Methodology

We take a scientific approach to predicting trends. We use behavioural research methods to analyse evolving attitudes and environments.

Behavioural changes are typically triggered by attitude changes, which themselves are triggered by specific (environmental) events. By identifying an attitude change – or, better yet, identifying an event that’s likely to trigger an attitude change – we can confidently predict a behavior change.

For this reason we use an Attitudinal Observation model to predict trends. People rarely change their behavior for no reason, or just because they’re told to (except perhaps in a school or office). Typically an event triggers an attitude change, which in turn triggers a behavior change. For instance, if a friend of yours who smokes gets cancer (event), you’re likely to become more worried about the negative health effects of cigarettes (attitude change) and you’re likely to endeavour to smoke less (behavior change). The stronger the action (e.g. the friend dies) or the more frequently it occurs (e.g. another friend or family member who smokes also gets cancer) then the more intense or long term the behavior change is likely to be (e.g. you decide to give up cigarettes altogether).

Attitude changes aren’t limited to individuals: they occur in groups too. An event triggers a group attitudinal change, which in turn triggers a group behavior change, creating a new ‘trend’. For instance, if a celebrity who smokes gets cancer (event), many of the people who have heard of that celebrity will become more worried about the negative health effects of cigarettes (attitude change), encouraging many people to endeavour to smoke less (behaviour change).

To enable us to accurately predict consumer change, we need to stay informed on both attitudinal and environmental trends. We use hard data, from white papers to government reports, and soft data from depth interviews to best-seller lists. Our trend scouts identify, read and summarise thousands of news articles, white papers, blog posts and research reports, feeding into our comprehensive trends library. Researchers and journalists across the globe help us identify new national and sector trends and markets.

Once we have identified a trend, we use a unique combination of research methodologies we call the Multiple Reasoning model: using observational, deductive and statistical reasoning to explore its potential growth, impact and consequences, and deliver robust actionable insights for our clients.