Toronto’s Trend Hunter will be hosting its second annual Future Festival from October 5-7, with workshops taking place at the Hyatt Hotel on King Street and keynote speeches at the adjacent TIFF Lightbox Theatre.
After parties will take place at Trend Hunter’s private bar, with scheduled “Safaris & Future Party” slated to happen in “an epic secret location”.
“Trend Hunter’s Future Festival is specifically designed to be the world’s best innovation conference — a place for the world’s top innovators to prototype their future,” says CEO Jeremy Gutsche. “98% plan to attend again with a stunning 76% rating it the best business event they’ve ever attended. You’ll experience next year’s trends from the #1 trend firm, while prototyping 5 – 10 disruptive ideas using the same award-winning workshops we’ve used to help NASA prototype the journey to Mars.”
Attendees at last year’s conference included representatives from Starbucks, Disney, Staples, Honda, Chicago Tribune, Numeris, Hallmark, Hasbro, Motorola, Dannon, Symrise, ConAgra, Mead Johnson, BBDO, Aflac, BMO, Cineplex, Estee Lauder, Imax, Kellogg and Sony.
Gutsche launched Trend Hunter in 2006, ostensibly as an aggregator of shareworthy content wrapped in an endless series of 120-word buzz-themed articles, highlighting subjects ranging from “Healthy Flavored Water Bottles” to “Moonshine Infused Hamburgers” or “Sugar Monitoring Tea Spoons”.
Which downplays the importance of Trend Hunter’s role in the $21 billion U.S. brand intelligence market.
Privately held Trend Hunter keeps its revenue figures to itself, but Gutsche claims to have fielded and refused “eight figure” takeover offers.
Writing in the Globe & Mail, Trend Hunter president Shelby Walsh discussed the difficulty, during Trend Hunter’s inaugural Future Festival, of impressing hardened conference-circuit veterans, who are constantly bombarded with an ever increasing array of novelty knick-knacks and side events.
Business conferences have become locked into a kind of arms race, no longer happy with status quo buffets and grip-and-grins, but increasingly pushing a “thought leader” agenda, as at Montreal’s innovative C2MTL, among others.
“It’s a hard group to wow, but in its first year, the research organization recorded the entire event with Bubl Cam,” writes Walsh. “This camera lets users capture and experience events in 360 degrees. Trend Hunter sent attendees home with a VR headset and a link so that colleagues who could not attend the trend safaris around the city or TED-style presentations, could do so virtually. There were also various VR experience areas where guests could learn about the technology, going on virtual roller coasters, visiting far-off lands and even having a close encounter with a dinosaur.”
Super early-bird tickets are still available, ranging from $799 to $1,299, which gets you “breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, the trend book, trend reports and admission fees to the trend safaris Wednesday noon till the end of the workday on Friday.”