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Why for brands, serving, assisting, and lubricating is the new selling.

October 2012


Definition: Yes, consumers are more demanding, time-starved, informed, and choicesaturated than ever-before (we know you know). For brands to prosper, the solution is simple though: turn SERVILE. This goes far beyond offering great

Letting customers try out first Helping customers monitor anything

customer service*. SERVILE means turning your brand into a lifestyle serv-

Helping customers find anything real-time

ant focused on catering to the needs, desires and whims of your customers,

Helping customers understand everything real-time

wherever and whenever they are. * Everyday great ‘customer service’ will of course forever be crucial: a 2011 American Express survey found that 70% of American consumers were willing to spend more with brands that provided a great service, and a whopping 60% thought brands weren’t thinking enough about the service experience.

Being there when customers truly need you, even if they didn’t realize it yet Picking up where the government isn’t Helping customers save money Helping customers start the day pleasantly Helping customers to make the most of it Bringing customers recommendations that actually make sense Making things more seamless for customers

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Drivers | Three key changes among consumers are driving the need for your brand or business to go truly SERVILE: Image courtesy of




We’ve repeatedly flagged up the sky-rocketing number

The endless abundance and increasing material affluence in

Here’s the new reality: consumers will never again revere

of CITYSUMERS (urban consumers). CITYSUMERS who

modern consumer economies (yes, even amongst financially

brands the way they used to:

crave the endless novel and exciting experiences that modern

challenged consumers), has led to an increasing feeling of

hyper-cities offer. Which is why they will seek out or even

being time-starved.

demand SERVILE BRANDS – brands that can help empower them or offer them the freedom and flexibility to make the most of urban life.

Indeed, a survey by research company Datamonitor found that 44% of consumers across 14 countries now say that it’s difficult to manage their daily obligations and find time to relax.  

Completely connected, they also expect the best of the

No wonder then that consumers are demanding tools and

online world – instant information and immediate gratification

services to help them get the most from the present moment,

– to be built-in to their offline experiences. That’s why

however brief. This NOWISM world means brands have no

SERVILE BRANDS bend over and do as they’re told ;-)

choice but to satisfy consumer demand for instant gratification and ultra-convenience. That’s why SERVILE BRANDS cut to the chase, and save their customers time. In any possible way.

• Only 47% of consumers around the world say they trust paid media (television, magazine and newspaper ads), a decline of over 20% since 2009. • 92% of global consumers say they trust earned media (word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family) above all other forms of advertising, an increase of 18% since 2007. • Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers trusting them, an increase of 15% in four years. (Source: Nielsen, April 2012)

• Only 29% of consumers in Brazil, China and India say that it pays to be loyal to favored brands. (Source: COLLOQUY and Epsilon’s Cross-Cultural Loyalty Study, 2011)

With consumers increasingly turning to (and trusting) other consumers, brands can no longer expect to be able to craft or control their image. Another reason to be SERVILE and put the needs of your customers above your own.

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Letting customers try out first Hyundai Home Shopping

Orca Chevrolet’s Rescue Drive

In May 2012, Hyundai Home Shopping introduced its

To promote the release of Chevrolet’s Cobalt model,

new mobile application, ‘H-Codi’. It is a ‘virtual fashion

Brazil-based car dealership Orca Chevrolet launched

coordination’ program with Augmented Reality Technology.

the Rescue Drive campaign in early 2012. The

Via this application customers can virtually try on or test most products from Hyundai Home Shopping. For example, the camera on smart phones scans customer’s face or body, and shows pictures with co-ordinated fashion products such as earrings, neckties and handbags. This service is also available for interior accessories and more; about 70,000 products are available. Augmented Reality photos can be saved, and also shared with friends via Cacao Talk (Korean WhatsApp) and Facebook. w w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m



promotion targeted consumers after a breakdown, when they were likely to be frustrated with their own vehicles. Stranded drivers who called participating tow trucks were surprised by an accompanying Chevrolet Cobalt, which they were given the opportunity to test drive.


Letting customers try out first Marks & Spencer’s Virtual Manicure

This Trend Briefing is obviously only the tip of the iceberg

Trend database + Monthly Updates + Tips Marks & Spencer’s Virtual Manicure is a free online and in-store service which enables customers to test the UK retailer’s nail polish range on their own fingers. Shoppers upload an image of their hands and then click on a nail color to see what it would look like before they purchase it.

