gwendolyn faith is not a crayon.

Hello, I’m Gwen.

I work in advertising. I play in the kitchen.

I’m part tweenager. (Look at my iTunes playlist.)

I’m part Grandma. (Look at my oversize cardi collection.)

I’m part Romy or Michelle. (Look at the height of my hair.)

As a Christian, I'm learning how to glorify God in the everyday. To live into the status quo, like Jesus' own Manchurian candidate, and seep grace through its cracks.

I wish my life were a musical, but other than that, I’m pretty content.

(No surprise I also like to Yelp.)

The Casual Vacancy
The Explicit Gospel
Gone Girl
The Chaperone
Cutting for Stone

Gwen Daniels's favorite books »

Posts tagged "trendspotting"

I’m fascinated by the idea of normcore—ubiquitous fashion that, as Fiona Duncan writes in her insightful piece for The Cut, manifests itself in ardently ordinary clothes.


Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion - The Cut

“It’s not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass,” explains [Emily Segal of the trend forecasting firm K-HOLE]. Rather, it’s about welcoming the possibility of being recognizable, of looking like other people—and “seeing that as an opportunity for connection, instead of as evidence that your identity has dissolved.” Normcore isn’t about rebelling against or giving into the status quo; it’s about letting go of the need to look distinctive, to make time for something new.

And ultimately, normcore allows wearers—including NYC style-setters who were once set apart from the masses by their Acne and Isabel Marant, as Duncan quips—to connect across social boundaries. “I think one of the most important takeaways from Normcore, beyond adaptability, is empathy,” another K-HOLE analyst explains in a Bullett Media blog post. “The whole basis of our practice is about being able to address more than one community. We aim to be legible in art, market, and individual terms; that’s to form relationships.”


In the past year or so, we’ve been witnessing the convergence of several trends – a shift in online behavior, where users of social media tend to be gravitating toward micro-social networks and smaller, more socially curated sites; the rise of micro-lending, micro-giving, and localism; the growth and innovation occurring in qualitative market research; the higher levels of participation and quality in smaller-scale forms of research; the pruning of “friends” in social networks and tightening of privacy controls, and other phenomena. While disparate in their form, they are all manifestations of a few basic principles:

    • People want to feel that they are having an impact.
    • People want smaller, more intimate, more meaningful social circles.
    • People want brand relationships with a human face.
    • Companies need to better understand their customers, in a human and not purely data-driven way.
    • Privacy is starting to matter again.

It was about persuasion, but now it is about conversation—and it makes sense, of course. No one wants to just be talked at.

Don’t forget the miniaturizing of other things as well, like desserts and packaging :D ~ cake pop, anyone?

Digitally enabled by easily accessible evocations of their past, consumers’ very memories are now being relentlessly commoditized. Images of our weddings and graduations, memories of kids’ births and grandparents’ faces now get snugly wrapped by ads for automobiles and toothpaste. The commercialization of our personal and collective pasts has significant cultural and marketing implications. As a matter of fact, it’s now doing what was heretofore unthinkable: It’s killing nostalgia dead.

Categories are interesting to anthropologists. They are the “buckets” into which we organize the world. More exactly, they are the buckets with which we read the world. We have a bucket called “bird.” Inside that is a bucket called “Robin.” As spring approaches, we see winged creatures on our lawn and the buckets leap to the ready. Robin! Bird! Spring! This is culture in action.

From this point of view, Pinterest is a treasure. It’s a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat. Yes, some of it is a little reductive. But sometimes what people stuff into the categories is a chance for us to see exactly what they mean. Pinterest is a little Rosetta Stone, a table of equivalencies. Oh, so that’s what YOU mean by home. Here’s what I mean. In a culture that flowers with an increasingly diverse variety, this is useful.

Grant McCracken in the Harvard Business Review post “Pinterest as Free Market Research”

I should probably write my own commentary instead of posting quotes all the time, but hel-lo, I have a research proposal to write! Actually, I have two research proposals to write. Ouch.

The core problem is that cooking is defined as work, and fast food is both a pleasure and a crutch. “People really are stressed out with all that they have to do, and they don’t want to cook,” says Julie Guthman, associate professor of community studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of the forthcoming “Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice and the Limits of Capitalism.” “Their reaction is, ‘Let me enjoy what I want to eat, and stop telling me what to do.’ And it’s one of the few things that less well-off people have: They don’t have to cook.

Mark Bittman in his New York Times op-ed piece "Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?", a fascinating read about the way — and the why — Americans eat

An aside for my advertising friends: Katiy Woolard, a j-school alumna and a strategist at Now What Research in Boulder, taught me one way to find consumer insight is to identify a tension, two deep truths at odds with each other, around the subject at hand. Could be a tension between consumer perception and consumer perception. Could be a tension between a social norm and consumer behavior. Could be a tension between a social norm and brand behavior. A company, brand or organization can come into that tension point and find a solution, something that reconciles the opposing ideas.

The New York Times op-ed presents a clear tension between the chore of cooking at home and the fun of dining out. That leads to a consumer insight a brand or even an advocacy group could leverage: Cooking healthy food at home feels like work, but grabbing fast food is a treat I can always afford.

Don’t resign yourselves to a future where shopping online replaces shopping malls, boutiques and big-box stores, tells marketers in their September trend report. Despite the plethora of online options, shopping in the real world still satisfies consumers’ innate needs — the needs that drive them to shop in the first place.

RETAIL RENAISSANCE | Smart retailers are defying doom and gloom scenarios, as they realize that shopping in the real world will forever satisfy consumers’ deep rooted needs for human contact, for instant gratification, for the promise of (shared) experiences, for telling stories. Hence the flurry of new formats, technologies, capabilities, and products that now are delighting retail customers around the world.

(image via)

[The Internet has taken] a lot of randomness out of life. We tend to value order and control over randomness, but when we lose randomness, we also lose serendipity. It’s just one of many ways in which digital technologies now spill over into non-screen-based aspects of social experience.
Dalton Conley in “When Roommates Were Random

When JWT Intelligence covers FOMO, you know it’s a thing. Actually, FOMO has probably always been a thing. But now with the influx of social media and smart phones, we’re all more aware of what we’re missing out on.

Whether it’s loud rock and roll or too much TV, parents have long lamented kids’ entertainment habits. Texting and social media amp the generation gap by giving teens a space of their own 24/7.

This week’s Iconowatch e-newsletter pushes the why of Millennials’ addiction to social media, smart phones and technology as a whole.

Tech gives us our own space - whenever and wherever we need it.