How Brands Can Identify Trends That Actually Matter

How Brands Can Identify Trends That Actually Matter

Vizeum Australia social specialist Rosalie Odtojan shares her tips on how to spot a trend and why brands should care.

Rosalie Odtojan
Posted by Rosalie Odtojan

What do you get when you mix an event that receives global media coverage? A hot topic for public discussion on social media – a trend. Whether you care or not, Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg are undoubtedly two of the hottest news topics globally.

With Trump standing by his call to block Muslims from entering the US to Zuckerberg’s recent $45 billion donation to charity, one thing is clear – not everything lasts, especially trends.

Great, but why should brands care? Easy – they need to establish their point of view on Trump’s position to border security and Zuckerberg’s smart donation strategy. More importantly, recognise the long term effects.

It is important for brands to distinguish whether certain events constitute a trend worth leveraging versus one that will end up being tomorrow’s fish and chip paper. Brands need to learn how to ride a trend’s wave to success. If they don’t, they run the risk of getting left behind.

At first glance, allocating significant resources to incorporate elements of an irrelevant trend into a brand’s marketing strategy or offering isn’t playing it smart. To help embrace trends worth leveraging, what should be the first move? Identify trends that really matter.

Recognising the right trends – large or small – could have the potential to reshape a brand. To help decide whether certain events constitute a trend worth leveraging for your brand, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Domino effects – what are the implications of this trend on your consumer’s life? What changes are occurring in different areas of their life? What’s the relevant connection? For example, consider how LinkedIn and Tinder are affecting professional relationships and personal relationships.
  2. Impact – How profound is the trend in relation to a consumer’s priorities and perceptions?
  3. Scale – Does the trend cover a niche group or a large number of consumers across different segments?
  4. Stamina – Are there signs that this trend will be an overriding power in consumer behaviour for a long period? What are they?

What trend ticks all these boxes? A good example is global warming and the environment. In one way or another, everyone tries to do their bit. Whether it’s saving paper, conserving electricity at home or at work. People are interested more now than ever about natural products when deciding on what goods they’re going to buy.

Many brands have made green marketing a priority. More importantly, they have made their point of view on the issue public. Just look at Leonardo DiCaprio’s stance on promising to cease using fossil fuels. These developments illustrate that environmental concerns are rooted in all of us and the trend itself will endure.

Most of us will make a New Year’s resolution – maybe to lose weight, quit smoking or drink less – either way, most aim to live a healthier lifestyle, and fitness trends are nothing new.  Case in point, AquaSpin – the new trend of spinning underwater. Burning approximately 800 calories per hour, it is said to have the ability to help burn two Big Macs in 60 minutes.

Sessions are tailored to provide a full body workout, using various techniques to help get the most out of each minute. Even Khloe Kardashian has been seen promoting this workout on her Instagram page. With new technology popping up faster than ever, working out has never been more scientific, technological and engaging.

To exist in the trends that matter most, brands need to have a better understanding of the context of their audiences and their lives. Scientific, economical, technological, cultural, or political – trends affect how people see the world. Fact. They can influence what audiences expect from different products and services. Here lies the unique opportunity for brands to grow in line with a trend.

Brands that can pinpoint and capitalise on trends that are relevant to their audiences in the context of their lives, will distance themselves from the competition.

When reviewing a brand’s content efforts, consider what important trends communicate? Does it tap into any existing social behaviours that are naturally happening within your audiences? Does your point of view on this trend provide any value at all?

If the answer is no, it is not social. More importantly, it’s not worth the effort.