Syndicated Research

Every great innovation and market shift in human history has happened because someone saw where the public was going before anyone else did - and then was smart enough to get there first. That’s the goal of smart trend research.

The big ideas - the ones that change markets and reverse fortunes - come from asking the right questions, distilling what we're told into solid insights, and then connecting the dots to produce actionable plans that drive big results.

Questions? Ask away.

Insights drive action. Action drives results.

What has changed? And what is staying the same?

The rate of change in consumer sentiment is spinning faster than any of us have ever seen. This isn’t just because of Covid, but the pandemic certainly accelerated the rate of change in our work environments. The decline of location and the rise of the distributed enterprise continues to stress organizations from all directions – culturally as it relates to leadership and management, technologically, and physically through workspace design.

But there’s more to it than just understanding the future of work. As technology continues to emerge as the most profound cultural driver in the world, the brand-consumer relationship is changing. Instant digital communication between brands and anyone with a mobile device has eliminated barriers to entry for publishing and consuming ideas. As the global public looks for meaning in a world marked by a collapse of trust and the rise of raw, first-person information, brands have stepped into the vacuum – but do they belong there? Does every brand have to “make a statement”?

We’ve been studying these issues for close to a decade now, dating back to our first Culture & Technology Intersection Study in 2016, the insights from which predicted a number of major brand-level and geopolitical shifts and produced our second book, Unfiltered Marketing: 5 Rules to Win Back Trust, Credibility, and Customers in a Digitally Distracted World. Now, we’ve refined these methodologies for brands and leaders looking to maximize their opportunities in a rapidly changing world.

What makes our approach different from the other dozen trend research agencies?

We’re operators, not agency types. We’ve run P&L’s of major Global 500’s, marketing divisions of Fortune 500’s, and worn multiple sales, marketing, and strategy hats in both start-ups and mid-cap companies. We understand the challenges of competing in red ocean environments, the complexities of working with strategic and channel partners, and the processes (and pain points) of enterprise decision makers. We’ve spent a lot of time arguing, politely, in boardrooms with C-level executives about high-stakes issues. So, we speak the language your stakeholders speak - and ask questions accordingly.

Most importantly, we’re the best in the business, truthfully, at taking big, abstract ideas like trend research and connecting the dots so that it becomes actionable, possible, and financially successful.

We’ve looked over the horizon and shown Fortune 50 brands how to meaningfully create new $5 billion markets. We’ve rescued multi-million-dollar multinational brands from divestiture by creating programs that put an incremental $20 million on their top line in 18 months. We’ve even quarterbacked an ingredient brand integration with a major performance apparel brand launch, creating a new $175m in revenue, all by connecting big trend ideas with customer pain points and unique positioning.

Syndicated Research Studies Running Now

Stephen is brilliant at getting a team to focus on the why & I really enjoyed the workshops he moderated and developed for Jabra. He knows how to push the boundaries of the team and inspires everyone around him to think outside the boundaries. I look forward to working together again in the future

Suzaan Sauerman, Senior Director of Global Marketing, Jabra

So many of us are familiar with Stephen's written work. He is thought provoking for those of us in businesses both big and small. He delivers his point of view in a compelling and dynamic way in person. Stephen was also highly effective working with us to generate ways to apply various lenses to our work and identify new solutions and approaches to our future executions.

Jennifer Campbell, VP, Consumer Engagement & Marketing Services, Altria

Stephen brought a breath of fresh innovative air to our marketing team’s strategic positioning work during my previous role in an IT enterprises services organization. He delivered a crisp framework and engaging workshop to help capture both new ways of thinking as well as grounding our outcome to deliver against our objective. The energy and external insight Stephen provided also helped ensure the team actively participated and enjoyed every minute of the process as well as being proud of the outcome. I would recommend Stephen to organizations both large and small, both giants and disrupters.

Virginia Brailey, VP, Marketing and Strategy, ADP Canada

Questions? Ask away.