‘Soft Leadership’ Skill Comes From Trend Watching

Where do trends come from?

You might think the answer is “everywhere!” – and in part you would be right. Trend forecasters often use a simple technique to spot a trend; they track the number of times a word is used over many platforms. If they see one specific word, like say “fuchsia” or “high bodice” or “rugged” in newspapers, blogs and lately on Pintrest – then they have a start to a trending story.

As these trends evolve, color is often at the center of the discussion. Every year trend setters and industry leaders around the world come together to capture the mood of the country, the world and specifically the consumer – and put forth their findings in color palettes. You will see these palettes become evident across fashion, food, design, printing, events and products. Ever notice your new jacket is the same color or texture as a friend’s new couch?

So what will you see in 2013 and beyond and what do they represent? Here is what one expert says:
To create the ‘magic’ that ultimately leads to sales in the marketplace, colors for 2013 will need to coax and cajole, soothe or astonish, renew and replenish,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

I am betting “coaxing” and “cajoling” is a part of your every marketing day, right?

The nine palettes for 2013 are: Connoisseur, Glamour, New Old School, Rugged Individuals, Extracts, Footprints, Sojourn, Surface Treatments and Out of the Ordinary. (See how these trends translate into color in the boxes on this page)

The marketing question here is how can you and your organization benefit from these trends? Take a look around your organization and see where you can insert a trend yourself.

Trend awareness is an example of what I call “soft leadership”. You will position your organization as being ahead of the curve, a little smarter and “trendy”. If you produce a product, how can you match a new color shade with a few new words to connect with your consumer? Do you have a newsletter or video communications? Weave these trends in there. Is there a way to add texture to some element of your company? (I am noticing high end hotels and Nordstrom returning to highly textured wall papers lately.)

Take a look at this quote from Live Strong founder Lance Armstrong …

“Yellow wakes me up in the morning. Yellow gets me on the bike every day. Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Yellow makes me suffer. Yellow is the reason I am here.” — Lance Armstrong.


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