Steven and I convinced Kim Rivielle, the Managing Director for the Future Trends Conference, that she should include the Firmenich Trenz®Walk Experience as an add-on to the conference agenda. The result: we began doing Trenz®Walks for many of their conferences around the world. Our travel expenses and conference fees would be covered and we finally found ourselves on the first page or inside back cover of the Future Trend, FUSE, and Front End Innovation Conference brochures. This established us as the experts in not just ‘What’s Next’, but ‘Where Next’ as well as how to see and understand the process of signal detection by observing change in the street. Boots-on-the-ground observation and analysis with very clear take-aways – it was all the attendees were looking for in the first place. Something they could bring home to their offices and be not only excited by, but more importantly, inspired by. The dirty secret - while the attendees were collecting their content, Steven and I were also collecting ours – usually the day before when we would pre-walk the entire excursion to know in advance what signals and messages to point out and which to keep for ourselves. Especially when it came to fragrance and flavors trends.
There are two questions that come up during the Q&A following any of my presentations. The answer to the first one was eventually built into my presentation as a way to address the question I knew would come before it was even asked. The question most attendees eventually ask is “What are THE flavor trends?” Simple and never contradicted, the PowerPoint slide appears with the same answer every time: Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry. Undeniably chocolate and vanilla, with strawberry really being the edgy outlier, but effectively rounds out the Top Three. It wasn’t what they wanted to hear, but it was what they needed to hear. Other flavor trends may come and go, and largely depend on where you live and perhaps the season. Trendy flavors like mango, coconut, acai, or dragon fruit, are blips on the radar by comparison. The carbonated soft drink category could challenge that answer, where without question the Top Three are just two: Cola and Lemon Lime. These are so far at the top, flavors like root beer, orange, or ginger ale are barely on the map. The second question I’m often asked, is inevitably the closer, “Tell me, how do I get your job?”