Sinead Mooney

In marketing and advertising there is a constant need to identify the trendsetters. A brand adopted by the trendsetters will become desired by the masses and world domination may be within one’s grasp. Rogers’ adoption curve supports this theory. Rogers’ contention is that innovators and early adopters account for 15 per cent of all consumers.

The key to success is to get the brand in front of and liked by innovators and early adopters. But the curve was specifically developed to show the rate at which technology spreads through cultures. There was a time when TVs, washing machines and even mobile phones were rare but now all these ‘mod cons’ have become essential in every home.

Even with recession and tightening of belts, few people will be without a mobile phone. Which leaves us asking the question, how do we reach that Holy Grail group to get a trend started? What about other categories – does the theory hold true? To see a trendsetter in action, look at the one guy at a concert who starts dancing by himself, he is alone dancing for what seems like an interminably long time, he is not what one would traditionally define as cool or trendy, and then he is joined by another guy: these are the innovators.

These two are eventually joined by another 10 or so people who are dancing uninhibited before finally the masses begin to join in. This is a lifestyle trendsetter. In an Irish context, think of those people who were the first to start using the free outdoors to go running instead of opting for gym membership as soon as the recession hit.

Trendsetters are not afraid to stand out, to take the bold step where others fear to tread. In fact, it is probably part of their inherent make-up. But is a trendsetter like this in every part of their life? Someone passionate about cooking may desire the latest kitchen gadget but would not crave the latest mobile phone. Each product/service category has its own trendsetters.

So, for any marketer or advertiser finding your trendsetters is usually achieved by clearly defining your targeted sub-segment correctly. It might be teenage girls aged 13-16 or females aged 40-55 with high disposable income, or the passionate foodie. None of these groups are trendsetters in their own right. Within these groups are individuals who will be innovators and early adopters who will start the trend. So how do we spot them?

Rogers Adoption Curve

It has been an interesting time in research as we moved from the Celtic Tiger through deep recession. A trendsetter may pay to be different or to have the latest thing. Irish society has moved from designer shoe wearing, champagne swilling boom years to a savvier Lidl and Aldi shopper who forgoes the mini-break in Barcelona for a weekend in West Cork.

Despite the emergence of a more considered consumer, in some instances the trendsetter must pay to have the product or service, but this is to fulfil the ultimate need or want. The desire may be to be different or it may simply be rejecting something old or the norm, or it may be an appreciation of something beautiful.

Media has a part to play in allowing trendsetters to flourish. Some products or services require celebrity endorsement to become a trend. But for other sectors, if a product or service is too exposed it loses desirability. The marketing strategy needs to be carefully thought about, whether the former or latter, to get the trendsetters started.

When launching any product, conducting some testing is recommended. But the main watch out is to define the key target market carefully rather than a scatter gun approach and hoping to hit off some key consumer groups. Within your research, ensure there are some questions on attitudes and behaviours which will pull out the key trendsetters within your target market from the masses. Allowing time for this stage of the process is time well spent.

Qualitative research allows us to be more creative in identifying trendsetters. Sometimes we ask respondents to bring things to focus groups that define who they are, is something that is unique to them, something their friends would desire to have that they have, what have they purchased or tried recently that is new to them or to society.

Ask them what they have discarded because they consider it pass

Share with friends:

Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy