Episode 14 | Dissecting Trends

Feb 20, 2023

Description: Join in on the fun this week, as we discuss why we think people are so obsessed with trends! Kerri dissects exactly what we can learn from them and how to discern which ones are worth listening to. Plus, stick around to the end where Kerri dives into some communications and leadership trends to keep a lookout for.


Esther’s Camping trip


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Kerri: Hello and welcome to the Flourish and Friends podcast. I’m your host, Kerri, and I’m here with my friend and collaborator. Hi Esther.

Esther: Hey, Kerri. Hey friends. 

Kerri: Our goal for this podcast is to create an avenue for our Flourish community to gather around important conversations that lead to more growth and more flourishing.

Esther: Yeah, nothing is really off the table because how we lead our life spills into how we lead at work, and overall, our brand reflects that, especially as creative. 

Kerri: Today we’re talking all about trends. What are trends? Why is everyone so obsessed with them? And what are some trends that we see on the horizon? But first, let’s start with some fun things that are giving us life.


Esther: All right? I’m gonna start this week and ask you, Kerri, sparking joy in your life right now. . 

Kerri: This is a work joy spark. You may have heard of it already. It’s called the pocket app or pocket bookmark. You put it in your pocket extension, that’s the right word. It’s the pocket extension, so you add it to your Google Chrome browser, and it’s an easy way to save articles or webpages for later. 

So you can categorize them, you can add different filters and I find that it’s a lot easier to use than just the regular Google Chrome or Safari like folder system cuz my bookmarks are out of hand, like they get out of hand really easily. So it’s just a really great tool and I’ve been trying to do the thing along the lines of digital minimalism slightly.

Where, if I see something interesting that I wanna read, I’ll tag it in Pocket with the tag, like to read later or something like that. And so I’ll have a dedicated time where I sit down and pull up the articles that I wanna read, and that way I’m not getting. too scatterbrained by going down rabbit holes, , once I come across it.

So highly recommend. Have you heard of it before, Esther? 

Esther: No, I haven’t. But that sounds like so helpful if we’re trying to do digital minimalism. That’s awesome.

Kerri: It is. Yeah. It’s kind of like maybe a bit like Pinterest for webpages. And you can create categories. I think you can share different filters that you’ve created too. And there’s a paid version, but I definitely use the free version, so yeah. 

Esther: Yeah, that’s handy. 

Kerri: What’s your fresh pick this week? 

Esther: So my fresh pick is a swag. So I went camping this weekend and it was so fun. We borrowed so much equipment from friends. Very generous of them. But this was the first time I’d ever heard of a Swag.

We are not your typical camper. So this was our first time camping as a couple and we’ve been together for like eight years. So that tells you a little bit. How much enthusiastic we are about camping, but since we’re in this beautiful country, the state, Victoria has so much to offer as far as like natural landscape.

And so we tried it out, absolutely loved it. But the thing I love about a swag versus a tent is that they’re a bit longer. So if you’re taller, it’s really great. I’m pretty average height. So I had some extra space just like you would in a tent to put some things, but it also comes with a mattress.

When you get to the campsite, you unroll it. And it’s so easy to set up. It’s just three poles. One on each end and one down the middle. And then it’s basically done. You can put in the pegs to secure it in the ground. 

You can unzip to allow the air to flow through. They have the fly nets and all that. But I was just really impressed that you could get something with a sleeping mat already built into it. The only downside is that when you roll it up, it is pretty massive. You’d only take it if you were taking a car or some sort of vehicle to camp.

I don’t think anyone would want to hike with this. It’s, it’s a pretty big size. If you think about those roll up mattresses that you get in the mail, and probably about that, size a little lighter because the mattress isn’t as thick, but yeah. The, the highlights are it’s easy to set up, you get great sleep and yeah, it’s really practical if you’re driving somewhere.

Kerri: So was it a two-person swag? Because I just googled images of a camping swag , and it’s looks like, kinda like a, kinda like a coffin.

Esther: It’s, it’s, it’s basically just a, a covered bed. so we had a double swag which is a full size. 

Kerri: So you were together. Okay. 

