Ford’s 2013 Trends Report Foretold Post-Fact America
Ford on Wednesday released its 2017 Looking Further with Ford trend report. In addition to highlighting seven new trends that the automaker anticipates will help shape consumer attitudes over the next few yew years, Ford also celebrated the fifth anniversary of its annual report by revisiting three trends highlighted in past trend reports. One of those trends in particular indicates that Ford in some way foretold the horror that America has readily unleashed upon itself for the next four years.
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Ford’s annual report uses “insights gleaned from technological, economic, environmental, and political arenas [that] allow experts at the company to explore how trust, relationships, technology, and innovation can be leveraged to create meaningful vehicles and services that add value to consumers.”
Seven new trends highlighted for 2017 include embracing a less materialistic view of prosperity, determining what constitutes effective uses of free time, accommodating an emerging “sampling society,” examining the point at which technology becomes a hindrance, questioning whether individual and group movements are capable of creating change, the proliferation of parents seeking communal input to better raise their children, and the expansion of the very concept of community. Last year’s trend report hit upon similar ideas, including the idea of making more out of less free time, downsizing possessions, and the focus on the experiential in consumer interactions.
Granting validity to the prescience Ford’s insights is the revisitation of a trend from the 2013 Further with Ford report, “Trust is the New Black.” Per Ford’s description of the trend: “Where truth was once held to be indisputable, it increasingly tends to be heavily influenced by perception—and reinforced by like-minded viewpoints.” Rough translation: truth doesn’t matter if one feels strongly enough about a falsehood.
This trend was informed by survey results revealing that 41% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 agreed that perception is more important than truth, with 45% saying that it is possible to be authentic without being truthful. Years later, an inordinate number of American voters proved those very ideas by voting for an individual who is authentically revolting and anything but truthful in no small part because they somehow perceived this individual to be the lesser of two evils. Good call with that projection, Ford!
The 2017 Looking Further with Ford trend report recapitulates the idea by noting that the 2016 presidential election left voters calling “for a glimmer of normality—truth,” adding that the campaign drove up traffic to The Washington Post’s fact-checking blog and PolitiFact, likely due to the unbelievable frequency with which one candidate misrepresented reality. Yet, despite 75% of adults globally agreeing that “truth is indisputable,” a brazen liar and open enabler of white supremacy is the president-elect. Great job, truth. Maybe try a little harder next time.
With any luck, if one of the 2017 trends pans out over the next four years, it will be “Championing Change,” particularly the idea that individuals can start holding one another accountable and effecting positive societal change where government and other institutions fail. Maybe then, for the 2021 Looking Further with Ford trend report, there will be another super appropriate trend about how people are realizing that neofascism is actually a bad thing.
For the complete Looking Further with Ford 2017 trend report, hit up www.fordtrends.com.
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