So I'm going to share a few with you and see what you think. These are ideas that have been shared with me through some experts' advice or about which I have read. I encourage you to explore them more deeply because I don't believe that white lounge furniture ever got a room full of people to "feel" anything or that a combination of taupe linen with saffron colored roses ever influenced how people felt about a new product. If you do, I accept that. But, if you don't, read on.
- The trend has moved away from being a generalist (you know, "I do EVERYTHING") to being a specialist. In other words, you do one thing well, if not better than anyone else.
- The trend is moving away from commoditization ... if you are a commodity, the only thing that distinguishes you is price so it becomes all about who is cheaper. Do you want that to be you?
- The trend is collaboration, even with your competitors. I've been doing that for 20 years and fail to understand why the thought of such collaboration is scary to so many.
- The trend is to find your passion and work within that passion. You love cars? Read all about that industry. Attend every trade show. Speak at those conferences. Put yourself on Google Alerts. Meet everyone involved. You will work harder for that about which you care.
- The trend is to respect time. The time of your clients. The time of your vendors. That shows you value them. If you respect their time, in all likelihood, they will give you some of theirs.
- The trend is to find trend scouts who can help you find current progressions. Try out a 14-16 year old. They know where the future is headed.
- The trend is to create emotional bonds, not transactions.
- The trend is to move outside your own personal field or employees and search out ideas that come from the outside ... marketing, new trends, new clients ... when we expand our community of ideators, we generate innovation at a new level. For instance, if you want to learn how to launch a product, ask its customers and not its designers.
- The trend is to put together thought groups. For instance, ask a thought group to tell you who they think you are, and you will learn how to market yourself.
- The trend is knowing that customer experience is bigger than customer service, so deliver an experience and not a product or event.
- The trend is knowing that today's customers are smarter, savvier and better informed. Selling to them is obsolete. They are looking for inspiration. And relevance.
Andrea Michaels is founder and president of Extraordinary Events, a multi-award-winning international meeting and event planning and production firm based in Los Angeles. Andrea is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower - Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and an in-demand speaker and leading voice in the special events industry. She may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.