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Visions of Faith for future:
Popcorn polishes her crystal ball

Toronto Sun

Who knew back in 1981 that we'd all be home-loving, garden-mad, four-wheel-driving cocooners in the late '90s?

Faith Popcorn did. And so did her clients. "We sensed back then that even though people were going out and having sex, drugs, and rock and roll, they were yearning to have a baby, yearning to have a pizza in bed, yearning to stay home," says Popcorn with her trademark grin.

By "we," Popcorn means her 22-year-old consulting company BrainReserve, a Manhattan think tank with a track record so impressive, a long list of Fortune 500 companies rarely make a marketing move without its collected wisdom.

For Popcorn, her ability to spot decade-long trends years before they emerge has made her a pop culture icon and earned her the nickname "Nostradamus of marketing." In her new book, Clicking (Harper Collins, $32.50), Popcorn outlines 16 new trends with an eye to letting the average person cash in on her Fortune 500-tailored advice.

We want intimacy in our lives, from sex to shopping. No more malls, she says, no more huge conglomerates.

We want to buy from small shops, or from companies that at least give the appearance of being small and folksy like Ben and Jerry's ice cream and Body Shop.

The trend is called "Icon Toppling" in Popcorn-speak. "I'm not sure people understand the anger," she adds, explaining consumers don't trust the former icons of society. They're angry about corporate layoffs, fed up with going to the same store in hundreds of malls across the country. "They want customization," she says. The corresponding trend? Things like a little "you" icon in your computer that exactly matches your body so you can "try on" catalogue clothing, she predicts. You will even be able to turn to get back and side views.

With Icon Toppling comes a craving for simpler things, homeopathy over traditional medicine, aromatherapy to ease stress, or a vet, hairdresser or store that comes to you in a travelling van.

"I'm going to simplify my life, take that extra hour, that extra day," Popcorn explains, calling that trend Cashing Out.

Faith Popcorn, best-selling author of The Popcorn Report, is Chairman of BrainReserve, Inc., a marketing consultancy to the Fortune 500 which she founded in 1974, whose clients include GE Capital, Bell Atlantic, BMW, Corning, Hoffman-LaRoche, IBM, Lipton, Metropolitan Life, PepsiCo, and RJR Nabisco.

Recognized as America's foremost trend expert, she is an internationally known speaker on consumer trends, identifying such sweeping societal concepts as: "Cocooning" - "Cashing Out" - "Female Think" - "Pleasure Revenge".

She has developed a unique method of understanding consumer needs to prepare her clients for the future marketplace. As key strategist for BrainReserve, Ms. Popcorn uses her insight on cultural and business trends to develop new products, reposition established brands and define areas of new business opportunity.

Documented as having a 95% accuracy rate, Ms. Popcorn correctly predicted the demand for fresh foods, four-wheel drives and the failure of New Coke. She was the first to target the stay-at-home syndrome and to anticipate the explosive growth in home delivery, home businesses and home shopping (interactive TV). Her hour-long seminar, which focuses on how today's trends are affecting consumer lifestyles and purchase behavior, has been presented to thousands of audiences across the globe.

Heralded for her extraordinary ability to forecast emerging consumer patterns, Ms. Popcorn is frequently interviewed and cited in the media (The New York Times, Time, Fortune, "The Today Show", "Face The Nation", "CNN"). Her book (hardcover, Doubleday, 1991; paperback, HarperCollins, 1992) has combined sales in excess of 500,000 copies. An international phenomenon, The Popcorn Report: Faith Popcorn on the Future of Your Company, Your World, Your Life, has been published in sixteen countries, including China and Japan, and is now available in twelve languages.

Published in April 1996, Faith's latest book is Clicking: 16 Trends to FutureFit Your Life, Your Work, and Your Business. "Clicking" is on both the BusinessWeek Best Seller List and The New York Times Business Best Sellers, and has been released as an audio cassette. Building on the book's success, Faith has developed Clicking: The Seminar, her provocative, highly motivating, new 60-minute Trend presentation which helps audiences uncover profitable new opportunities.

Ms. Popcorn is a graduate of New York University and New York's High School of Performing Arts.


The BrainReserve mission is to ensure that our clients compete successfully throughout the decade by developing new products and renewing existing ones to meet the needs of the future consumer.

Founded in 1974, BrainReserve is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in identifying and applying consumer trends. The BrainReserve Trends serve as the springboard for our developing out-of-the-box consumer marketing strategies including corporate platforms, new products, services products and brand renewals/restagings. In our work for a roster of Fortune 500 clients, this Trend-based, future orientation has allowed us to successfully anticipate consumers' needs and wants and differentiate our clients from their competition. In this capacity, we have in the past 18 months completed strategic positioning assignments, what we call FutureScapes, for ActMedia, Bell Atlantic, DAP, Corning, IBM, MetLife, Nabisco and Pepsi/Lipton.

BrainReserve's unmatched breadth of knowledge derives from our unique problem-solving methodology and proprietary resources. BrainReserve is known for its TalentBank, a roster of 3,500 experts worldwide who represent diverse specialties, from magazine editors to computer developers to environmental analysts, from leisure experts to luxury marketers to leading futurists whose ideas are shaping the world as it approaches the new millennium.

Also unique to BrainReserve is our TrendBank, the repository of information gleaned from our thousands of consumer interviews, BrainJams, our bi-weekly roundtable think sessions to strategize and develop Trend-based solutions to our assignments, our TrendTreks to retail and consumer gathering places, ongoing media analysis and continuous "brailling of the culture," all of which help us to define Trends in progress.

BrainReserve operates with a core staff of twenty eight, supplemented by TalentBankers, who are category and creative specialists, and BrainReserve-trained facilitators who utilize our proprietary TrendProbe consumer interview technique to anticipate future market needs.

The BrainReserve Trends are the subject of much media coverage. Faith Popcorn, company chairman and leading visionary, author of the best-selling books Clicking and The Popcorn Report is frequently, interviewed in the national and international media (Time, The Today Show, Face The Nation, CNN) and known for her coining of the word "Cocooning." The Cocooning Trend is in its second decade and is a cornerstone of much of BrainReserve's work.