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Helping customers monitor anything Volkswagen China’s Think Blue

Babolat’s Play & Connect

In early June 2012, Volkswagen launched its first

Set to launch during 2013, Play & Connect from

eco-awareness mobile app in China. The ‘Blue

French brand Babolat is a tennis racquet which

Mobility’ app is the first in-car mobile app which

features integrated sensors providing real-time

tracks and analyzes users’ real-time driving behavior.

information on gameplay. The device can detect

It then provides tips and advice on how to curtail

service speed, the power of each hit and ball spin, to

excessive fuel usage.

give players feedback on their performance. Sensors located in the handle also monitor the type of stroke and the position of the ball on the racquet, enabling analysis of both technique and game statistics. Data is sent wirelessly to a computer or smartphone, enabling users to view data and set goals.

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Helping customers monitor anything China Survival Guide

See the infographic »

The China Survival Guide is a free iPhone app that

A 1 minute summary of’s Trend

tracks food and health scandals across China, so users don’t need to keep up with the news reports themselves. It was downloaded 200,000 times within a week of launching.

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Helping customers find anything real-time Westfield: Shopping mall search

SK Telecom’s Smart Cart

Westfield, the world’s largest shopping centre

Last October, a SK Telecom pilot tested Smart

operator, added Google Commerce’s search

Cart in Emart stores in Seoul, providing accurate in-

functionality to its in-mall mobile app to save

store information. Shoppers search for products and

shoppers’ time in their malls. Shoppers can search

discount coupons, and create a shopping list on the

and compare prices across retailers in their local

smartphone app; this is later user-authenticated and

Westfield shopping mall, and call the local retailers to

synced to shopping carts equipped with augmented

check availability with one click.

reality tablets. Smart Cart harnesses NFC technology to update real-time information such as product availability, membership points and check-out procedures. SK Telecom plans to officially launch Smart Cart in South Korea and China by the end of 2013.

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Helping customers understand everything real-time Schiphol Airport’s Chinese translation app

Harrods’ Chinese translation app

In January 2012, Amsterdam’s Schiphol

London department store Harrods also launched

airport released a Chinese version of the Schiphol

a free Chinese language smartphone app, offering

app, offering information on flights, public transport

shoppers functions such as an interactive guide to

and product offers, as well as maps of the departure

the store, restaurant menus, and details on events

lounges, all in Mandarin. The app also enables

taking place.

translation of signs in the airport, via a recognition system using smartphone cameras.

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Being there when customers truly need you, even if they didn’t realize it yet IKEA

For many residents of Quebec (Canada), property

Montreal that could be assembled into moving

leases expire on July 1st. This makes it a popular

boxes. The posters were printed with slogans that

moving day, and thus storage items such as

encouraged residents to take them home, and also

cardboard boxes are in high demand. So last year,

included discounts on new furniture.

IKEA put up 2,000 cardboard posters around

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Picking up where the government isn’t OUTsurance Pointsmen

Dial Direct’s Pothole Brigade

OUTsurance is a South African insurance

Another South African insurance firm Dial Direct,

company that put traffic wardens on the streets of

launched the Pothole Brigade, a road maintenance

Johannesburg, Cape Town and Tshwane – to ease

initiative that repaired over 50,000 potholes in and

the traffic flow at dangerous or congested junctions.

around Johannesburg, as drivers reported them. Sadly, red tape recently killed the initiative, but there are plenty of other cities that could benefit from a similar set-up.

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Picking up where the government isn’t Safaricom’s Daktari 1525

In the last quarter of 2011, Kenyan telco provider

Like what you’re reading in this Trend Briefing, but want more?

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Safaricom partnered with mobile health specialist Call-a-Doc to launch Daktari - 1525. Subscribers can get medical advice from qualified personnel for around two cents per minute by dialing ‘1525’. The service does not offer diagnosis or prescription, only an appropriate level of counsel and (when necessary) reference to local medical centers. All calls are confidential.

