Last time I was in Florida, I passed a woman on the beach wearing a shirt that read: “Pregnant is the new skinny.” While the shirt itself was pretty ridiculous, it inspired me to look around for other new trends and how they relate to business. Today we’re going to explore a collection of trends that are here to stay.
1. Inspire is the new motivate
You can’t motivate anybody to do anything; all you can do is inspire them to motivate themselves. Find out what fuels people. Then fill the tank.
2. Join is the new buy
Estee Lauder once said, “Women don't buy brands, they join them.” When I first heard that quotation, my inner geography changed forever. And I eventually came to a conclusion that has yet to be disputed: Good brands are bought, great brands are joined. Otherwise, people are just giving you money. And I don't know about you, but I'm not just interested in making money; I want to make history. If you want your brand to last, it has to connect on visceral level, engage on a human level and unite with it on a personal level.
3. Judgment is the new access
When information is infinite, people don’t need information, they need people who can explain the information they’ve already found. The point is: curators aren’t just for museums. In an increasingly commoditized marketplace, service is the key differentiator. And if you can make your customers smarter by explaining the world to them, you win.
4. Love is the new black
As long as you find the people who don’t deserve it and offer to them freely and fully when they least expect it. Like the Sofitel. When I arrived last month at their New York property, their system showed no record of my reservation. A bit annoyed, I ended up staying across the street at a competing hotel. No problem. But when I got my credit card statement, Sofitel still billed me. Later, after speaking with a Sofitel reservations manager, he decided to refund the charge immediately. The Sofitel earned a fan for life from a guest who never even stayed there. The Sofitel rewarded my mistake.
5. Naked is the new uniform
Wearing a nametag 24/7 is a risk. But it’s also good practice. Practice being vulnerable, that is. There is a connection between vulnerability, approachability and profitability. When you open yourself to the world, the world will opens its wallet to you. But only if you’re willing to strip away the superficialities and occupy your vulnerability.
6. Offline is the new online
Watson the computer not only won Jeopardy, but was also the first to buzz in on 25 of 30 answers. Still, Watson did manage to answer one question wrong: the question about art. Lesson learned: Having access to 200 million pages of content still doesn’t mean you know how to feel. The heartbeat of the human experience is a function of emotion, not information. Face-to-face is making a comeback. And we can’t solely filter our lives through pixels. Not if we want those lives to matter.
7. Playful is the new professional
Retaining childlikeness makes you more approachable, more relaxing to be around and more relatable to all ages. That's what my nametag does. From my handwritten nametag, to my trademark philosophy card, to my daily "fill in the blank" exercise, my goal is create simultaneous engagement and entertainment, both online and off. What does your brand do for people? And do those people care enough about your brand to take a moment, take a picture and make a memory? I hope so. Because you have to let people into the moment. Induce participation. And intuitively respond to the human thirst for connection.
8. Transience is the new permanence
The Internet is forever. Every tiny moment now lasts forever. Better be careful what you publish. Dishonesty has a limited shelf life. According to a recent study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 80 percent of divorce lawyers have reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating. Still, this problem isn’t the computer; the problem is the character of the person using it. People don’t get divorced because of Facebook; they get divorced because dishonesty is written all over their face. If you choose to live a dishonest life offline, there’s going to be a huge echo online. And your digital footprint will slip on the technological banana peel and destroy the things that matter most in your life.
9. Waiting is the new working
I love waiting in lines. I’ve accepted the reality that life is the line. There's nowhere to get to. There's no future. All you have is right now. And I don't know about you, but if I’m waiting, I’m writing. Even if only for 20 seconds at a time. You’d be amazed how easily a year of lines turns into a box of books. Instead of looking at your watch, huffing and puffing and trying to enlist the other people in line to join your pity party, make love to the present moment. Then take notes. Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. But if you build portable creative environments for yourself, you can leverage every micromoment that presents itself. And I guarantee you’ll triple your output.
The trends that have nothing to do with clothes are the ones that matter most. Keep these new fashions in the front of your mind. Stick yourself out there today.