As the end of the year approaches, I can't help but anticipate the trends of 2008. Last year, the trends that I coined included Technoholics (the increasing obsession with anything tech-related), Massclusivity (exclusive products designed for the masses), Celeb-Zero (the loss in value of celebrity status), and Wharholism (the ability for anyone to obtain their 15 minutes of fame).
As I defined it last year, Celeb-Zero is all about the fact that many of today's celebrities have taken a nosedive in the limelight. For many long months, all we would hear about in the tabloid press were the never-ending instances of drug busts, alcohol poisoning and rampant promiscuity. At one point, Paris Hilton's dramatic prison panic attacks were actually discussed on CNN. What are tweens and teens supposed to do when their favorite pop star is no longer known for her singing, but rather for flashing her private parts? Young Hollywood was quickly lowering the value of celebrity. Furthermore, this trend was compounded when sites like YouTube revolutionized the idea of achieving your personal 15 minutes of fame. With the freedom to upload almost any video clip, YouTube further lowered the celebrity status bar.
Celeb-Zero will again be huge in 2008. YouTube was just the beginning. There are now other Web sites like blogtv.com, which allows you not only to upload video clips - but also encourages actual live broadcasting. Now you can schedule live programs for viewers to watch, and there are so many directions to take this: a reality show of your life, a multi-episode program centered around a theme, or any show featuring you as the host. Social networking sites like MySpace have produced their share of phenoms, so we should expect nothing less from networking sites centered around creative multimedia.
In contrast to the celebs whose status is slowly dying off due to their wild party habits, in 2008, we will see a surge in the All-Stars. All-Stars is a term that describes celebs who do it all - act, sing, dance - and they do it all with style. They're young, they're talented and they don't ruin their reputations with illegal behavior. Individuals like Zac Efron (from High School Musical and Hairspray) and Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus are dynamic All-Stars, embodying what it truly means to be in the entertainment industry. To top it all off, they have squeaky-clean images, and serve as great inspirations for tweens, teens and young adults. These All-Stars will continue their success simply because they are so flexible in what they do, and they don't give their fans a reason to stray.
An interesting new trend that will definitely expand is the rise of Tweenabees. Tweenabees are essentially parents who want to be more like their tweens. We are living in an age when parents want to connect with their children as much as possible, even if it means learning the latest trends. They want to let their tweens know that they are not just their parents - they are their friends. Tweenabees open up a whole new hybrid segment in the market, creating the need for products related to tweens, but designed for parents. Parents want to be educated in what's hot at the moment, from tween fashion to the latest craze in toys, to the most popular stars. They want to get in on these trends and show their tweens that they're not so different.
Last but not least, Niche Networking will also be a big hit in 2008. Niche Networking, as opposed to generalized networking, is the distinction of specific groups of social networking based on common interest, occupation or location. Even within popular social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, there is an emphasis on joining groups or sub-networks, whether based on college, hometown, common bonds ("I (heart) My Chemical Romance") or job affiliation. In 2008, you will see Niche Networking that goes beyond what MySpace provides today. The site asmallworld.net demonstrated that it's all about the exclusivity. Putting real limits on who can join their network has given value to those who have been able to become a part of it. This exclusivity will be especially advantageous to marketers, and help them to better target their consumers based on niche.
Keep an eye out for the continuation of Celeb-Zero, the rise of the All-Stars and the Tweenabees and popularization of Niche Networking. Each trend represents new insight in the world of business and marketing, and should at least take your mind off of the next batch of celebrity flashers.
Tina Wells is the CEO of Buzz Marketing Group. (email@example.com)