Ford (yes, that Ford) released their first ever trends report. It's called Looking Further with Ford; 13 Trends for 2013.
According to their press release, it reveals "predictions about consumer habits and behaviors expected to shape 2013 and beyond."
The report is very glossy and nicely written. The 13 trends are solid if not surprising. But I really like their descirption of the 3 themes that run through their forecast:
Trust as a differentiator: Given its relative scarcity, trust is emerging as a key positive differentiator for brands.
Personal accountability is on the rise – and with it, a comfort with failure: adults globally are taking risks, blazing their own paths and reshaping conventions
Collective empowerment is booming: As consumers accept more personal accountability, they are also learning to rely on each other for support.
That Ford released this also highlights a trend we've long followed - the growing importance of corporate thought leadership as a marketing tool.
Having said that, I'm not so sure how well that's working for Ford. A USA Today article on the trends was a bit harsh and includes a great quote from a former Road and Track editor. He calls Ford's effort:
"a thinly disguised marketing and sales ploy that surfs on some superficial pop-culture trends that don't really have an impact on building the cars of tomorrow."
Note to Ford: including ads for your products in thought leadership pieces is considered bad form. I actually liked the ads, but am not surprised the overall reaction to ads has been negative.