If you want to understand consumer trends and unwrap the mind of the modern customer, Misty Harris is the person to ask. Harris is a cutting edge journalist that specializes in discussing everything from gendered products to pet tech in the realm of trends, consumer demographics and marketing. In her articles Harris dives into buzzing topics such as "Conscious Uncoupling" and how cult pop culture blockbuster movies like Clueless actually make brands better at using their social media. Harris' work has been featured in a slew of national publications including the National Post, Flare Canada.com, CTV and BBC World Service.
5 Questions with Misty
1. How do you stay on top of the cutting edge?
I track a lot of difference sources in a lot of different areas rather than relying on, say, a single national newspaper or a handful or trade papers. Trend-spotting is very much about putting together a puzzle, and the various pieces are usually spread across different industries. To be first, to be cutting edge, you need to see the big picture and how everything fits together.
2. In your opinion, what makes a trend go viral?
The fundamentals have to be there: social currency, emotional arousal, a trigger to share, and so on. But you also need support from influencers, whether mass media, celebrities, or the momentum of the web (the Ice Bucket Challenge, for example, incorporated all three). Great content alone doesn't ensure virality.
3. What seemingly unrelated industries do you see constantly influence one another?
I’m of the belief that everything is connected. Being able to discern those interconnecting threads, however small, is what allows you to see what’s coming.
4. What do you think consumers want in 2015?
Emphasis on experiences over products; artificial intelligence for the home; artisanal toast (for real); adventure travel; biometric wearables that monitor stress and mental wellbeing the way we currently track our physical movements; personalization over globalization; philanthrotainment (methods of giving charitably while having fun and making yourself look good); greater transparency from brands; less Kanye.
5. What is one consumer trend you're excited to see take off this year?
The sharing economy – sharing rooms, sharing rides, sharing services, sharing fashion – is projected to soar to $115 billion by 2016, which is great news for consumers. The peer-to-peer model of collaborative consumption allows all the perks of ownership with none of the hassles. And, let’s face it, it’s about the only way I’ll ever be able to carry an Alexander McQueen clutch.