Trend forecasting is an art and a science. Sometimes, the ideas come to you in flashes of inspiration; other times, it’s hard work. No matter how it feels at any one moment in the process, trend forecasting needs to become a routine practice for all teams working in the fashion industry. We all know that the fashion industry changes fast and what’s “hot” today won’t necessarily be tomorrow. In order to stay ahead of trends, companies need to invest time and resources in monitoring emerging social and cultural signals. That way, they can implement preemptive measures to stay on top of new developments – before they manifest as full-blown trends! With this blog post, you will learn everything you need to create a successful trend forecasting program within your organization!
Define Your Company’s DNA
Before you can begin to forecast trends, you need to start with an overview of your company’s DNA. This includes an examination of the company’s assets, its strengths, opportunities, and challenges. You may also want to consider your company’s culture, its values, and the way in which it goes about doing business. Why? These are all things that will impact your company’s ability to identify, track and react to trends. Keep in mind that the ability to forecast successfully is not just about creating a trend report. It’s about being able to identify the emerging trends that are likely to have the greatest impact on your customers, your brand, and your business e.g polo shirts and jeans are a good trend settlers, but however, customers would require good quality products and so therefore you need to have original products for instance denim jeans, polo shirts etc for that.
Set a Benchmark
When you’re just starting out with trend forecasting, it’s a good idea to measure your performance against a benchmark. This will help you to determine whether your approach is on track, or if adjustments need to be made. What is the benchmark that you should use? Well, it depends on many factors but the best way to find the right benchmark is to ask yourself this question: “What would I like to achieve within the next 12 months?” For example, if your company wants to be more agile, improve its ability to respond to customer demands, and stay ahead of its competitors, then tracking the top trends in fashion will give you a good idea of where your business could be in 12 months’ time.
Monitor the Environment
Now that you have a benchmark in place, it’s time to start monitoring the environment. This is the process of tracking and sifting through information that is happening in real time. Your goal is to identify relevant trends, cultural shifts, and emerging social and cultural issues. When monitoring the environment, it’s important to remember that ‘more’ is not necessarily ‘better’. You need to focus on the relevant information to ensure that you don’t get caught up in the noise. For example, if your trend forecasting program is focused on the fashion industry, you want to know what’s happening in this sector like Pakistani bridal dresses for wedding season etc. So, you would want to track relevant fashion publications, blogs, and social media channels.
Leverage Data to Identify Emerging Trends
Once you’ve started monitoring your environment, you’ll start to see patterns emerging. It’s at this point in the trend forecasting process that you want to start looking for commonalities in the data. What do you see trending in your environment? What are the topics that are getting the most attention? As you start to identify trends, you want to make sure that you’re taking note of the following: – What is the subject matter? – Who is talking about it? – Why is this trend relevant to your business? – What is the potential for this trend to impact your business? – How might this trend evolve over time?
Create Consumer Insight through User Testing
This is the point at which you want to start looking at how people are interacting with the products and services that your organization has to offer. How are customers responding to your products? What do they like? What do they dislike? What do they wish they had? This is where user testing comes in. With the help of a professional testing company, you can get user testing set up quickly. There are various options when it comes to user testing, so be sure to choose an option that best meets your needs. When selecting a company to conduct user testing, make sure they have experience working with the fashion industry. The last thing you want is to commission a study that yields unreliable results.
Define the “Why” of Each Trend Through Brand Strategy Meetings
Now that you’ve identified potential trends, it’s time to start putting them through the brand strategy process. In most organizations, brand strategy meetings are held on a quarterly or bi-annual basis. You can also hold strategy meetings on a monthly or even weekly basis, depending on the needs of your company. What are the brand strategy meetings for? Well, they are designed to help you translate your company’s DNA into a set of actionable goals. It’s in these meetings that you will want to take each potential trend and ask: “Why is this trend relevant to our business? What does it mean for our brand?”
Determine the Degree of Impact for Each Trend
Once you’ve gone through the process of defining the “why” of each trend, it’s time to determine the degree of impact each trend will have on your brand. This is where you will want to assign a score to each trend. You can use a scale from 1–10, with 1 being low and 10 being high. After you’ve assigned the score to each trend, it’s time to rationalize your decision. What are the reasons for the degree of impact? Why did you give a trend a score between 1–10?
Develop Strategies to Optimize Timing and Fit
The last step in the trend forecasting process is to determine the best timing for each trend and how they will fit into your organization’s business strategy. What is the best timing to implement each trend? Will certain trends be better suited to certain seasons? Will certain trends be better suited to certain regions?
Once you’ve completed the steps to trend forecasting success, it’s time to take a step back and analyze everything that you’ve learned. Hopefully, you’ll be able to identify some trends that could benefit your organization. If so, you’ll want to make sure that you have the resources in place to implement them successfully. Now, it’s time to put everything you’ve learned into practice. Start monitoring your environment and use the data that you collect to identify emerging trends. Then, use your brand strategy meetings to determine the best timing and fit for each trend. Finally, make sure that you have the resources in place to implement each trend successfully.