Trends are crossing borders more rapidly than ever before. We are no longer bound by city, country or continental boundaries. We are now in the age of the Global Brain. It is a time when trends, ideas and innovations are spreading across the world wide web like neurons in the human brain. They key is figuring out how these global trends can apply to your local context to create G(local) innovation.
In a world where trends are crossing geographical boundaries faster than ever, local context is a powerful axis of adaption for any innovator. Trends have their foundation in universal, basic human needs. Any trend, with origins in any corner of the globe, can offer an opportunity for innovation when adapted to a local context. According to Trend Watching, there are five major trends that make up the Global Brain.
“Human” brands are brands which are embracing human values such as compassion and authenticity. It is a major trend which is reshaping consumerism around the world. Sympathetic Pricing originally emerged in South America, as a way for brands to show their more human side by offering targeted discounts that address a personal or shared challenges.
A cool example of this is the Humus Bar in Israel. The restaurant launched a promotion which gave a 50 percent discount to tables with both Arab and Jewish customers. The campaign was intended to bring Israelis together in response to the growing intolerance by both Arab and Israeli extremists.
In the Netherlands, Sunweb, a Dutch travel agency partnered with the Transavia airline to offer discounts on flights and accommodation for volunteers traveling to Lesvos to assist with the refugee crisis. The initiative was created in partnership with aid organization, Movement on the Ground.
All on Messaging
Messaging apps have quickly become feature-packed remote controls for daily life. This trend, which originally emerged in Asia, is changing the world as we know it. From grocery shopping to ordering a taxi, messaging apps are now a worldwide evolution.
China’s WeChat was the first to pioneer the messaging app ecosystem. In July 2014, the company piloted the ability for users to order an Easy Taxi with the app. That same year, it also partnered with food delivery services allowing users to order food from nearby restaurants.
In the Ukraine, a travel agency called Pockettour invites customers to book their vacations through messaging app. As the world’s first Viber-based travel agency, the entire booking process including discovery, reservation and payment is handled in the app. They can also invite friends into the chat and organize a group holiday.
Across the globe, people are letting go of convention and embracing new, self-constructed beliefs and lifestyles. We are changing the way we think about family, marriage, sexuality, gender roles, aging and more. Nowadays, consumers are looking to brands to celebrate and empower diversity. We are defining a new normal.
In the US, retailers are supporting same-sex and multi-racial families despite the backlash. Back in 1994, Ikea ran a commercial featuring a gay couple twenty years before it was cool to do.
When resources are scarce and affordability is key, consumers are embracing single purchases that solve multiple needs. Multi-Task Madness is a trend in which everyday objects are embedded with innovative new functions.
In September 2015, US based brand, BauBax raised over 9 million dollars USD on kickstarter for a travel jacket which boasts fifteen different features. Available in four styles for both men and women, the jacket includes a neck pillow that inflates in two seconds, earphone holders, an eye mask, built-in gloves and a portable charger pocket. It is Kickstarter’s most successful apparel campaign to date.
In 2015 we saw an epic global movement of peoples in the Middle East and Europe. Over one million refugees arrived in Europe and it is predicted that another three million will arrive in 2016. Meanwhile, in North America debates around immigration and citizenship have intensified. Consumers are now looking to brands to help them welcome new arrivals.
In Germany, a startup called Refugees Welcome became an Airbnb for refugees. It connected individuals in private homes with refugees in need of lodging. By the end of its first month, the site had housed 258 refugees. In Brazil, a record store called Fatiado Discos hosted welcome dinners for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Sao Paulo.
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