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robertogreco : trendspotting   3

hautepop | I've been thinking seriously lately about getting...
"Right.

First thing you need to know is that K-Hole aren’t a real trends agency but rather conceptual art. Or, um, well, they weren’t a real trends agency. Now they might be. It’s kind of complicated.

But basically whilst they’re awesome, they are also very special snowflake and not actually a firm you can join.

In this post I’ll outline how you can actually build a career in this space from a mostly-London perspective.

Many thanks to Scott Smith of Changeist who has provided 90% of the intel. (Though I’m not sure you can work for him either, he’s very boutique.)

1. Trend forecasting is often not called trend forecasting

‘Trends’ and ‘cool hunting’ were buzzwords in the 1990s, but the rise of the internet made knowing what denim brands were hot in Tokyo less of a leverageable advantage.

“Innovation” is the present buzzword - “innovation agencies” and “innovation consultancies” are one place you find this type of work. “Brand consultancies” and “brand strategy” firms are another - and the cool (expensive) end of qualitative market research (or “consumer research”) a third.

2. Accept that what you’re doing is capitalism

Companies don’t hire you because you are especially zeitgeisty. They hire you because you can guide them to make more money - either by making products that are more relevant to consumers’ lives, or communicating (marketing) those products more effectively.

“Here is a cool thing going on in culture” is not valuable business advice. “You should do X because of Y cool thing going on in culture, and you’ll achieve result Z” is.

Accept that what you’re doing is business consultancy and read up on competitive advantage, branding, positioning and so on. Ultimately it’s knowing this stuff that makes you better at trends consultancy - not just developing some terrifically expensive intuition about brands… *cough Cayce Pollard*

2a. You can still make K-Hole style conceptual art about capitalism and brands

You just won’t be doing it as your main job. Or getting paid for it - a girl can’t eat Fast Company articles or Tumblr likes, more’s the pity.

In fact, making pretty decent money in this industry and then going freelance as a consultant is probably one of the best ways to clear time & space for making art - and arguably much more viable than traditional art routes of MFAs, teaching jobs, writing and so on.

Go talk to Benedict Singleton (a design strategist) as one example."
trendspotting  capitalism  futurism  k-hole  jayowens  2015  brands  business  trendforecasting 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Insights: K-HOLE, New York — Insights: K-HOLE, New York — Channel — Walker Art Center
"K-HOLE exists in multiple states at once: it is both a publication and a collective; it is both an artistic practice and a consulting firm; it is both critical and unapologetically earnest. Its five members come from backgrounds as varied as brand strategy, fine art, web development, and fashion, and together they have released a series of fascinating PDF publications modeled upon corporate trend forecasting reports. These documents appropriate the visuals of PowerPoint, stock photography, and advertising and exploit the inherent poetry in the purposefully vague aphorisms of corporate brand-speak. Ultimately, K-HOLE aspires to utilize the language of trend forecasting to discuss sociopolitical topics in depth, exploring the capitalist landscape of advertising and marketing in a critical but un-ironic way.

In the process, the group frequently coins new terms to articulate their ideas, such as “Youth Mode”: a term used to describe the prevalent attitude of youth culture that has been emancipated from any particular generation; the “Brand Anxiety Matrix”: a tool designed to help readers understand their conflicted relationships with the numerous brands that clutter their mental space on a daily basis; and “Normcore”: a term originally used to describe the desire not to differentiate oneself, which has since been mispopularized (by New York magazine) to describe the more specific act of dressing neutrally to avoid standing out. (In 2014, “Normcore” was named a runner-up by Oxford University Press for “Neologism of the Year.”)

Since publishing K-HOLE, the collective has taken on a number of unique projects that reflect the manifold nature of their practice, from a consulting gig with a private equity firm to a collaboration with a fashion label resulting in their own line of deodorant. K-HOLE has been covered by a wide range of publications, including the New York Times, Fast Company, Wired UK, and Mousse.

Part of Insights 2015 Design Lecture Series."

[direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GkMPN5f5cQ ]
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march 2015 by robertogreco

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