At the intersection of Research-Trend-Design: Nurhan Keeler

Nurhan Keeler, who after taking Ancient Greek lessons besides her philosophy education lived in Athens for two years to perceive both disciplines in their origin, unites research, trends and design.

Keeler thought of living in a different country as an opportunity to re-learn her country and language and worked as a professional tourist guide for a while. Her experiences as a guide affected her choice to work in research sector where she could specialize on different cultures. Following that, she worked for 5 years in Zet Nielsen and 3 in Coca-Cola in strategic planning, trends and research departments. After 2 years of general directorship in GfK Panel, she established the İdefabrik  Trend company in collaboration with Trend Group  Pazar Arastirma in 2001.

Nurhan Keeler who is a guest instructor at Istanbul Bilgi University and Koc University, works on philosophy, semiology, research, statistics, Erickson coaching and makes researches and trend analysis using transactional analysis. Furthermore, she also prepares and presents the radio show Evrenin Suyuna Giden Tasarım (Design Humoring the Universe) in 94.9 Açık Radyo since 2009.

If you are wondering how she unites research, trend and design using her experiences, you can take a look at our interview…

What is“Trend?”

Trend, other than its usage in fashion, means forecasting the future from the path something takes. While determining trends, if we are predicting growths that are important for sectors, in other words, if we are interested in the future, we always look at the past and present. Some indicators assist you in your interpretation of the future.

Which subjects have trends?

As researchers, we usually get questions of sectoral size. In other words, we are asked“where should I invest?” For our researches, where the country is directed, political and economic situations, values, city life and daily objects are important. If an idea or a product is to be designed, then we focus more on fashion, consumer behavior and life styles. And for this, we observe the signs of daily life.

What we call trend here is more about daily stuff and from this point; we try to paint a picture of the future life. It is also possible to talk about a more contemporary trend. These are the stuff that we begin to see more often and although not popular yet, is predicted to be foci of interest in the near future.

What do you focus on?

For the sector, night life, cosmetics and values studies are our constant subjects. We often conduct researches on these subjects; follow the values in Turkey and the world. Other than these, there are subjects that we research on customer demand.

What else does Trend Group do?

Besides looking at specific areas like construction sector, construction equipment, construction materials, food and drink, cosmetics, hard drinks, youth, women, children for our products and customer demands, we also conduct researches and set trends by observing city life and household life and attending fairs and seminars. All these researches are conducted to predict the future.

Trend Group is a research company and this property gives it a lot of chances. Our studies for different sectors create trust in our customers. Sometimes, we are invited as speakers to explain the Turkish consumer and trends to foreign executives. On the other hand, we transform these wide ranged data to something usable. Turning the information into a product or an idea is a process that is as much painful as it is fun.

So, what does İde-fabrik do?

Our team is consistent of statisticians, social scientists (sociology, political science, etc.), industrial engineers and industrial designers. Reaching the conclusion of a reseach on any topic is realized as a result of a very efficient process. İde-fabric is the place where it is possible to transform a research into an idea, a draft.

So we can say it is a kind of a factory…

Firms ask us to hold workshops, make trend presentations… Both a conceptual project and communication designs are asked of us… So yes, we can say it’s a kind of a factory. It is possible to conduct researches, collect information and create what is asked on a specific subject.

And the design?

People say“okay, this information is great. So what do we do with it?” It is hard to use the information. People assume it is over when you learn it. The real job begins then. First of all, the information needs to be submitted to the work program and adapted to the firm. Other than this, we can be asked to design a packaging using the trends. A customer might say“We want products that will be actively used by the industrial cooks” or”We want to communicate with women, design the inter-communication for us.”

So we improve on the information we gathered from our researches on the conceptual scale. We are not a publicity agency or a design office. We don’t present a finished product, we present a concept.

Do you have a hard time communicating with different departments of companies? For example, Marketing, Design, Finance departments…

We prefer to stay with the higher management; as you go down, projects tend to get blocked by“let me ask the higher ups.” And sometimes, companies block themselves. They say they want to do something different. And when we offer something completely different, it gets rejected. Because they seem“too” different. Companies look for something with familiar properties.

They don’t really know what they want…

We see this condition in many corporate companies, both domestic and abroad. So we need to strive and waste a lot of breath to convince them. Marketing managers of liquor brands that seem modern and following the trends, try to do conventional, pattern limited jobs. Companies are traditional and conservative. They seem more innovative thanks to their ads, but I can say that they don’t want to disturb the system.

What would make your job easier?

General Managers that know what they want would be good; they can rapidly decide, they can get into any loop. I wish we could work with them from beginning to the end. It is valuable that they can grasp and accept new stuff. Others need to hear them for at least 10 times. Well, we should continue our work with this acceptance.

We can say companies have set patterns…

We receive briefs from some companies that say“We want to be the trend pioneers.” It is possible to start with such an intention and have very profitable projects. However, there are“real” calculations that should be made first. We ask them“Did you conduct a new material, manufacturing method, etc. research to be a pioneer? Did you make a feasibility study based on facts?” Somethings stay on air.

If the designer and financer can meet and agree on a common point, the value that will be gained is great. The work should be conducted as a coordinated team that can come up with proposals. They should leave the formal, paper works a bit, and travel more. A little bit of courage to catch the future…

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