Watching how trends & creativity become contagious

“Influencers is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment. The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.”

That is as least what the synopsis of the press kit says. This fine documentary was done by R+I CREATIVE, who define themselves as  “a creative agency that sets itself apart from the advertising standards for its alternative, emotion laden and thought-provoking approach.” I never heard of this Paris-based agency before, but the way they produced and promoted the video, is pretty cool. According to R+I, “Influencers” belongs to the new generation of short films, webdocs, which combine the documentary style and the online experience.” Written and Directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, the film is a Polaroid snapshot of New York influential creatives (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment) who are shaping today’s pop culture.

Check out the trailer …

… and the full film and online experience here.

The truth is, it is a very well done (and supposed to be continued) documentary on one of the most fascinating phenomenons / aspects of our culture. Why and how do trends start in society? Trendwatching is one of the main and I think most fascinating aspects of the job as a planner. It is very hard to keep track with trends in such a fast paced environment. Working in a digital agency puts a lot of emphasis on technical developments and trends. But the technical perspective is just one out of many drivers for cultural developments. Today I read a very good article on approaching the tipping point for Foursquare (in the David Ogilvy inspired blog Sell or Else). This quote is a good one. Donald Norman, cognitive scientist and author of The Design of Future Things once said, “The easy part of prediction is the technology. The hard part is the social impact; the effect upon the lives, living patterns, and work habits of people; the impact upon society and culture.”  To really understand the social impact at an early stage is the only chance for brands to use, adopt and create trends in a credible and authentic way. There is one scene in the film (at around 7:40) showing this classical diagram, which is crucial for this process.

One important insight into how trends work is this: Once something gets liked by a lot of people, it is not cool for the trend-setters and early adopters any more (who made it popular in the first place). When it comes to trends (and to the classic product life-cycle) you have that constant battle  -“do I wanna stay small and cool or do I wanna be big and have a lot of people affected by my stuff?” This is true for the people buying the products as it is true for the brands attracting a specific audience. There is a very fine line between being attractive and successful for a mass audience and at the same time being trendy. That is probably the magic moment every brand tries to achieve and preserve for as long as possible. There are not that many brands, that manage to do that over a long period of time.

What’s next? The first season of “In-depth series” will debut online Wednesday, November 17 at www.influencersfilm.com.

By the way the Trend Report 2011 by trendwatching.com is coming out soon.

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About aschauerte

Marketing, Media, Communications and Business Strategist.

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