We all try to predict the future, although often it’s simply what we think we’ll be in the mood for at dinner or what time to get to the mall to avoid crowds. But Sheryl Connelly spearheads Ford Global Consumer Trends and Futuring. She’s a true futurist, as in she could probably predict your dinner, but also tell you that a consumer trend for 2013 is going to be based around trust; we are reappraising our relationships with brands and companies.
“We’ve identified 13 micro-trends, insights that can be useful to our dealers,” explained Sheryl. “We’ve found that post-recession customers are hungry to trust again, so they want brands and products from companies that stand by their word. Fundamental to trust is creating a meaningful dialogue with the customer, something every dealership can do.”
Dissecting cultural shifts and behaviors gives Sheryl and her team insight into the needs and wants of customers now and down the road. “Ford is more than just a car company,” she added. “We are also a ‘lifestyle enabler,’ and our work in trends and futuring is meant to help our customers achieve just that.”
Because Ford dealerships are dedicated to their communities, and have been in business for generations, it’s going to resonate with consumers now and in the years to come, building that trust they are seeking.
Sheryl’s job is to look outside the automotive industry to understand what’s happening in social, technological, economic and environmental areas; even the world of politics matters when predicting the ever-changing attitudes and behaviors of consumers.
“Studying trends helps us imagine a future that’s otherwise unimaginable and deliver solutions to problems consumers haven’t yet encountered,” Sheryl said.
And maybe even how to solve those dinner dilemmas…