Esther: Yeah. In this together, you can get the full size, which is like a full size mattress. that’s how wide it is. And then the regular ones, the single person ones are probably twin size in width twin size mattress. Yeah and then since coming back, Cody’s been doing a lot of research on like swag tents, so you can get like a swagger tent, I think is what they’re called. . I just love the name. We’re so swag, swagger tent.

Kerri: That is not what I thought. That’s not what I thought it was gonna be. I had never heard of that before. We’re not really into camping as much either. Definitely like open to the idea, but. I feel like that sounds like a great piece of gear. I’m all about having a mattress that’s kind of, I feel like maybe I’m, I’m more of a glamp probably, and that feels like a good hybrid.

Esther: Yeah, which a lot of people I think nowadays bring blow up mattresses to put inside their tents. I saw someone at the campsite had like a regular size tent and had fit like an air mattress into the entire diameter of it. So it just was a mattress, which amazing. I mean, you can do that too, , and that probably packs down a bit more.

But yeah, this is. is really practical. And they’re not that that crazy expensive either. So definitely recommend that if you’re into camping or want to be a camper and you’re kind of put off by sleeping on the ground. I was introduced to a swag and my life just got that much more swaggy, hahaha..

Kerri: ..I love it. . 


Esther: All right, Kerri, I wanted to kind of approach this as more of me interviewing you because I’m gonna be honest, I’m one of those folks who is pretty wary of any new trends that pop up. It takes me a while to suss it out and to see if it’s good or bad before I participate. 

I think of the time that you know, skinny jeans were all the rage and I was like, I don’t know about that. It took me probably three or so years to kind of get around it and then you know, that that trend’s left and now only millennials wear skinny jeans, but as just a light noted example. It takes me a while. I’m, I’m very reflective, as we’ve talked about in past episodes. And I like to bring in a lot of information before I make a decision for what I’m gonna do.

And so I’d love to ask a few questions on, just around the topic of trends. Just to help gain some clarity for me and the rest of our listeners about this topic. So first off, I wanna ask you why are people so obsessed with trends and what do they actually tell us and how do people track them?

Kerri: First of all, I love this topic. I’m excited to talk to you about it and love that you kind of come from a different approach than me. I think just as a background, I would say that I. Depends on what area of my life it is. I can be an early adopter in some areas that feel less like higher stakes, you know? If I, if I just feel good about this new thing that’s coming around the corner.

But I guess stepping back and kind of defining what a trend is, would be helpful to frame our conversation. So thinking about it as trends versus fads and kind of understanding that there are, there’s value in both trends and fads, and I think part of it, Are we talking about when we’re talking about trends? Are we talking about the same thing? 

So I think a lot of times people can write articles or have hot takes on things that are probably more of a fad than a trend. And so the way that I kind of think about a trend is a trend is something where, a direction is shifting and something is changing and developing.

So that is basically just kind of a blanket definition of any trend. Whereas a fad is something that’s more quote-unquote viral. It’s like things are happening. There’s some, some shared enthusiasm around something, and it tends to be more short-lived. So if you think about that definition of trends as a general direction shifting where something’s changing or developing, I think it just goes back to human nature, which is we’re always interested in changes and humans just do change.

Like it just happens. Humans change, the world changes, society changes, and we can talk more about what that is for like trend forecasting in just a little bit. But I think that’s why people are really attracted to them. Because we will naturally want to introduce new things into our lives. So I think that has a lot to do with it.

And I love that you talked about the example of your skinny jeans, because I was actually listening to a podcast unrelated to this episode, preparing for this episode, but it was perfect because it’s about trends in the fashion industry, and it’s a really great podcast called Articles of Interest, and it’s produced by Avery Truffleman.

And she talks all about trends in fashion and specifically the trend of Ivy. Ivy in America. So kind of prep, she, she kind of interchanges the word prep in ivy, but how it’s this long enduring trend in America and kind of goes back and dissects trend and the industry. So I think in all of these different sectors of our society, there are going to be trend movements everywhere.

Everywhere you look because there is an invested interest. I think one, people are interested in things changing, but two, there’s a vested business interest in things shifting and changing too. For sure. 

Esther: So would you say that the information to establish whether or not it is a trend is based in the past? So if it’s happening, if it’s been happening for say, like a few years, then would you start to adopt it as not a fad anymore, but a trend is it a different avenue or is it within the same avenue, but it’s just there’s a, a step that needs to be taken before a fad becomes a trend. How would you describe that?

