One of the things I did really well in 2012 was make huge improvements in writing. In fact, I became an SEO writer on the side for my brother’s company, Blu Solutions, this year. I have learned a lot about SEO, which has directly benefited this blog, and his clients saw a huge jump in their revenue as a result of Blu’s efforts.
I also saw some major improvements in my legal writing – one of the last motions I wrote was so good, even I was surprised.
While I was writing about Ford cars, I stumbled upon this really cool piece of research from Ford Motor Co., called “13 Trends for 2013.”
As Sheryl Connelly of Ford’s Global Consumer Trends and Futuring says in the intro, this is the first time Ford has ever undertaken this type of research and certainly the first time they’ve ever shared their research with the public.
“Suppose you were asked to describe what products you might purchase three years from now. Most people would be unable to answer even if the question were framed three months from now. Yet that is what Ford Motor Company’s team of designers, engineers and marketers strive to do when developing new products. As it takes more than 36 months to bring a new vehicle to market, we must find ways to anticipate what customers will want, need and desire—well into the future.
Since we cannot predict the future, we look to global trends for inspiration. We monitor shifts in social, technological, economic, environmental and political arenas, as these will be the drivers of consumer values, attitudes and behaviors in the future. In its role as an innovator, Ford uses insights from the trend research to inform strategy and create products that not only exceed consumers’ expectations, but also push the boundaries of imagination.”
Christine here: Car companies have people who study everything from sounds, noises the car makes, colors, and all sorts of stuff you probably don’t think about when you get a car. Even those dinging noises the car makes when you get in — somebody studied those for months before they were made part of the car. (Just a few things you learn when you write about cars!)
Ford has a vested interest in these trends. They’ve already done all sorts of cool stuff with their vehicles that are in line with these trends. Would they have embraced these ideas before the auto industry bailout? I don’t know.
Ford’s 13 Trends For 2013 are:
1. Trust Is the New Black
2. Consumer Republic
3. Get Real
4. Pioneering Pathways
5. The Micro Skills DIY
6. Help Me Help Myself
7. The Economics of Local Pride
8. The Rise of the Intima-City
9. Defying Distraction
10. The Minimal Maximist
11. Return to Your Senses
12. Forever Young
13. Post Green
I think the entire study is groundbreaking. Maybe someone else has done a similar study, but I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else. Several of these trends resonate with me in that I’m already doing these things. In particular, I resonate with these:
1, which is about trust;
3, which is about being yourself and letting people see the real you,
5, because I have skills and interests which don’t all fit into one category,
6, because what I’ve done with the DIY products is to help you help yourself. The study says this:
“Known as ‘feedback loops,’ a new form of self-help is emerging, evidenced in products like Nike Fuelband, which provides real-time exercise feedback, and Mint.com, which offers real-time updates about your finances. Why? Because with increased exposure to worlds outside our own, people are more self-aware and self-reflective. Personal accountability is high—no one else is going to fix their problems; they have to address them themselves. As a result, they seek easier and more public ways of changing behavior—namely, by dangling rewards (or punishments) in front of themselves. Increasingly, people are turning to these self-imposed programs of incentive (and disincentive) to yield meaningful change. In turn, they have become more results-oriented, calculating what goods and services can do for them in an age of constant feedback loops.”
11, because I value my time more than I do earning a lot of money, although I don’t think they are mutually exclusive.
If you are a business owner or a consumer, it’s worth a look at these trends. On a personal level, the synchronicity was interesting – this report “showed up” after a period of time in which I’d been contemplating restructuring some things about my business that are in line with the trends in this study.
In the coming months, you’re going to see the efforts of my expansion into other areas, simply because there are so many things I’m interested in, many of which I can’t write about on this blog because they are off topic. And I write a lot of blog posts for my brother’s clients, so there’s no excuse why I couldn’t write more about all the things I love.
Don’t worry – this blog isn’t going anywhere. The law is my first career love and one of my goals, as you probably know, is to go to law school. So this expansion is in part related to diversifying my business so I don’t have to worry about paying the bills while I’m in school. I also think, in order to stay relevant, it makes a lot of sense to continue to blog while I’m in school rather than rebuilding everything after I graduate.
What do you think about these trends? Are you already part of these trends? Do you see these patterns unfolding around you?