Being a trendsetter isn’t for everyone. Trendsetting involves finding new ideas and taking chances. For some, the prospect of a new idea, product, or technology can be daunting. This group would rather wait until the new item or idea has been reviewed and approved by trendsetters. Trendsetters, however, are eager to get their hands on the next big thing.
In his book Diffusion of Innovations, researcher Everett Rogers identified five different customer groups: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Innovators and early adopters only make up 16% of the identified groups. While the innovators and early adopters, also known as trendsetters, represent only a small segment of the population, there are several major advantages to being a trendsetter.
The first, and perhaps most obvious advantage to being a trendsetter is the ability to utilize something new before everyone else. Having one of the first home computers was an obvious benefit, as was being one of the first to own a car when everyone else was dependent on horses. In the classic battle of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” early adopters always have the edge.
Another benefit to being an early adopter is the ability to directly communicate with companies and provide feedback. Many successful companies realize that a crucial key to success is consumer feedback. When a product is first introduced, early adopters are regularly encouraged to voice their opinions and are, therefore, involved in the development of an exciting new product. In this way, trendsetters and early adopters help perfect a product before it reaches the masses.
An often overlooked benefit to being an early adopter is the potential to be a driver of innovation. Anytime a revolutionary idea or product is introduced, many will be hesitant to adopt or even consider its application. Early adopters, however, are open to the idea that the status quo is not permanent and things can and should be improved. With this openness to new ideas, early adopters are crucial to the spread of new ideas and products.
Looking back through history, there are countless examples which show that new ideas take time to spread. As strange as it may seem today, the success of the automobile was not always seen as inevitable. In fact,
While, at times, they may go overlooked, trendsetters and early adopters are a crucial component in the driving of innovation. Trendsetters are able to stand out in the crowd, have an active role in the development of something revolutionary, and have a hand in shaping the future.