As the Director of Trend Hunter PRO, Tim Warmel can point out an innovative marketing strategy when he sees one, which is why he chose QR code haircut campaigns to discuss. It is not only an entertaining campaign, but it also allows consumers to connect to brands in a simpler and more direct fashion. As someone who left the corporate world to become part of a growing and forward-thinking team, he has first-hand experience in understanding the benefits of taking risks and reaping the benefits. Tim is able to offer up some great advice to companies, which involves instantly acting upon new endeavors. This is done so that companies can quickly test out a new idea and see whether it speaks to the specific consumer demographic that the company is seeking to target.
What is your favorite trend and why?
One of my favorite things that’s going on right now is this inter-activity that brands are beginning to take with their packaging and also with their products with consumers. It mostly revolves around scanned branding. This was a company who went to one of the hottest football teams in the UK. They had a hairdresser give player’s a QR code haircut by shaving the code into the back of his head. I’m not sure if it was actually scannable, but simply the idea that you can take a picture of the back of this guys head and thereby interact with the brand is incredibly novel and completely innovative and catches people’s attention, which is what they were trying to do with this.
How do you define cool?
Cool to me is something that is very, very unique, that you've picked out and found way out on the fringe. That you think is something that you can then bring back to all your friends and they’ll look at it and be like “ooh I want to do that.” And once they all do that then it’s not cool anymore and you got to find something else.
What is your secret to uncovering the best trends?
My secret to uncovering the best trends is actually derived from some advice from Natalie Portman on being creative. That is “to be creative, just be weird.” So I look for things that I think other people would find incredibly weird. If it’s weird and it peaks my interest then that is what I would go for.
What is your favorite part about working at Trend Hunter?
My favorite thing about working at Trend Hunter is actually, and I bet everyone said this, the people. It’s the people behind the camera right now and the feeling you get in the office.
What inspires or excites you?
The things that inspire me and excites me, a lot of them, they take place around Toronto. It’s a lot of walking around the streets. This isn't just a default large city, we’re the fourth largest city in North America. Just walking around the different parts of Toronto, whether it’s walking up to the Junction, on Queen St. West or in Parkdale. All of these different places provide such a variance of stimuli, and it’s really fantastic to see.
What advice would you give to the business world?
My advice to the business world and especially to the people who think that they are the up and comers in the business world is to stay on top of things. Create and form your business in such a way that when you see something that you think is going to be happening in the business world or in the future with consumers, that you can take that cue and you act on it almost immediately. Act on it in such a way that you can test that concept very very easily and very efficiently such that you can see if it’s actually going to pop with consumers.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I feel like my biggest life accomplishment was leaving the corporate world to come and do something that I was really really interested in, which was Trend Hunter.
Any last thoughts about Trend Hunter you’d like to share?
Trend Hunter is whack!