Kerri: So I think of fad as more of, again, that viral moment. So like a cultural moment that everyone’s rallying around. Or es, especially nowadays with social media, kind of these different things that pop up in our. . It’s just that turn, whereas, trend I see as kind of this underlying strategy.

So I think of the word strategy way more with the word trend than I would with like a fad. So fad I would think of as more of a tactic. So you, okay. If you’re thinking from a brand perspective, you’re wanting to look ahead towards trends that are happening now, where trends are shifting, in terms of strategy. Whereas fads can be great if they align with your brand for that short period of time.

Maybe for a campaign or for a post, you can kind of bring that fund fa fad in to your brand or your business. Of course, it depends on your brand and business. Some brands are very fad driven and that works for them. But for most of the people that we’re talking to who have missions and organizations, it’s going to be more of having that decision making process for your own brand.

What makes sense to. have a, have a voice on. What makes sense to incorporate that would be fun, that could align with your brand values. And to really think, think strategically about when to incorporate a fad. A trend is trends are happening regardless of whether we’re seeing it or not. So it’s more of this underlying thing that is evolving as it goes.

Esther: Mm-hmm. . So once we notice a trend in our sector, in our industry. What do we do, like, if it’s a trend, is it something that we need to automatically apply to our, our organization? 

I like what you said about evaluating if it aligns with our values, but what if it’s a, a trend that determines how people are spending money or how people are donating or volunteering or even just trends on how people are interacting with internet and how to reach people. Like what do we do with those types of trends that are pretty tied to how we communicate or how we fundraise?

Kerri: Great question. So I think one thing to think through is what trend forecasting is a whole industry in and of itself.

So I think even just looking at how trend forecasters analyze trends and what’s around the corner and what’s bubbling up from the surface now. Can be really helpful to think through as we’re making those sort of decisions. So one of the acronyms for how trend forecasters do their analysis is P E S T L E.

So what that means is, and they might pronounce it pestol, I think I’m not a trend forecaster, so I don’t know, but it’s looking at political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental, things that are happening in the world. Those are really big, really broad topics, but those are all impacting how we do our work, how we do our business, how we do the missions that we’re, that we are doing.

And I think when we’re witnessing a trend or experiencing a trend, what often actually happens is we’re in, we’re part of a trend, but we actually didn’t make a conscious decision to be a part of it. So that is more, more likely the case that we’re just doing these things because it just happened and this is something that was expected.

So I think, maybe even a different question could be, what are the things. You know, why are we doing What we are doing now? And do those things align with our values and our business goals and objectives? 

You can make a, a stance, or stance might be a strong word, but you can make a decision to not engage in a very long-term, long-standing trend. And you can be just fine as long as you’re wanting to invest in other areas. 

So one example of this would be, Patagonia, who lives out their values and a lot of different things that they do. They’re not on Facebook. They don’t do Facebook advertising and think of all of their competitors who pour millions of dollars into Facebook and Instagram.

I’m not sure about Instagram. I need to check on that. But Facebook advertising, and that is a specific choice that they made. And you could argue like, well, is Facebook a trend ? Like, you know, it is in a way because it didn’t always exist, it evolved, and it’s still continuing to evolve and shift, and I think social media as a whole is shifting.

For sure. So that’s one of the simplest examples to think about for your brand. Did that answer your question? 

Esther: Yeah. . That’s great. I mean, I think of Tesla as well as they made a conscious decision to not do any marketing, which you probably don’t even realize. Their conscious decision to not, yeah, pay money. And then also I think their their motivation behind it is we’re going to have word of mouth because that’s higher. ROI if our product is good enough.

So I think they’re placing, just like Patagonia, more investment in how we can make our product innovative, how we can make our product stand out, and then trust the consumer’s experience that they’re gonna want to share about it. And we’re not gonna have to manipulate them to. 

I love that example of yeah, you can observe the trends and kind of establish is this something we need to build momentum or is it something that we need to kind of push back on? 

I think that when we talk about trends, we should also talk about how. We can become trendsetters, especially as an establishment, as an organization, if you have a lot of influence or even when you’re starting out fresh. Because trends, I feel like they have a sliding scale of good and bad or healthy and not healthy. Would you agree with that? 

