Whenever you are following a "trend" you can be absolutely certain that a "counter-trend" trend also exists. What's more important is that often these "counter-trends" are the most profitable places to play for marketers. Trend/Counter-Trend is one of the principles of our Insightful Thinking methodology that has been one of most useful and insight producing exercises we teach our clients.
The reason this approach is so effective and profitable is that everybody sees the same trend reports, and in the rush to stay relevant, marketers are quick to adopt these trends as strategies for their innovation and brand positioning. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Trying to steer your business to where the "ball is going" is worthy advice. So why don't we see more brands following the "counter-trends" on purpose?
Well it takes some guts and it takes a higher level of curiosity to look at the "trend" and say to yourself that their might be another point of view that could be interesting to my business. That's why it is so interesting when we see an example of a brand following this approach, as discussed in the article from Fusion.net authored by Rob Wile _.
Rob reports on the success that Hungry Man frozen meals is having with an approach that is decidedly "counter-trend" with higher calorie, more hunger satiating comfort foods. The real story here is that Pinnacle Foods, the owner of the Hungry Man brand has committed itself to understanding and delivering on the needs of a definable and large segment of consumers who are looking for a convenient way to satisfy their hunger at the end of long day of hard work. They (Pinnacle Foods) were not blinded by the trend for healthier eating. Can you imagine if Hungry Man tried to market themselves as healthier? It's kind of ridiculous isn't it?
But, of course, that is precisely what some brands have tried to do. Can you say McDonald's? No guts, no glory!
This blog offers stories and discussions on how to build more relevance and differentiation for brands. The author is Timothy Coffey, Chief Revolutionist of Launchforce Strategy, a consumer research consultancy that specializes in highly creative qualitative methods. His experience ranges from brand and research management at Procter & Gamble to innovation management at Tupperware to founding and leading an integrated marketing strategy agency. He is the author of three books, Innovation Myths & Mythstakes, The New Super Consumer, Mom&Kid, and The Great Tween Buying Machine.