Out of the Sandbox

Tracking the Trends

Whether you're a producer, a geek, a tweenager, or Warren Buffett, you still want to know "what's the next big thing?" To help me stay up to date on media trends, I read The Intelligence Group's Cassandra Report and TrendCentral newsletter daily. Recently, I spoke with Allison Arling, senior director of strategic innovation for The Intelligence Group, for a peek into their private Oz.
February 29, 2012

Whether you’re a producer, a geek, a tweenager, or Warren Buffett, you still want to know “what’s the next big thing?”  The Intelligence Group’s Cassandra Report and TrendCentral newsletter, one of the must-reads that crosses my screen every day, have exactly the kind of info that keeps me in the know. Allison Arling, senior director of strategic innovation for The Intelligence Group, gave me a peek into their private Oz.

WS: Your trends focus mostly on Gens X,Y, and Z. How are their demographics changing the face of media?

AA: Media, particularly social media, has essentially become an extension of young people’s physical lives.  They have acquired a “Social DNA.”  Gen Y has come of age with social media and many Gen Zs will never know a world where social media didn’t exist. Beyond social media, there is also an expectation of a digital component for every physical item.  In fact, physical ownership of media is becoming less important as the cloud offers on-demand access anytime, anywhere.

WS: Our next Sandbox Summit@MIT focuses on anytime/anywhere access. Are we right in assuming mobile is the next big thing?

AA: We currently talk about mobile as young peoples’ digital “Sixth Sense” and after the release of Apple’s iPhone 4S with Siri, young consumers’ are forming very personal relationships with their mobile phones.  I think the next evolution of mobile is SoLoMo. It combines Social, Local (GPS), and Mobile elements to provide more intuitive and personalized experiences.

WS: Speaking about personalized experiences, many trends rely on taste-graphing, such as used by Hunch.com . How does that work?

AA: As people continue to share their “likes”, check-ins and social connections on the web, an abundance of information becomes available to anyone who knows how to harness it.  Hunch uses that information, in combination with a series of questions asked to visitors of Hunch.com, to find similarities in responses and correlating data points.  When someone allows access to their personal social media profile, Hunch can make personalized recommendations on everything from movies, to restaurants, to books and much more based on the information it already knows about the user and correlating Hunch data points from the web.  Hunch continues to grow and “become smarter” as more people use it.

WS: There’s a fine line between innovation and intrusion. I understand the next Cassandra Report focuses on innovation. Are you going to uncover more companies such as Hunch doing incredible things?

AA: The next Cassandra Report with a special focus on innovation will be released next week. It examines the “Innovation Generation” from innovative brands to young entrepreneurs, and even hackers who are breaking new ground in their respective industries and disciplines.

WS: Can you give a teaser?

AA: We have uncovered a trend in Past Presence.  As our personal digital histories become more public and accessible (Facebook Timeline, for example), there’s a changing expectation that the past be present for not only people, but brands as well.  Transparency is key as it is becoming more difficult to erase Past Presence.

WS: If you were a gambler…what one product would you put your money on today?

AA: I’m definitely not a gambler, but I would put my money on products like Warby Parker glasses or TOMS shoes from companies that operate on the one-for-one model.  These companies are not only selling great products, but more importantly, they offer consumers the opportunity to feel great about their purchases by helping others.

Remember, you heard it here first! Continue the conversation at wendy@sandboxsummit.org or at the SandboxSummit@MIT where Allison and her team will present new info. For information about the latest Cassandra report go to trendcentral.com/tag/cassandra-report/ .

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