Kerri: Absolutely. For sure. Yeah. I think it all goes back to like deciding to do anything for your mission. It goes back to what, what’s the goal of what we’re doing here?

Like Patagonia cannot do Facebook advertising because they’re, they have brand resources in other areas and they have an amazing product. And same with Tesla. They just have brand recognition. They have that name and. I think what’s an interesting example of this to kind of think through a decision lens, could be around thought leadership.

So this concept that most brands are really moving the direction or have moved, continue to move the direction, of educating instead of just pushing and selling. So really becoming an authority on whatever topic it is. And that builds to relational trust. It’s a lot of great things in this term. Thought leadership. You could say is the trend, but it will continue in into the future in some shape or form, rather than being the yeah, that transactional by my product. 

So thought leadership as a trend makes a lot of sense for probably most organizations. Now, what you’ll wanna think about though, is some people, Get on the thought leadership train as an individual leader or as a person, which is great, but you have to think about your goal.

I think a lot of people would say, I need to do thought leadership, but it’s like, well, why? Why are you needing to do thought leadership? Do you want to connect with new partners? Are you trying to get a raise at work? You know, sometimes trends, people jump on them without thinking about their why. And so I think it’s really important to step back and say, I wanna grow my thought leadership on LinkedIn to do X, Y, or Z.

And then it’ll be much more strategic and much more intentional. But as a whole, I think brands like thought leadership trend is, is a trend that started. You know, probably it’s really been around for a while, but really took off with access to everyone having their own voice and social media. 

Esther: Yeah. That’s great to think about. So I just wanna take a few minutes. Towards the end just to ask you what some of those trends you are noticing and kind of give us a little bit of insight of I don’t know if you have any forecasting thoughts or if you just want to talk about the trends that you’ve noticed happening presently.

But what are some of the things that we should look out for? 

Kerri: I think first there are a lot of different organizations, if you’re interested in tracking trends or wanting to be more of a trendsetter rather than, you know, a few years behind. There are a lot of different organizations that you can go to who do the analysis on all of that pestle, political, environmental, social, . 

So don’t feel like you have to go out and like find your own trends, cuz there are people who do that research, whether it’s an industry organization, there’s an organization called Momentum that does that, or just whatever your field is. If you’re in nonprofits, go to your nonprofit organizations or associations. Those are really great ways to stay on top of it. . 

So the trends that I really see on the horizon, just thinking through all of those different categories that are listed out there in the brand and communications space. A new way to do social. We’ve talked about this a lot on the podcast. I think this is a very long-term trend and will continue to evolve just because there’s so much money and business to be won using social the way it currently is right now. 

But I do think it will shift and I think. I’m, you know, TikTok may be around in 10 years. It might look different, but I think with everything we know about mental wellness I’ve been starting to hear organizations who have ethical issues with investing ad dollars. I mean, certainly Patagonia was like way early adopter on that trend, but even now, smaller local organizations are questioning using that as a medium. So I think that knowing that social is going to adapt and that you could be on the forefront of doing something different is something to look out for. 

I think that social, social will continue to focus on entertainment because there’s been so much people trying to sell us stuff. I think that, I think that’s part of why TikTok works so well, is because it’s not someone trying to sell you. It’s like very funny and it’s a different vibe than like buy my product or, I don’t know. I just think of the millennial influencers on Instagram. It’s a very different vibe on TikTok. Yeah. And I’m not even on TikTok, but it’s just a whole different situation. 

And then I think, you know, going completely offline, I know several people, and I think a lot of our generation and maybe the generation after us, once they get burned out on TikTok, just unplugging completely. 

So people are really craving those real life experiences, and so the opportunity to gather people in real life and build community in real life and build relationships in real life and have conversations not digitally. I think it’s gonna be really powerful. 

Esther: Yeah. I think just in the art world, a lot of analog and old processes have come back in the recent years.

Because there was such a huge digital boom in the early and teens of the two thousands, and I feel like a lot of people are coming back to, okay, how can I simplify and not overcomplicate just even in the art world. 

