Trends, fads and hypes: one and the same?

On a daily basis, we come across new developments and innovations within various industries and markets. Some of these are labelled as trend, some as hype or fad. But what are actually the differences between trends, fads and hypes?

Trends, fads and hypes

Is the new ugly sneakers trend, with Balenciaga’s Triple S sneaker as most extreme example, a trend or just a fad on Instagram? And what about Hip Hop Yoga, a combination of Hip Hop and yoga? According to the authors of the book Trend Driven Innovation, innovations like startups, new products, services and experiences aren’t trends in itself. As an example, you can’t describe the rising on-demand economy without the existence of rapid growth of services and apps like Uber and Picnic. Eventually, a trend will always manifest itself in an observable manner, for example through style, products, events and movies.

The Balenciaga Triple S sneaker can be considered as a fad, a craze. Although there is widely shared enthusiasm for it; all the fashion bloggers are talking about it on their Instagram, it is likely to be short-lived and replaced by the newest coolest thing before you know it. Hypes, meanwhile, are mostly created by advertisers to promote a specific product, event or person. Think of the hype around popstar, actor and presenter Harry Styles. Dutch fans, mostly girls, are waiting three days before his concert actually take place in front of the Ziggo Dome.

The bigger picture

According to trendresearcher Els Dragt, fads and hypes are primarily interesting in the way they might be manifestations of a bigger trend and connect with emerging values and needs. By looking at businesses and products that people are loving and paying attention to now, you can explore what more people will start to want in the near future. Observing upcoming fads like Hip Hop Yoga and the Balenciaga Triple S sneaker are interesting, but understanding what is lying beneath and what emerging values and needs are connected to it will bring you further in the business of innovation.

Embracing signs of cultural change

Therefore, both niche players, local heroes and the biggest players in the field need to be watched to understand in which direction industries and fields will be moving. We would like to stay ahead and up-to-date about emerging trends, fads and hypes to unravel powerful innovation opportunities and directions. At Fronteer, we take every relevant sign of cultural change seriously, from fads till macro trends, since the best findings comes from surprising corners.

Read more about how I explore the streets as Expert Connector to stay ahead of the game.