It’s a fallacy to assume that trends are trivial. They’re much bigger than the vagaries of fashion, much more important than the latest foodie fad or the model of the moment. At Porter Novelli, we’re always looking out for them.

To get a glimpse of trends at work, just watch a flock of birds in flight, or time-lapse satellite images of weather systems. Trends are the coherent patterns you see forming in large-scale, complex interactions. They have momentum and direction, and they build over time. Trends influence what’s happening around them and in some cases become dominant for the long term, like ocean currents.

While trends in nature are complex, they’re even more complicated in human societies. Ocean currents don’t have feelings, the weather doesn’t have opinions and animals don’t get inspiration from ideas-people do. Every society in the world today is the product of trends in action, from industrialization, urbanization and emancipation to fragmentation of media and the use of touchscreens for just about everything.

Identifying relevant trends is vital to making sense of what people are doing and why and how we can influence them. We must understand singletons, ethical consumers, helicopter parents, gamers and no-spend boasters before we can hope to influence their opinions or their behaviors.

Trendspotting is one of the building blocks of Intelligent Influence, the way we help our clients systematically achieve their objectives by mapping the most effective interactions, making them happen and measuring the outcome. Intelligent Influence means we understand what motivates people to change their opinions, attitudes and behaviors, and how best to engage them in a dialogue that ultimately influences them to change.

Please join us in our pursuit of “the next.” Please join us in Intelligent Dialogue.