Nathalie found her passion while she was still working in the worlds of marketing and strategy. Along with large consulting companies, she had a desire to work with small companies and startups, and to have her finger on the pulse, and everything came together when she took a trendology course:
"It sounds very intuitive, but there is actually a science to it."
She shares how a whole world opened up to her, much bigger and deeper than she imagined at first:
"People always think that trends are only in fashion, and many times it’s definitely the driving force, but it’s actually about any change in behavior or habits in any field."
- Beneath the surface it’s much more than aesthetics or random fading excitements, and there’s a lot of psychology within this field.
She wanted to know how to recognize those changes while they occur, feel what’s forming under the surface and is about to explode - and to be the first one to recognize it. That’s what made her eyes spark.
And speaking of recognition, Nathalie explained the difference between a trend and a fad -
"The spinners, for example - everyone said 'what a trend', and it really was like that for a long time, but it vanished just like it appeared. It disappeared because it didn't meet any need. A trend comes to meet an emotional or physical need."
A trend itself can also be divided into two types - one that starts from above and seeps down, or vice versa - these are things we know in the world of entrepreneurship as psychological processes that translate into the worlds of products and services.
As a trend researcher, Nathalie is mainly interested in those starting from the bottom - the people. She explains that even the most prestigious brands that seem farthest from the street and everyday life have a sharp radar for identifying trends and that's where their strength lies.
While the other companies try to catch up and adopt the trend, those who knew how to recognize it are already on to the next thing - that's the art of predicting trends.
After we talked about the importance of having our finger on the pulse, we also need to talk about the other side of the equation - how do we manage and find the right balance between chasing trends and being authentic to ourselves? How can we deal with FOMO and exhaustion that can come from constantly being on the lookout for the next big thing?
"Not every trend is something you have to adopt, you need to be precise and sharp - and also have the discretion to decide which trends you can't afford to miss."
Her tip is to adopt 2-3 regular sources that will be our place to keep up to date with trends and learn from them, because as busy people our time resource is very limited, and the pursuit after the new thing from every source can actually rob a lot of precious time, leaving us tires and shuffling behind.
Opening up to the Metaverse
Nathalie shared about the 'Proteus effect', a Greek concept named after the sea god Proteus, who had to constantly change his identity in the sea to deal with dangers.
Today it’s compared to our ability to change our identities through virtual avatars -
"We can manage an identity in the virtual world where we can choose which elements of our personality we want to present, and it can be anything we dreamed of - we can use our imagination in the Metaverse and it also affects our self-worth."
She explains that thanks to the Metaverse we’ll have the opportunity to bring other sides of us into the light, feel differently, explore our different identities and qualities, parts of us that seem contradictory to one another or are sides that are not visible in the everyday life - this is a power that can also be taken into our real life.
In the end, life consists of change - we can try to ignore or deny it, but in the end we’re forced to confront a reality that has shifted, and continues to change and evolve. It relates to our ability to face uncertainty along the way, to be flexible and still have resilience and an inner center. It's ok to maintain a critical sense in the face of trends, and not to adopt every new idea that can pass by in a blink of an eye, but it's important not to be blind to what's happening around us - as entrepreneurs, as managers, as investors, and even as parents who want to maintain a common language with their kids.