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People get highly descriptive when talking about the topic of trend research at the advertising agency Leo Burnett. Read our customer story to find out what they mean.

Industry:  Advertising agency
Number of Trendexplorer users:  20
Trendexplorer customer since:  2014
Our contact person:  Kornelia Hofmann – Insight Manager at Leo Burnett

Kornelia Hofmann – Insight Manager at Leo Burnett

Kornelia Hofmann is the agency’s Insight Manager and is responsible for the strategic planning of existing clients as well as for new business.

In addition, she supports her colleagues in the key accounts team and deals with questions from the agency network.

What has Leo Burnett got to do with trend research?

Besides analysing markets and competitors, trend research now plays a key role in the work of advertising and communications agencies, and is therefore also important to Kornelia Hofmann as an Insight Manager. Trend research is a core component of strategic planning and has become an integral aspect of everyday business. At Leo Burnett, the Trendexplorer is used with existing customers, new business and to keep up to date with the latest developments.

We use the trends in the Trendexplorer as inspiration for our in-house creative processes. And for our clients, we create trend reports with the help of the Trendexplorer. The great thing about the Trendexplorer is that the mega-trends are linked to the micro-trends. That makes it possible to check if certain micro-trends can be found or are likely to appear in the industries we deal with. In general, it is difficult to categorise trends. For that reason, it is really helpful for us when trends can be broken down into different categories and industries. That makes the whole thing easier to understand – for us and for our clients.

How does Leo Burnett work with the Trendexplorer?

Can you give us an example?

Yes, without going into too much detail I can recall a client that really needed some help in coming up with new ideas. At the time, it was obvious that what was on the market at that point would be long forgotten a few years down the line. We used the micro-trends to suggest some ideas to the client and help out in the development stage. In this example, the Trendexplorer was an external source of inspiration for us and we were the internal source of inspiration for our client.

I think that most trends are influenced by human needs. And these trends are then the ones to really establish themselves.
Kornelia Hofmann, Insight Manager at Leo Burnett

The Trendexplorer provides trends that represent a good basis for opening up people’s minds and helping them to think afresh. We make the most of that for our clients. We include some of the latest trends in our workshops to encourage clients to view things from a different perspective and test all kinds of crazy ideas. In that sense, the Trendexplorer offers plenty of inspiration. It is an important source for new products, services and visions.

One of the main tasks in strategic planning is to take the bird’s eye view so that you can tell customers what situation they are currently in and which direction they should take so they don’t lose touch. The Trendexplorer is great for that too.

The Trendexplorer is also a practical tool for our interns in strategic planning so that they can practice preparing presentations and, at the same time, update us strategists on the latest trends. They get the chance to do things like present and categorise trends – from mega-trends right through to micro-trends.

Are there any other areas where the Trendexplorer is helpful?

What challenges does Leo Burnett face with regard to trends? What kind of questions and problems arise?

Questions that are often asked and need to be answered include, “Is that a real trend or just a flash in the pan?” and “What is relevant to the client?”. The challenge here lies in categorising, evaluating and assessing the trends properly.

We have to consider which developments have an influence on brand management. And we sometimes just have to wait for certain developments to happen. Nobody can predict how things will turn out in advance. You need a lot of experience and know-how to be able to attempt that. The Trendexplorer provides excellent support when it comes to viewing the whole picture from a different perspective.

The challenge here lies in categorising, evaluating and assessing the trends properly.
Kornelia Hofmann, Insight Manager at Leo Burnett

We use the Trendexplorer every day – either for preparing a presentation or workshop, for strategic planning or for ourselves as an update.

How often do you use the Trendexplorer?

Which trend sticks in your memory and why?

It’s hardly a trend any more, but I am still fascinated by the development of VR headsets (Virtual Reality headsets) in the consumer electronics sector. It’s almost like having a cinema in your own mind. This technology is now widely used in the tourism sector and real estate business. It enables people to take a walk around their house or apartment before it has even been built. Or to stand on the beach and marvel at the view of the sea at a future holiday destination. That’s all really exciting.

I am also very interested in the mega-trend Healthstyle. I often wonder which direction the whole Health issue will take. On the one hand, it is a positive development if, for example, my car can detect if I have had a heart attack and then drive me to the nearest hospital. On the other hand, I worry about companies being able to find out exactly what my state of health is.


Being as well informed as possible is the be-all and end-all of Kornelia Hofmann’s work. The more wide-ranging the information is, the better she can develop strategies for her clients.

Trend research has become an effective means of carrying out good marketing work and it combines well with more traditional methods of analysing markets and competitors. After all, whoever keeps an eye on the future as well as on the current economic situation can react more flexibly to market changes and cater to the needs of their target groups.