It is beneficial for businesses to predict future trends that relate to their products, and to alter and adjust their product accordingly. This results in businesses knowing what the consumer wants before the consumer does. If the product is there it often creates desire and the need to have from the consumer ultimately makes profit. Trends often start from innovators with no intention of profit or business, and will almost every time adopted by large companies to make profit.
Charity shops were popular with “environmentalists” and “people who oppose sweatshops.” (Wikipedia, n.d) This shows that this trend relies on helping the world and how that makes you feel, this cannot be mass-produced by businesses. However, now this trend is beginning its mainstream phase developers such as Topman create and dedicate sections of their stores to charity shop items, which they have found and, strategically chosen to make revenue. Before this, this trend captured Topman’s consumers and was destructive to their profit, however innovators and forecasters at Topman were able to adjust and adapt to this new trend in the market. This example shows that ultimately due to innovators this trend was profit waiting to happen. Although the idea of forecasting within business is strongly linked with profit, it can often only be seen as an innovation business concept, as it is impossible to guarantee profit. Steve Jobs said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.” (Kjaer, 2014) Showing that you can only see profit when looking back on it.
Not all businesses have a primary aim of profit. For some businesses it is about making the world a better place. Tania Singer states “Humans are capable of far more than selfishness and materialism.” She explains that we can “create a world in which we all want to live.” (Kjaer, 2014) It is important that businesses connect with people, as it enriches lives. Many companies would argue that their primary goals for forecasting futures are to enrich lives and profit is secondary to that. Showing that although forecasters are paid to forecast future trends it is not as simple as just gaining profit.
COIN research describes their clients as “consumers.” When you are seen as a consumer and not a customer I believe the primary goal is profit. There is a more humanistic aspect attached to the word customer “The very word ‘consumer’ objectifies people, suggesting that their only role is to consume and buy.” (Kjaer, 2014) Although we are consumers most days and deep down we know we are, we still like to be seen and treated like a customer. When treated like a customer we feel cared about, it is human nature to want to be cared for. The point of being cared for is the difference of the consumer being a customer. The reason that COIN research gave was that if they used the word customer it implies an exchange of money and that’s often not the case. They dismiss the word ‘Person’ as it is too disconnected. They explained that a consumer is not as simple as going into a shop and buying, they explained that we are consumers to the environment that we live in and everything that we do, being a consumer is part of a bigger picture. I asked COIN research whether the use of the word ‘consumer’ changes depending on the purposes of the company they are working for and they agreed that it does. This implies to me that different companies see buyer in different ways, some companies want to enrich the buyer’s life and some see buyers as a means of making money.
I feel that forecasting is used to a large extent as a profit-making tool, because in the majority of cases it is evident that a trend will turn into profit whether intended by the innovator or not. Buyers are seen as consumers and only feel like customers at certain times, as businesses want the consumer to like and trust there company to consume more products. When speaking to COIN research they described the output of the majority of the companies they work with “Is to develop” or “reimagine the next product” with the “purpose of making more money.” This confirms to me that Regardless of how companies portray themselves they are all out to make money.