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Helping customers save money

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Billshrink / Orange

Launched in South Africa in January

BillShrink is a US based service that analyzes

2012, 22seven is a financial services platform that

consumers’ phone bills (once the owner

looks at users’ bank statements to determine where

grants access), before making a personalized

they could save money. Consumers can see where

recommendation of one of the 10 million plan

they generally spend money, and where they might

combinations it monitors.

be overspending; they are then offered strategies and

UK mobile provider Orange offers pay monthly

plans to help them reduce their outgoings. To use

customers a service that checks whether they are on

22seven requires members to disclose full details of

the best available talk plan (based on their call, text

bank accounts and passwords.

and data usage history) every six months.


Helping customers save money

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Samsung’s Upgrade Program

Bank of America’s BankAmeriDeals

The Samsung Upgrade promotion encourages US

Bank of America’s BankAmeriDeals program offers

customers to trade in old smartphones in exchange

customers promotions based on the retailers they

for a Galaxy. After purchasing the Galaxy S2, S3

frequent. When users check their account online or

or Note, users upload information about their used

via the app, cashback offers are listed next to the

smartphone to Samsung’s Facebook page and

names of participating stores they have shopped at.

receive a quote for its value. Consumers send off their

Rewards can be redeemed at the locations on future

old device in return for a check of up to USD 300.



Helping customers start the day pleasantly Boondoggle’s Winter Wake-Up

Uniqlo’s Wake Up

Winter Wake-Up is an app that functions as a

In a similar vein, Uniqlo Wake Up is a free app which

standard alarm clock, but (by connecting to online

wakes users up with music automatically created

weather forecasts) wakes users earlier than usual if

based on the weather, with a melodic voice to

there has been unexpected snow or icy conditions

announce the time, conditions and day of the week.

during the night. Users can choose not to be woken at all if extreme conditions make their commute hopeless.

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Helping customers to make the most of it

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autoTRADER’s autoLYZER


Canadian auto classifieds autoTRADER created

Indonesian fitness and health portal DuniaFitnes

the autoLYZER Facebook app, which uses data

released a smartphone app offering tailored training

from users’ Facebook profiles (including recent

regimes as well as health-related information,

photographs, social activities, comments and

including nutrition tables and fitness videos. The free

interests) to generate three vehicles available for sale

app also features a store where users can purchase

which suit their lifestyle and personality.

fitness and wellbeing products.


Helping customers to make the most of it Emporio Armani’s EA7

Emporio Armani has created a mobile app for its sports apparel range EA7, providing consumers with lifestyle and fitness tips. The app is free and offers interactive experiences, games, and content that links to the clothing collection.

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“44% of consumers across 14 countries now say that it’s difficult to manage their daily obligations and find time to relax.”


Bringing customers recommendations that actually make sense Ticketmaster

Hellmann’s & St. Marche

US based Ticketmaster unveiled a ticketing

In May 2012, Hellmann’s offered recipes tailored

Facebook app in January 2012, enabling users to

to the ingredients the shopper had just purchased.

browse music events, see which shows their friends

Custom software was installed in cash registers at

are attending, read reviews, schedule a wishlist

Brazilian supermarket chain St. Marche. When a

of upcoming concerts they hope to attend, and

shopper bought a jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise,

of course, purchase tickets. The ‘Recommended

the cash register recognized this and generated a

Events’ feature uses Spotify integration to see which

custom recipe based on the mayonnaise and the

acts the visitor has been posting about online, and

other ingredients that were purchased, automatically

sharing with friends, so that it can provide a list of

printing this on the receipt.

suggested concerts.

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Making things more seamless for customers Ford’s KeyFree

Vodafone & Richard Nicoll

To promote Ford’s KeyFree technology (which

Vodafone UK and fashion designer Richard

allows drivers to unlock and lock vehicles with NFC

Nicoll created a handbag that can power a mobile

fobs), the automaker created an app that logs into a

phone while on the move. After the bag is charged

user’s digital accounts, without them having to type

from a mains power outlet (using a cable that

in their passwords. Consumers enter their usernames

magnetically attaches to the exterior), it carries up to

and passwords into the free app, and when they

two days worth of extra battery.

approach a synced computer, it detects their (Bluetooth enabled) device’s proximity and signs into the pre-registered programs.

