Most lifestyle businesses feel the need to continually present fresh and aspirational products that inspire new ways of self-expression for their customers. Whilst working within the latest trends is usually a useful way to do this, the challenge we find many businesses face is that working with trend can become a subjective process rather than a commercially objective approach to balance product and profit to fashion.
Many trends are presented by experts each season and they usually reflect an academic perspective on the cusp of what is emerging rather than meeting customer needs and commercial viability. We find that our clients want to not only be leading their market in the product concepts they present but also want to ensure an alignment with their customer’s needs. There is little room for error and trends change so quickly. It is important from a brand perspective not to confuse or alienate customers by reflecting a misaligned proposition to a business’ core brand values. We are often asked, “how do I assess all the various trends and confidently know which one will work best for my business and my customer’s needs?”
We understand that product planning is a crucial and a ‘risk associated’ process for any business. It is an investment that must pay dividends both within the season and into the future. It is beneficial to have a process that identifies which trend will work and when is the best time to release it. It is also important to know when to exit a trend.
We are passionate about home lifestyle trend and how to best interpret it into commercially leading products. We have created a process we call the MC&Co. Trend Test.
It is critical that businesses have a process to interpret home lifestyle trends into commercially leading products. At MC&Co. we have created clear driven process to guide our clients.
We have developed a proven process to discover which trends are on the rise, which ones align to your brand and which are your customer. We discover where, and by whom, this trend is being driven. Is it a designer? Is it traditional media or social media? Is a trend emerging in a certain part of the world, and will that then move to other parts of the world? We also work with our clients to adapt global trends to reflect geographical nuances such as colour and pattern.
Our team recommends the current price profile of the products in each trend – are the price points high value, high margin, low volume or low value, or high volume or mixed margin? We determine where a trend is positioned to maximise potential market acceptance and sales.
This data is then plotted into the MC&Co. Trend Wheel to assess where this trend is positioned within key consumer alignments. This assists our clients with decisions on whether they should invest in a particular trend or not.
For businesses, the 5 quantifiers to consider and match against their customer data and brand values are style, sensitivity, attitude, E.D.E.M cycle and position.
Style can firstly be separated into two basic segments, Classic or Romantic. From this all trends evolve.
Classic Style, which is not traditional but endures longer in product lifecycle. Think Armani.
Romantic Style, which is not ‘pretty’ but has greater layers of pattern and accessorisation. For example, Versace.
Once style is established, the second quantifier to consider is sensitivity. Again, we believe sensitivity to be either Masculine or Feminine.
Masculine, stronger forms and high contrast, not a style necessarily targeted at men.
Feminine, a more fluid, organic and cocooning style.
We refer to attitude as the energy given to life and the environment energy of the trend itself. We divide style into two key attitudes; either Mature or Youthful.
Mature is usually more functional, containing an attitude of relaxation and sophistication.
Youthful, an approach of high energy and activity.
Once a trend has been assessed in the above parameters, we determine its position in terms of cycle by determining relative exposure both in media and at retail – both online and physically. There are three areas of Cycle to further define a trends’ relevance and potential for profit over time.
When working with clients we provide qualified and detailed information on Style, Sensitivity, Attitude, Cycle and Position of trend. This ensures that together we make the best determination when creating assortments or developing new products. Our passion is to ensure our clients have the best return on their inventory investment whilst delivering fresh and aspirational products to their customers.
Which trends are inspiring consumers to buy? By categorising trends and matching this to our client’s customer attributes, we can successfully predict and qualify in the most commercial way for a business to engage in a trend and through this, create more sustainable profit.
If this intrigues you and you want to know more, let’s continue the conversation.