Yeah. But I think you’re totally right on that social front that the more time we spend on our phone, the less happy we are. And so you’ll definitely see, I think an increase in uh, moving offline and having more structure around usage and that whole thing. 

Kerri: I was gonna say again, it all goes back to goals. I think as an organization, if say you focus on something like health or health equity, you’re gonna have that conversation maybe a lot sooner than an organization who does something like domestic violence services, because the health equity you’re thinking I don’t wanna be feeding into this mental health crisis. With domestic violence service, you’re thinking, I wanna reach as many people as I can who may need help. 

So it, it really always goes back to what your goal is, but I think knowing that these platforms are going to shift is, is really important. And there are different innovative ways that you can even approach your approach to the platforms rather than just doing like, I’m just posting, you know, so, 

Esther: Yeah, I think you’re so right. Well, zooming out a little bit, what are some trends you’re seeing in just communications, how organizations and brands are communicating with their brand connectors?

Kerri: This is obviously a topic we’re passionate about, but inclusive communications, we’ll talk about this all day long. The fact that brand communicators need to be embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into their practices, their processes, their people, the power, all of the elements of the inclusive brand that we talk about with our community a lot.

And I think I also see the shift and opportunity. For communicators to really step up as those key organizational leaders in the conversation because it’s the messages that are being created. It’s visually through audio digitally, all of the mediums in a way, communicators really are shaping the story.

So I think there need to be more communicators who have an important seat at the table with leadership as those conversations are being navigated. So I see a lot of organizations who have you know, in their executive suite, it, it’s every, it’s finance, it’s the executive leader, it’s HR, and there’s not a communications person at that table.

So I’m thinking and hoping that that’s gonna be shifting for, for smaller organizations. Larger, medium sized organizations typically do realize the value of that, but I think communicators really have an opportunity to help shape the narrative and to help with the relationship with the communities and outreach that organizations are doing.

And then I think just knowing that we know that the next generation expects brands and companies to be where the problems are solved. Going back to that, analysis, political, social, environmental. Everyone’s kind of burned out on, the politics. We know there’s huge gaps there. It just seems very polarized and people are increasingly looking to support with their dollars, both with donation dollars, but also who they’re buying from and purchasing from too.

I Like your example in art Esther, because I think that that affects us as individuals with our purchasing power. Just like I had talked about in this past trend category, and I think moving into a, a trend of ethical leadership and transparency. It kind of sounds odd to say that it’s a trend cuz it should just happen. But I think there will be more challenging questions and situations that are on the horizon where as storytellers, we wanna be able to tell the story of our ethical leadership that’s been happening.

So a really tiny, small example could be, AI generated art is taking over. So for brands that are really valuing equity, we’re gonna have intentional investment in hiring a human to create a work. And to create stories around that human creating, that piece of art and having it be a local artist and talking about their process and their development and where the synergies are between that collaboration with artists and our mission and our brand And then those who are donating or engaging with our brand in any sort of way will see the practicing what we preach in terms of ethical leadership, d e I, and leadership, all of that. 

That’s just one really small example. They’re gonna be even bigger examples on the horizon with just the cutting of humans out of the workforce with AI and automation. So it’ll be really interesting to see. But I think there’s more stories, it’s more interesting and it’s what people want to engage with is companies who have the humanity and what they’re doing.

And then finally, just relational trust building communication. This is, if you think about the recession, you know, people talking about a recession for the past, probably year plus, and just the, the thought of economic downturns and the economy is certainly a piece that will shape trends. And so I think folks will just continue to engage and seek to engage those brands and companies who have actually nurtured a relationship with ’em.

And it’s, it’s really simple. I mean, when we, we were tightening our budget and we had been giving to an organization who I hadn’t heard from in over a year. Even though I love their mission, I love everything they do. They hadn’t done anything to communicate what the impact of my investment was. They hadn’t told me any stories. I hadn’t seen anything, crickets. So it’s just something. again, those consistent relational communications are so important. 

And then I think along those lines, the trend of influencer marketing. It will be interesting to see where that goes. I don’t know that I have any predictions. I don’t think it’s gonna go away, but I think it would, it has been shifting and I think it will continue to shift.

The reason influencer marketing is so powerful is because referral is so powerful and we care about real. Stories and those recommendations of people who’ve experienced our product or our service or vouch for our charity, that’s really meaningful to people. So I don’t think that’s gonna go away. 

