Faith Popcorn is a futurist, author and founder and CEO of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve a one-of-a-kind marketing consultancy that started over four decades ago. Faith is famous for her ability to predict trends for Fortune 500 companies with high accuracy and then apply them to creating strategy, repositioning brands and weaving the messages into the appropriate cultures. We spoke on New Year’s Day, the same day her 2016 Trend Projections were published in Fortune. Her predictions are both fascinating and terrifying. She describes a future with armored communities, memory implants that could erase a bad childhood or add a good one, replacing therapy, robots eliminating many human jobs and mico-clans that keep like-minded people together and insulated from those with different views.
I disclosed my anxiety about the future to Faith and was surprised to hear that she shared my concerns and fears. It doesn’t hold her back. While many people might employ coping mechanisms such as denial and avoidance, Faith is bold, resilient and informed.
According to Faith, her strength and the success of her company comes down to three traits. They are woven into everything she and her 50-person team create. She calls it their DNA. They are:
- Being Independent: "We are not owned by any large agency network, therefore we are not restricted from saying what we believe."
- Being Original: "Nobody hires our Company to hear the same recommendations that McKinsey and Bain put forth. The Chair People that retain us are looking to break the old models and bring on the new."
- Being Brave: "We have guts. Grit. Courage. A strong belief in our methodology and in our Talent. We create brilliant breakthrough solutions to very difficult marketing dilemmas such as what will happen to the car industry when self-driving cars are the only thing that people want? What will happen to WalMart when consumers want home delivery? What will happen to brands when you can print your own products with your home printer?"
It might be a good time to ask, “What’s your DNA?” and “How will it keep you grounded and successful and courageous in a rapidly changing world?”
On a lighter note, I wanted to share one of my favorite Faith Popcorn moments that took place at a small dinner party my wife and I hosted years ago. The Dali Lama’s brother asked Faith what she did for a living. “I predict the future,” she replied. “What about you?” she asked. “I live in the present,” he said with a smile.