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What Is The Difference Between A Fad And A Trend

Feedback given by readers of the Only Dead Fish blog, and from participants in the Squared 2012 programme

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What Is The Difference Between A Fad And A Trend

  1. 1. What is the difference between a fad and a trend? A question & an open space debate - March 2012
  2. 2. neilperkin.typepad.com @neilperkin
  3. 3. Squared is a Google-led initiative in partnership with Hyper Island and the IPA designed to address the talent shortage in digital marketing in our industry. It takes graduates at the start of their advertising and media careers through an intensive three-month education designed to accelerate digital capabilities In the session that I ran, I chose to speak about (amongst other things) the ability to identify the trends and shifts that really matter amongst all the noise and spikes of attention. By that I mean the ones that mean you need to adapt your strategy - the ones that are really going to change things and make an impact. I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to pass on some wisdom from some truly smart people in the industry. So I stuck a blog post up asking for some contributions that I might pass on to the graduates. What follows combines the feedback gleaned from responses to the post with that gained from an open space session ran at the event.http://neilperkin.typepad.com/only_dead_fish/2012/03/what-is-the-difference-between-a-fad-and-a-trend.html
  4. 4. Trends become embedded within culture "Our focus should not be on emerging technologies but on emerging cultural practices” Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program A fad courts publicity, a trend doesnt. John Dodds, Marketing Consultant As William Gibson said ‘the futures already here, its just not evenly distributed’…theseeds of what is to come, and that which is enduring, already exist in more subtle, less flashy ways, we just need to become more attuned to identifying them. Dino Demopoulos, Director, Strategic Planning, MacLaren Canada "Dont be social - or technological - be meaningful.” Rob Campbell, Head of Planning, Wieden& Kennedy, China
  5. 5. Trends become embedded within culture “Trends veer from the edge towards the centre (of culture, politics, society) while fads teeter on the edge, falling into obscurity.” Gavin Heaton, Director of Social Media, SAP“A fad is a discernible cultural effect and a trend is usually the underlying cause” Mark Hancock, Planning Director“A trend is driven by something more macro (than a micro explanation), somethingrunning through the whole culture. Ask how will this [insert thing here] change us? With what consequences?” Valeria Maltoni, Strategist, Conversation Agent
  6. 6. Trends affect real change“Fads are elastic, in that the world returns, unchanged, to its original position once theyve run theircourse. Fads inform campaigns.Trends are plastic, in that the world is irrevocably changed by them. Trends inform business models”Phil Adams, Planning Director, Blonde Digital
  7. 7. “Its like weather versus climate: People tend to dramatically overestimate the effectsof technology over the next 12 months but dramatically underestimate the effects oftechnology over the next 5 years.’”Ben Malbon, Managing Director, Google Creative Lab, New YorkTrends focus on the Long-term http://www.flickr.com/photos/11039104@N08/2926143475/
  8. 8. Trends focus on the long-term“We think of innovation as a singular thing - BIG, with a capital I. The firework. Withthe associated cost and lack of longevity.What matters is innovation with a small i; a continuous stream of small ideas. It givesbrands momentum. It drives business. It is built for experimentation.Long ideas are more valuable than big ideas”Gareth Kay, Chief Strategy Officer, Goodby Silverstein & Partners
  9. 9. Trends change behaviour“A fad is a new thing that people are doing. A trend is a new *way* that people are doing.” Dave White, Comms Planner “This from Clay Shirky: ‘Watch young mothers, not geeks - they dont have time for anything that isnt useful.’” Dan Thornton, Digital Consultant “Fads generate excitement. Trends, just happen. The point at which i know something is a trend, and not a fad is when my mum asks me about it” Tom Darlington, OMD To separate fad vs trend, ask: What is the ratio of buzz:behavior over time? Sean Miller, Group Planning Director, R/GA “A fads what several people say they do in the short term. A trends what people are actually doing in the long term” Will Humphrey, Planner, Anomaly London
  10. 10. Trends have multiple articulations “A fad repeats in entirely predictable ways once youve spotted it. A trend keeps surprising you in its creativity.” John Willshire, Founder, Smitheryhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/2681744739/
  11. 11. Trends take on a life of their own“…the ones that produce the most noise - activity, behavior change, interest, passalong - from the lowest signal - i.e. the smallest amount of effort or input…when theplatform or trend…begins to take on a usage that is different than its original intent.”Dan Weingrod, Strategist, NYC
  12. 12. To tell the difference, you need reference points. Its not about futurology. Itsabout understanding now so that developments can be evaluated in context.Preparing for improvisation, if you will:1) Obsess about people (all kinds) and why they do what they do. This way youllknow whats valuable.2) Read, insatiably. Business & Tech, not just Marketing. Short & long, new and old- find a community of sources. This way youll know whats interesting.3) Play with new stuff. Share and talk about it. This way youll know whats good.James Caig, Head of Strategy, MEC
  13. 13. …and now some feedback from the young talent at #squared2012
  14. 14. “A trend is a general behaviour over time. A fad is an extreme action related to that behaviour.” “A trend is an evolutionary behaviour, gaining momentum & cultural roots, whereas a fad is instantaneous and brief”“Fads don’t changethings. Trends do” “Trends evolve and develop. Fads don’t” “Trends are the behaviour, fads are how the behaviour is expressed” “Timescale and groups: fads are short, small & divisive, trends are long, large and inclusive”
  15. 15. THANK YOU