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The power of combining ‘now’ and ‘next’

It’s easy to get caught up in the regular daily flow of business, with its countless pressures and demands, without making time to lift our heads and look ahead. The world we live in today is markedly different from even just a few years ago and its easy to get absorbed in the day-to-day whilst change happens around us.

The lives we live have changed and so have the products and services around us. For those involved in brand or service development you can pay a very high price for not understanding the customer or following trends that influence what they buy, where they shop or what they want from the organisations that supply them. Yes it’s impossible to spot every new opportunity but with considered investment, the risks can be minimised.

Any organisation ‘worth its salt’ will have a comprehensive research programme to keep their finger on the pulse as to what is happening now and in the short term in regards to their customers needs and wants – it’s the stuff of textbooks. Some of the more forward thinking organisations also appoint trend forecasters to seek out ‘weak signals’ – the first seeds of change – that are then clustered into themes representative of emerging attitudes and behaviours.

Despite the obvious synergy between these two business functions they are often locked away in separate departments, with trend forecasting seen as a bit of a secret society that some of the more traditional and pre-historic researchers may not pay heed to and pay a rather high price for not doing so. That’s why two North East award winning businesses have launched a collaboration to link two previously disjointed disciplines; which used together, can instigate powerful change, ensuring insights about ‘now’ are maximised and used as a foundation for uncovering what will happen ‘next.’

Explain Research, established 20 years ago as a customer insight and market research company counting major utility companies, financial services organisations and health sector bodies as clients. Trend Bible, a trend forecasting agency set up in 2007, helps companies predict what’s driving change and identifies future trends set to impact their business.

The benefits of this unique collaboration are clear. The value of market research can be maximised by using it as a foundation, a stepping stone which when combined with analysis and forecasting methodologies can pinpoint trends that will impact on business in the future. This allows organisations to respond to customer requirements now, but also look to the future and shape their business model around what is going to happen next.

For us, it’s obvious – if you understand ‘now’ and you understand ‘next’ you are a force to be reckoned with and in a few years time what is now a unique approach will be seen as the tried and tested way to develop brands and waves of new customers.