How to become a better trend curator

 

A “Non Obvious How to predict Trends and Win the Future” book review (2018 edition)

“Non obvious” teaches the foundations to successfully curate content and think differently to spot non obvious trends.

It starts with a description of the habits to cultivate to be a successful content curator, follows with a process to curate ideas and spot patterns among industries and ends with a deep analysis of 15 trends for 2018 that the author Rohit Bhargava and his team predicted.

Rohit Bhargava, ex brand strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett, and author of 5 bestselling business books, worked on the series from 2011.

When the series passed from only being digital to paper (2015) , the “non obvious trend series” won the following awards:

Wall Street Journal Best Seller (2015 Edition)

Winner: Axiom Business Theory Silver Medal (2017 Edition)

Official Selection: Gary’s Book Club at CES (2017 Edition)

Winner: Non-Fiction Book Awards Gold Medal (2018 Edition)

For maximum transparency the book includes also a summary of the trends predicted the previous years with a rating on how off where the predictions compared to reality. 

The 5 habits of curation taught in the book are:

–  Being curious = consuming brainful media such as ted talks, read historical fiction, and curated compilations

– Being observant = simplify concepts like you were teaching to children, asking questions on the processes in every day life from how the coffee is made to how your movies are streamed on Netflix, and observe the world outside of your phone!

–  Being fickle = Capture ideas without fossilizing on them, save them offline for later consumption, set a timer to evaluate ideas and summarize concepts.

–   Being thoughtful = Take time to comment on the internet, you do not always need to be first and take time to rethink your thoughts.

–  Being elegant = Make concepts as simple as possible but not simpler, keep the ideas short, use poetic principles to make the ideas more memorable and easier to remember.

The Haystack Method, a process to find the trend (the proverbial needle) among the ideas and information gathered (the hay)

 It is composed by 5 steps, (1) saving ideas, collecting them in folders with summaries, and searching for concepts, not conclusions, (2) aggregating ideas, order the ideas with questions on what need or behaviour they underline, and recognize the obvious (3) elevating, understanding what is interesting in the ideas, what is the broader theme and how multiple industries are connected by the ideas, (4) Naming, a method to ensure that the trend name is memorable enough to stick in the minds for example using alliterations (Disruptive Distribution), twists (Small Data), and mash ups (Likeonomics, Shoptimization) (5) Proving, refer to authoritative sources for examples and research that support your trends, check that the trend is present in multiple industries, and watch your biases.

Some of the trends that I found interesting in the book were:

Enlighted consumption, the customer use of availability of information to express their values in consumption , it ranges in a multitude of industries from transformative travels such as the ones advertised by Incredible India tourism campaign to find peace and silence, to mindful ugly produce consumption, the opening of supermarkets in Denmark, Finland and Sweden where people can buy fruits, vegetables that are fresh and tasty but are being discarded for their aspect (started by the Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark Stop Spild Af Mad by Selina Juul)

 Transformative travels

Ugly produce

Light-Speed Learning ,the idea of dividing the teaching of time consuming skills in multiple micro tasks such as short videos/audios/pages and minimum units of knowledge to fasten learning. This is useful to keep audience attracted in consumption that requires the involvement of advanced abilities, for example the guitar producer Fender started to sell short videos to teach basics to new guitarists ( 90% of people that picks up guitar quit within the first year and 45% of Fender annual’s sale go to beginners who have never played before). Another example could be Chinesepod, an online service that divides the teaching of the language in short video tidbits.

Fender Play

Chinesepod

Disruptive Distribution, the trend that business reinvent themselves in their connections with the customers to increase efficiency. Example of this other than the obvious Netflix are Cloud technologies providers, that shifted from on premise to subscription services to better serve the customer, West Elm a furniture retailer that opened its hotel chain where it is possible to buy all the items found in their hotel’s room, and Moviepass a subscription service to see movies in various theaters at cheaper prices.

West Elm

Moviepass

 “Non Obvious How to predict Trends and Win the Future” is a really interesting book with a collection of compelling branding stories and successes that is worth reading.Innovation is found at the crossroads.

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley Book Review.

“This book should be included with every keyboard sold, like a combo pack of communication clarity.”(Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert, And Author, Youtility)

Everybody writes is a source of incredible writing tips. Ann Handley, the author of the book, explains the steps in becoming a proficient writer and adapt content to the correct format in every internet-based tool at our disposal.

The book idea is to wage war to mediocre content. How many times do we read time wasting articles with clickbait titles that are not even engaging? How long should be a tweet, a blog post or a description to be on spot? How can you write directly to the customers and being relevant?

Ann Handley addresses all these questions in her book, explains where to find the right copyright free images, music and data to support your articles, how to curate your content, how to distinguish yourself and your brand with unique writing on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube. Because writing is not dead it has just changed its form. Especially in spaces where the attention is more and more limited and the competition not only with other brands but with news, advertising, sports events, Netflix movies, Meet ups and Date apps, it is critical to get the message concise and right.

Ann goes far beyond of simply optimizing your way of writing explaining how to learn to get better. And it adds much more value to the reader.

Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime” (Ancient Chinese Proverb)

She give heads up on groups to join to get your writing to the next level, shows how to fact check data and give credit to ideas from other authors, explains where to find editorial tools (she wrote about Grammarly before it was over advertised on Internet) demonstrates how beneficial is to make writing a daily habit.

The book is all about how to express more with less. And it is incredible the amount of in-depth suggestions that it contains in  74 suggestions and only 257 pages.

If you take this book to the core and understand its 74 seeds they will flourish in beautiful and resistant trees that will support your brand through time.

 

Final Vote 5/5

The Author

Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of  Marketing Profs,a company that instructs a large community of marketers. She Best Selling Author of the Wall Street Journal and columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine, Member of Linkedin Influencer Program and Co-author of the book Content Rules.