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What Is The Difference Between A Fad And A Trend

Feedback given by readers of the Only Dead Fish blog, and from participants in the Squared 2012 programme

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What is the difference between a fad
            and a trend?
    A question & an open space debate - March 2012
neilperkin.typepad.com

    @neilperkin
Squared is a Google-led initiative in partnership with Hyper Island and the IPA
                   designed to address the talent shortage in digital marketing in our industry. It
                   takes graduates at the start of their advertising and media careers through an
                     intensive three-month education designed to accelerate digital capabilities


               In the session that I ran, I chose to speak about (amongst other things) the ability
              to identify the trends and shifts that really matter amongst all the noise and spikes
               of attention. By that I mean the ones that mean you need to adapt your strategy -
                      the ones that are really going to change things and make an impact.

                 I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to pass on some wisdom from
               some truly smart people in the industry. So I stuck a blog post up asking for some
                               contributions that I might pass on to the graduates.


                   What follows combines the feedback gleaned from responses to the post with
                             that gained from an open space session ran at the event.



http://neilperkin.typepad.com/only_dead_fish/2012/03/what-is-the-difference-between-a-fad-and-a-trend.html
Trends become embedded within culture

   "Our focus should not be on emerging technologies but on emerging cultural
                                    practices”
          Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program

                      A fad courts publicity, a trend doesn't.
                       John Dodds, Marketing Consultant



 As William Gibson said ‘the future's already here, it's just not evenly distributed’…the
seeds of what is to come, and that which is enduring, already exist in more subtle, less
        flashy ways, we just need to become more attuned to identifying them.
           Dino Demopoulos, Director, Strategic Planning, MacLaren Canada



               "Don't be social - or technological - be meaningful.”
           Rob Campbell, Head of Planning, Wieden& Kennedy, China
Trends become embedded within culture


 “Trends veer from the edge towards the centre (of culture, politics, society)
            while fads teeter on the edge, falling into obscurity.”
                Gavin Heaton, Director of Social Media, SAP



“A fad is a discernible cultural effect and a trend is usually the underlying cause”
                         Mark Hancock, Planning Director




“A trend is driven by something more macro (than a micro explanation), something
running through the whole culture. Ask how will this [insert thing here] change us?
                            With what consequences?”
                  Valeria Maltoni, Strategist, Conversation Agent
Trends affect real change




“Fads are elastic, in that the world returns, unchanged, to its original position once they've run their
course. Fads inform campaigns.

Trends are plastic, in that the world is irrevocably changed by them. Trends inform business models”
Phil Adams, Planning Director, Blonde Digital
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What Is The Difference Between A Fad And A Trend

  • 1. What is the difference between a fad and a trend? A question & an open space debate - March 2012
  • 3. Squared is a Google-led initiative in partnership with Hyper Island and the IPA designed to address the talent shortage in digital marketing in our industry. It takes graduates at the start of their advertising and media careers through an intensive three-month education designed to accelerate digital capabilities In the session that I ran, I chose to speak about (amongst other things) the ability to identify the trends and shifts that really matter amongst all the noise and spikes of attention. By that I mean the ones that mean you need to adapt your strategy - the ones that are really going to change things and make an impact. I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to pass on some wisdom from some truly smart people in the industry. So I stuck a blog post up asking for some contributions that I might pass on to the graduates. What follows combines the feedback gleaned from responses to the post with that gained from an open space session ran at the event. http://neilperkin.typepad.com/only_dead_fish/2012/03/what-is-the-difference-between-a-fad-and-a-trend.html
  • 4. Trends become embedded within culture "Our focus should not be on emerging technologies but on emerging cultural practices” Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program A fad courts publicity, a trend doesn't. John Dodds, Marketing Consultant As William Gibson said ‘the future's already here, it's just not evenly distributed’…the seeds of what is to come, and that which is enduring, already exist in more subtle, less flashy ways, we just need to become more attuned to identifying them. Dino Demopoulos, Director, Strategic Planning, MacLaren Canada "Don't be social - or technological - be meaningful.” Rob Campbell, Head of Planning, Wieden& Kennedy, China
  • 5. Trends become embedded within culture “Trends veer from the edge towards the centre (of culture, politics, society) while fads teeter on the edge, falling into obscurity.” Gavin Heaton, Director of Social Media, SAP “A fad is a discernible cultural effect and a trend is usually the underlying cause” Mark Hancock, Planning Director “A trend is driven by something more macro (than a micro explanation), something running through the whole culture. Ask how will this [insert thing here] change us? With what consequences?” Valeria Maltoni, Strategist, Conversation Agent
  • 6. Trends affect real change “Fads are elastic, in that the world returns, unchanged, to its original position once they've run their course. Fads inform campaigns. Trends are plastic, in that the world is irrevocably changed by them. Trends inform business models” Phil Adams, Planning Director, Blonde Digital
  • 7. “It's like weather versus climate: 'People tend to dramatically overestimate the effects of technology over the next 12 months but dramatically underestimate the effects of technology over the next 5 years.’” Ben Malbon, Managing Director, Google Creative Lab, New York Trends focus on the Long-term http://www.flickr.com/photos/11039104@N08/2926143475/
  • 8. Trends focus on the long-term “We think of innovation as a singular thing - BIG, with a capital I. The firework. With the associated cost and lack of longevity. What matters is 'i'nnovation with a small i; a continuous stream of small ideas. It gives brands momentum. It drives business. It is built for experimentation. Long ideas are more valuable than big ideas” Gareth Kay, Chief Strategy Officer, Goodby Silverstein & Partners
  • 9. Trends change behaviour “A fad is a new thing that people are doing. A trend is a new *way* that people are doing.” Dave White, Comms Planner “This from Clay Shirky: ‘Watch young mothers, not geeks - they don't have time for anything that isn't useful.’” Dan Thornton, Digital Consultant “Fads generate excitement. Trends, just happen. The point at which i know something is a trend, and not a fad is when my mum asks me about it” Tom Darlington, OMD To separate fad vs trend, ask: What is the ratio of buzz:behavior over time? Sean Miller, Group Planning Director, R/GA “A fad's what several people say they do in the short term. A trend's what people are actually doing in the long term” Will Humphrey, Planner, Anomaly London
  • 10. Trends have multiple articulations “A fad repeats in entirely predictable ways once you've spotted it. A trend keeps surprising you in its creativity.” John Willshire, Founder, Smithery http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/2681744739/
  • 11. Trends take on a life of their own “…the ones that produce the most noise - activity, behavior change, interest, pass along - from the lowest signal - i.e. the smallest amount of effort or input…when the platform or trend…begins to take on a usage that is different than its original intent.” Dan Weingrod, Strategist, NYC
  • 12. To tell the difference, you need reference points. It's not about futurology. It's about understanding now so that developments can be evaluated in context. Preparing for improvisation, if you will: 1) Obsess about people (all kinds) and why they do what they do. This way you'll know what's valuable. 2) Read, insatiably. Business & Tech, not just Marketing. Short & long, new and old - find a community of sources. This way you'll know what's interesting. 3) Play with new stuff. Share and talk about it. This way you'll know what's good. James Caig, Head of Strategy, MEC
  • 13. …and now some feedback from the young talent at #squared2012
  • 14. “A trend is a general behaviour over time. A fad is an extreme action related to that behaviour.” “A trend is an evolutionary behaviour, gaining momentum & cultural roots, whereas a fad is instantaneous and brief” “Fads don’t change things. Trends do” “Trends evolve and develop. Fads don’t” “Trends are the behaviour, fads are how the behaviour is expressed” “Timescale and groups: fads are short, small & divisive, trends are long, large and inclusive”