iCoolHunt is a new app from Italy that uses the power of photo sharing to tap into emerging global trends.
The mobile gaming industry is worth billions of dollars, and one company tapping into this trend and putting their unique slant on it is iCoolHunt. It is an app and a cross-platform geo-social game that asks its users to collaboratively identify and track emerging trends anywhere in the world. The app takes a gamified approach to finding trends, you capture images in certain identified trend collections or you can even start your own. The brains behind the app (two Italian brothers Luca and Alessio Morena) have recently updated an earlier model released in 2010. So how does it work? Users capture their chosen trend or ‘prey’, describe it, categorize it and tag its location. The prey is then ‘cooled’ or ‘uncooled’ by your followers or other users thus affecting your iCoolHunt status whether that be newbie (they call this Rookie), up and coming (Observer), accomplished (Spotter) or top of the game (Guru). The Guru as they say, ‘defines what is cool and are highly influential.’
To work your way up the hierarchy iCoolHunt encourages you to regularly upload, actively start Trendboxes or themes such as ‘Creative Food’ or ‘Design,’ and to vote on other ‘iCoolHunter’s’ posts. And the way to reach Guru status is to share completely original, slightly offbeat or unique content, so the quality of the images is also taken into account. Furthermore you can also improve your profile by unlocking badges that will be displayed on your page. Such badges include ‘Top Contributor’ or ‘Futurist’ and there’s even a ‘B.Cunningham’ badge for the street style savvy.
So what does all this mean for the trends industry? What’s important to note is that the public does the spotting on iCoolHunt, whereas forecasting companies use trained, paid employees to identify, analyse and predict trends in a logical and very careful manner. However, iCoolHunt could potentially become a useful tool for trend forecasters to assist them during their forecasting journey and aid in confirming their findings. Another aspect that could be useful for the trends industry is the interactive map they call the ‘Trenditory’ that shows posts from specific regions. This allows users to see filtered trends such as cool goings-on in their home towns or other areas they’re interested in and could also be especially helpful when forecasters are conducting research in specific areas around the world.
iCoolHunt gives meaning to photos. As opposed to taking a picture to keep as a memory, or for nostalgic reasons, it’s looking at potential signs, ideas, and themes for the future and with the ability to share amongst powerful social networks such as Facebook and Google +, it seems the app is set to reach millions amongst trend professionals and the public alike.