William started as a marketer in the music industry, then became a trends forecaster. He now focuses on the implications, opportunities and threats that a wide variety of trends presents. In his presentations William explains how to take advantage: study behaviour, decide if it hints at a whole new direction, consider the impact and how long it might last, then determine strategy. He explores post-recession consumer attitudes about everything from fashion to finance.
William Higham is founder of strategic consultancy Next Big Thing and author of a book with the same title. He is an acknowledged authority in predicting consumer trends and understanding all aspects from technology to media use to the economy that might influence them.
By continually researching the latest shifts in consumer tastes, new products, innovations in marketing and communications, William builds a picture of the key issues an organisation will have to address in the coming years, or even decades. He looks in to the issues likely to affect an industry or sector, from internal cultures to employee expectations to retail and marketing. With these insights he offers strategic and tactical advice on reaching customers; what they expect, and what shifts in culture, technology, spending and attitudes mean.
William speaks about trends within a specified market or demographic, or in society at large, and how to communicate to different groups. He highlights digital developments from crowd-sourcing to non-friction (a seamless journey across media and platforms), and shows how the desire for ownership is increasingly concentrated on the emotional or aesthetic. Where this doesn’t apply, a rise in the swapping, sharing or resale of items will prevail, as well as a demand for value over cheapness.
William started his career in the music industry, first as a press officer and then marketing acts from The Rolling Stones to Smashing Pumpkins. He moved to a research consultancy working on high profile brands, before specialising in forecasting. Working in these areas provided an insight in to how to study consumer patterns first hand and in the media, to decide if they hint at a new direction, and then to consider the impact and how long they might last. He now applies this process across retail, service and any product areas – and for any and all demographic groups.
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JLA Speakers Breakfast - April 2013