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Making things more seamless for customers Toyota & Nintendo

Virgin America & Rock the Vote

Toyota has launched a facility enabling drivers in

Virgin America and nonprofit Rock the Vote have

Japan to control in-vehicle Smart Navi GPS units via

launched a service in the US that allows passengers

Nintendo DS and Bluetooth. Drivers or passengers

to register to vote for the 2012 presidential election,

can purchase a ‘Kuruma de DS’ utility card (costing

using the in-flight entertainment system.

USD 92) which is inserted into the Nintendo console to allow syncing of pre-saved routes, and navigation.

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Making things more seamless for customers Health Street’s DNA Testing

Evian’s Smart Drop

Health Street, a medical testing company from New

The Evian Chez Vous website lets Parisians order

York, offers mobile paternity tests via its Who’s Your

bottled water for direct delivery to their homes and

Daddy? van that cruises the streets of New York. For

businesses. Users can order other products from the

USD 299, passersby can have a cheek swab taken

Danone group, including Badoit or Volvic water. In

for analysis in the vehicle’s lab, with results delivered

2013, the service will be accompanied by the Smart

in a couple of days.

Drop; a wifi-enabled fridge magnet allowing members to order water automatically by pushing a button.

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Making things more seamless for customers Red Tomato Pizza’s Fridge Magnet

Turkcell’s Mobile Order

The VIP Fridge Magnet from Dubai’s Red Tomato

Turkcell announced plans to launch an in-home

Pizza allows customers to order their favorite pizza

contactless ecommerce solution. Customers that

at the touch of a button. Members of the loyalty

own the NFC-enabled Turkcell MaxiPlus5 will be

program were sent free magnets, which use a

able to hold their device against a fridge magnet

smartphone’s Bluetooth functionality to connect

(that comes with the smartphone) to trigger Mobile

to the Internet. Once customers have pressed the

Order, an online shopping application. Burger King,

button on the magnet, the pizza is delivered to their

Migros, and energy supplier Avgaz are some of the

registered address.

major brands to have partnered to be included on the Mobile Order app. Existing contract customers can upgrade to the new device from TRY 5 (USD 2.75) a month.

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Making things more seamless for customers Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel & PayTouch

Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel teamed up

This Trend Briefing is obviously only the tip of the iceberg

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with Barcelona-based biometric payment provider PayTouch so that guests (who register upon arrival) can make payments with their fingerprints. All the facilities at the destination are equipped with print scanning devices so that visitors needn’t carry their

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wallets or cards around.


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Making things more seamless for customers GS25’s Convenience Stores

Tesco’s Virtual Grocery Store

‘My Refrigerator’ service from GS25 (a South

UK supermarket Tesco debuted an interactive virtual

Korean convenience store chain) caters to customers

grocery store at Gatwick Airport in the UK. Travelers

who are keen on additional gifts with a purchase, like

departing for a holiday can order food supplies

‘1+1’ products (two for one or promotion package

from digital displays with their smartphones. The

products), but find additional gifts a burden for them

purchased items are delivered to their homes in time

to carry. With ‘My Refrigerator’ service, customers

for their return.

can save additional gifts in their own virtual refrigerator instead of taking them right away, and pick them up any time during the validity period in any GS25 stores. If they want, the products can be also given to friends as a present. w w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m



NEXT First of all, not ALL brands need to be 100% servile: certain luxury brands or the Apples of this world can get away with being DOMINANT BRANDS. Now, if you’re not Gucci or Apple, how to get started? First, realize that servile brands always put themselves second. For most brands/business, this means a radical change in mindset.

Understand that the days of revered brands are over. It’s not about telling your customers that you are important, and they can have a slice of you if they pay for it. Instead, it’s about telling customers: “Whatever you need or want, we’re here to help” (or even better, “We know what you want, here, we’ve already done it for you”). Pushed to extremes, there are huge opportunities for truly SERVILE BRANDS, that are able to transcend their current offerings and provide complete lifestyle solutions for their customers. For marketers, SERVILE BRANDS means thinking about creating marketing that

isn’t marketing. If consumers aren’t searching for, adopting, installing, or sharing your efforts (in whatever form: product, service, app, content etc), then you need to get back to the drawing board. Now ;-) Run with the examples above, take another look at our BRAND BUTLERS Trend Briefing, and go all out in creating new concepts, services and products that are infused with servility. Meanwhile, we’ll do our best to please, serve and satisfy you by bringing you a new, free Trend Briefing early November. Make sure you’re subscribed!  

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