But I do think maybe instead of it just being these like really beautiful mommy bloggers who are in, who are being influencers, I think it’s gonna continue to shift towards more field experts in people who have expertise in different areas and people following those thought leaders. Again, rather than just people who are I guess maybe famous for being famous, but people will always wanna follow those people too. Hence the Kardashians. So.

Esther: Yeah, that’s true. Well, I think that’s really helpful information. Will help us kind of dive into what trends we wanna do more research on. Also realizing that it does affect our audience, it affects our brand connectors as well as affecting us.

And so having an informed decision in. How we communicate and how we build trust is just always great. So yeah, like Kerri said, we’ll link to some, maybe trend forecasters in the show notes, just so that you can kind of look at as you do a little bit of research into.

This year and what’s coming up. 


Kerri: Okay. Moving on to bookmarks, Esther, is there something you’re reading, watching, or listening to personally or professionally that you’re lovin’?

Esther: Yeah, I am a huge fan. I’m gonna recommend another podcast. So sorry if you are tired of that. There’s just not enough minutes in the day. I want to bookmark Throughline. So Throughline is just an amazing podcast. We’re talking about trends. 

They kind of go back, so they’re, their tagline is looking into the past to understand our future. So they take like a current Thing that’s happening either politically, socially economically, all those types of topics that we talked about earlier. And they do a little bit of research on how we got to this point, why things are a certain way, why there’s so much division in this certain topic.

All those types of things. And then they kind of talk about. Just, bring clarity to some things that we think are happening in a vacuum, but we all know that history, one, it repeats itself, but also we can learn from history and help us navigate our future. 

So Throughline. Such a great listen. I think their episodes are probably around 45 minutes to an hour. Really good storytelling as well, which I think is really important when you’re listening about history. 

Kerri: I’m excited to check that out. Love it.

Esther: Yeah. What about you, Kerri? 

Kerri: My bookmark is along the lines of what we’ve been talking about.

It’s an article from Forbes and the headline is, the next 10 months could Determine Your Brand’s Next 10 years. And it, it’s a little old. It was written last summer, but I think it’s still relevant because it talks a lot about how, how can brands continue to grow even through economic turmoil and how can we continue to be creative. 

And the natural tendency for folks is to really cut back when a recession’s on the horizon or when recessions are happening. But in this article, Tyler Turnbull, he’s the author, he really argues about leaning in and brings up some of the research that’s been done on brands who have continued to invest in their products and services and brands so their communications and market. 

And in this study, I think it was from 2019 and it surveyed 3000 companies and those who invested continued to invest in their product services and brands. Continued to grow and grow dramatically. While, as those who stopped investing even for a short time during a recession, they never caught up to the other people in their market share.

So I just think it’s really interesting because it is a reminder that consistency is really key and it goes back to those relationships and it’s, I think we just have to expect that those times are gonna come. So being able to have that buffer where we can still invest in our brand and have a strategy for when it’s gonna happen and continue doing the thing that you do, or having the service that you have excellently.

throughout that, and that will carry you through any hard season. He had a really great quote that I loved from the article, and it says, quote “in timeless brands, create platforms that are provocative, behavior changing and consistent over time, helping to build brand value. The best brands know what they stand for, believe in what they do, and don’t change who they are. They evolve their communications to connect with what people feel and need in the moment while staying true to themselves.” 

So I just love that quote and I think that’s kind of sums up the, probably the heart of what we are all about too. So while it’s important to pay attention to those upcoming political, economic, social changes. Fine tune your deployment, but you don’t have to overhaul your whole strategy because that’s your proven approach. So that is kind of, I felt like just a good article along the lines of this episode with trends it goes back to the basics, it goes back to the timeless things.

Esther: Yeah, so good. 


Kerri: Well thanks for joining us today. Please be sure to check out flourish creative.co/podcast to see the show notes. 

Esther: Yeah, and we’d love to hear from you as well. You can send us a note to hello@flourishcreative.co or Tag us on Instagram, where at Flourish Creative Co. And feel free to leave a review wherever you’re listening. this helps new friends. Discover our podcast. 

Kerri: Until next time, live well and flourish.



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