New experts

Knowledge and discernment continue to be important social currencies, and important dimensions of consumer identity and status. However the evolution of this sub-trend highlights how credible consumer experts and new figures of authority are being created through new online channels.

How is this sub-trend evolving?

How it was

Individual consumers pursuing knowledge and discernment as an increasingly important social marker of accomplishment

How it is

Trusted consumer experts, whose opinions and advice in their specialist area are hugely influential
.

How it will be

All parties – brands, self-made experts, people – share, collaborate and question to find mutually beneficial solutions

In-market examples from around the world

What: An anonymous instagram sensation who scouts out and tests London’s hottest restaurants and cafes long before traditional food critics get their say. Arguably London’s most influential foodie account, he has 153K followers and has curated real-life food experiences (e.g. London Food Trail), too.
Why: Bored with ‘expert’ opinion in traditional media the younger Millennial and Centennials are turning to social media for on-the-pulse inspiration for their OOH food choices. Not only beautiful but completely ahead of the game, @clerkenwellboyec1 has become a trusted source for many Londoners on the lookout for where to go next
What: Many firmer celebrities and women in public or semi-public positions running informative and popular blogs on a range of topics.
Why: In many cases, in socially conservative Japan, motherhood spells the end of a woman’s career – seeing the enormous power of their powerful experience women are turning to blogs to entertain and educate others.
What: GlutenDude is an online blog and sharing platform that connects gluten-free consumers around the world. Users can find advice, recipes, take part in online forums and record their latest ‘gluten-free nightmare’. GlutenDude brings a group of people with a shared ‘gluten free’ experience together. Through this site, users can learn from other people’s experiences as well as contribute their own ideas and stories.
Why: People with health problems often feel ostracised from others, and increasingly look to take control of their situation for positive change. GlutenDude empowers sufferers to do this, each person being an expert in their own experience, by sharing experiences, encouragement, tips, and tricks.
What: XYZ Printing have released their 3D food printing machine, with three tubes that can each be filled with a different soft materials, such as dough, sauce or chocolate. Printed faces on pizzas and chocolate sculptures are some of the creative outputs already successfully achieved.
Why:  Brands are no longer in control of designs – creative power when it comes to food aesthetics can now lie in the hands of consumers!
What: London-based School of Food brings expert instruction to the consumer’s own kitchen, either physically or via their comprehensive online course.
Why:  School of Food know that it is difficult for busy consumers to find the time to acquire the skills to create something impressive (and social media share-worthy) and a YouTube tutorial just isn’t personal or tailored enough. Their ‘learn at home’ service is the ideal solution.
What: Choco Vivo is an LA café specialising in the purest cocoa and related products.
Why: Attracting chocoholics from around the world, Choco Vivo tells the story of the business and its chocolate, from bean to bar, at weekly tasting sessions which promise to ‘create connoisseurs’.  The company’s strong (trending) social media presence  shows how popular their ‘cocoa geek’ ethos is.
What: ZoeSugg began her career as a teenager posting videos on YouTube about fashion and beauty from her bedroom. But seven million subscribers later internet superstar Zoe, better known as Zoella, has become a beauty and lifestyle guru  and self-made businesswoman.
Why: Zoella’s reviews have tapped into the psyche of a generation of young girls (and some boys), creating a vlog channel whose audience contends with mainstream TV.