Looking for trends to follow in 2012? Why not just invent one and then get as many people as possible to subscribe to it via as many media and devious means as you can dream up to get it trending? Voila, instant trend! Call it Like-ness... or the year of rampant individualism.
Personal charm is a highly covetable asset in any company or individual with aspirations to trendsetting. This can be seen by the amount of people constantly feeling the need to gauge whether they are liked or not. See also humour, positivity, helpfulness, humility, style...
Evidence that any trend can be made up on the spot comes in the form of a recent newsletter from Topshop.com. According to it, Surf Luxe - featuring so unlikely a selection of sorbet and metallic outfits that not even Nostradamus could have foretold - is a current fashion trend.
My hem, your hem, mayhem!
In the light of the above, if you were thinking that hibiscus meets baroque, tie-dye and hanky-hems stalked by wild animal prints, acid brights and gold detailing were cool - you are spot on with current trends. If not well, you may as well just invent your own.
Got an idea to sell? The world is your oyster in this and forthcoming years. With online shopping figures set to double, the global creative economy is about to erupt. New research from GroupM Search reveals 86% of buyers who purchase in brick-and-mortar stores inform their purchase decision with generic online searches beforehand and that the web now influences more than US$1 trillion of in-store sales.
There's never been a better time to simultaneously get your in-store, e-commerce and SEO strat scenarios buttoned down.
Yes, I know it's comfy, but teensy, imperceptible, incremental changes are so last year. Sweep the slate clean, fire yourself, dig deep, as this is a year to take the competitors by the WOW, by WOM (word of mouth), by whatever means you can wangle.
Revival of the fittest
Lots of the best stuff from decades past will be reworked by savvy designers this year in a new and dazzling 2012 fashion - expect cool city-styled beach buggies, detailing borrowed from classic cars [as an antidote to us all driving around in bread bins forever more], vintage tech and other surprises from yesteryears.
Branding too will get back to its roots, with [ok, I'm really going out on a limb here] real branding irons coming into play as an alternative to traditional body art - embossed heat-your-meat skin statements and perhaps even tribal scarification techniques [may also be available in self-adhesive formats].
In art and décor, the trend for extreme pixellation and oddly scaled geometric forms will go more mainstream. Also expect the best of nature - bugs, feathers, shells in all their iridescent, opalescent, metallic and glittery glory - to appear where you least expect them: on cars, carpets, phones, tattoos, velskoen etc etc You have been warned.
The antidote to the above is the most severe purism: a gazillion ways with white, which as apolitically incorrect as it sounds, will be the new black. It's the detox, the antidote to everything that's gaudy and gauche - perhaps as close to a real trend as you will find in 2012.
Oranje blanje blou
Cobalt could be the new yellow - for accent colours in décor, architecture and furnishings - and thanks G-d for that, I love yellow more than anybody, but enough is enough.
Also the orange shades that were de rigeur for trendy start-ups in the '90s - Bandwidth Barn, 20/20, Orange Telecom etc - will be making a comeback. Any shade of green is acceptable anywhere, but not so big in fashion, due to its tendency to make one look like an elf out of the school play.
Aligning yourself with good causes, caring, being genuinely nice, altruistic, upbeat and encouraging are the ingredients that go into being well-liked in companies, people and brands. Initiatives that evoke some emotive response, that break through indifference, are the ones that will see you through the warming and the warmongering in years to come. It's a no brainer, really.
Aquarius: are we nearly there yet?
This small business about the Mayan prediction of the world ending this year has rekindled the kind of esoteric musings not seen since the 1960s' drug-induced haze. With much reference to the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and stuff.
Astrologically, the term refers to what is known as the Precession of the Equinoxes - massive great 26 000 year cycles, ensuring that even the cleverest astrologers are unsure whether the Age of Aquarius has actually dawned yet or not.
Some are of the opinion that it already did with the discovery of the planet Uranus in 1781, others that it might start any time soon. In all likelihood, it is too early in the 2160-year cycle of the earth's axial wobble for us to have the necessary perspective, and those much vaunted shifts towards enlightenment and more humanitarian values said to be associated with the Age of Aquarius will evolve gradually over the forthcoming centuries - enjoy the ride.
Year of the Dragon
Oh yes, yesterday, Monday, 23 January 2012, was the start of the new Chinese year. This one is associated with a black water dragon and we may well heed the symbolism, which according to soothsayers, could herald floods, while boding well financially for Asia but not so good for poor ol' beleaguered Europe.
Anyway, feel free to breathe fire while festooning the halls with lanterns and other geegews from today and for the next 15 days.
Brand activist, owner of %ff the shelf marketing (offtheshelf.co.za), Afrophile, designer, reporter, promoter, forecaster, Bizcommunity.com creative director at large. A regular contributor of events coverage and opinion, she is happy to provide coverage of any industry event you care to name. Email , follow @terrylevin on Twitter, view her photos on Instagram, connect on www.facebook.com/offtheshelfmarketing or LinkedIn.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.