How will the realm of “premium” morph in the years ahead? That was the topic that Faith Popcorn, futurist and Founder and CEO of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, the strategic innovation agency, discussed with Luxury Daily. The bestselling author of “The Popcorn Report” and other books, Popcorn is known as “the trend oracle” and has an accuracy rate of 95%. Here are some of her key predictions about what is emerging in our culture and marketplace:
• One of the key things Popcorn highlighted was that the gap between the have’s and the have-not’s is widening, and the consumer is more stressed than ever. She pointed to the fact that wealthy consumers are wary of flashing labels and are trying not to arouse attention with their luxury buys.
• She predicts that during these tense times, consumers need new ways to connect to brands. Popcorn believes that escapism will rise. Retail is well-poised to take advantage of this with experiences that transport shoppers to new realms. Popcorn mentions the Louis Vuitton exhibition Volez, Voguez, Voyagez near the New York Stock Exchange that immerses visitors in the world of the luxury brand. She also cites the pop-up Cactus shop in downtown Manhattan last summer, which won Millennials over with its mix of insights about cacti and how to care for them, and its screenings of movies set in the desert which built community in a quirkily curated way. She also encourages marketers to look for inspiration at experiences like the Museum of Feelings and the Museum of Ice Cream, with their interactive and Instagram-able spaces.
• Popcorn also says, “Values are the New Value.” Consumers want brands to be as transparent as possible. The Save Our Society Trend is leading people to care more and more about the ethics of their brands. Popcorn forecasts the rise of consumers wanting to see the inside of factories and how well companies are protecting the environment. She advises companies to make consumers proud to use your brand to build loyalty.
• Tech will transform retail in the coming years. Companies must incorporate AR [augmented reality], VR [virtual reality] and AI [artificial intelligence] for solutions to everyday needs. Clothes that monitor the wearer’s health stats, objects that will notify you if they are about to wear out – these are a couple of the new ways sensors and software can make a difference.
• Popcorn also encourages retailers to look at the example of mono-brands such as Sephora and emulate the way they are reinventing the business model. She points to their incubator for new female-owned beauty business and their on-site workshops in makeup for social-media photographs. These offerings elevate the Clanning Trend in their business model, and shows how to create a strong connection with consumers around the core value of the brand.
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