a journeyman's skill you must continually hone.

Local vs. National vs. Global

To truly be a good trend hunter, you must also take on the responsibility of researching the global impression of your particular interest. If you're a gadget trend hunter, you'll keep a keen eye on product launches in Asian markets. If you're into modern design, perhaps you stay on top of European design sensibilities.

Genre/Interest-Based Websites

To simply scratch the surface of trend hunting, the following links mildly center on trends and cool as a catchall. This is a good list if you want to get your feet wet and see a glimpse of the many amazing minds hunting within an endless variety of interests:

Blogs

Most of the sites above are actually blogs, but they simply aren’t positioned as such. Here are some truly blogerrific links:

Trendhunter

Want the "trend hunter" title? You too can work with the self-proclaimed source:

Make it Your Own

I assume you already had the passion, and now you have the tools to be a true trend hunter. Imagine the possibilities when you bring it all together with your own perspective, vision and unique twist.