An excerpt from ZAG

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You can certainly build a brand without harnessing a trend, but you won’t get the raw, youthful energy of a zag. When focus and differentiation are powered by a trend, the result is a charismatic brand that customers wouldn’t trade for love nor money. It’s the difference between paddling a surfboard and riding a wave.

What trends can you ride? The variety is virtually endless, since each industry, region, and subculture spawns its own trends. Sometimes a trend is a reaction to a previous trend that has lost its cachet, such as the way rock stars replaced crooners in the fifties. Other times it’s the result of a technological innovation, such as the manufactured molecule Kevlar igniting a revolution in textile manufacturing. Some trends, such as democracy, are still gaining strength after hundreds of years, while others, such as body piercing, may end up as a half page in the history of fashion.

Examples of current trend-riders are Samsung with high-design gadgets, Anthropologie with eclectic clothing, Progressive with self-service insurance, Dean & Deluca with gourmet groceries, Aveda with prestige eco-friendly cosmetics, Design Within Reach with neo-modernist furniture, and Volkswagen with its new “transparent” factory and car-recycling facility. When you look under the hood of a high-performance brand, you almost always find it’s powered by a trend.

Download the PDF blow that illustrates a few trends you might recognize. Steal it. Post it in your office. Instigate a conversation. Put it in your next presentation. Start a “trends” trend in your business.