Trends are a directional phenomenon dictated by different sectors of public opinion at certain periods of time. They reflect new inventions, styles and even opinions and are a very useful tool in forecasting the shape of things to come. Any business looking to plan the future of its products has a vested interest in staying well on top of market trends.
Trends drive waves of consumer purchasing decisions and brands have to acquire a degree of trendiness if they hope to survive and prosper.
A good example of the power of a trendy brand is Apple. Strong worldwide sales over a number of years are due not just to product excellence but crucially, to product design! Kathy Bloomgarden, head of global PR firm Ruder Finn, points to Apple as “an iconic brand that seems to blunt all threats, setting the stage for a surge in desire for what is perpetually trendy – style and sleek design in everyday life”. Apple continues to lead the global brand value rankings and has maintained its reputation as an innovator despite the entry of other competitive products and a string of recent issues.
So how do you build a ‘trendy’ brand?
Emotional connection – Underlying every trend is an emotional opinion that drives a mass-market movement. Understanding the emotion driving the movement is key to identifying what is being asked. Purchasing decisions are personal, driven by how we see ourselves, who we believe we are and which products reinforce that belief. Brands that can show a connection with such emotions become part of the trend because they reflect the perceived identity of like-minded consumers.
Be pertinent – If your brand isn’t relevant to the current mindset then no amount of advertising or marketing is going to take it far enough to make it trendy. Being relevant to current cultural, social, or commercial opinion is a central aspect of bringing a brand to the forefront of consumer awareness. Find out what’s current on the global grapevine and ask your inbound marketing department to harness it!
Embrace social media – 92 percent of consumers trust and are influenced more by their friends, family and colleagues than they are by advertising or engagement (Crowdtap). Trusted social networks can turn a brand into a community experience overnight, through sharing, messaging, liking, posting and word-of-mouth. Twitter is, by definition, a primary 24/7 medium of opinion where users openly voice their very personal feelings on the topic of the day. By following popular conversations and joining in with relevant input, a brand can very quickly become a part of the current trend.
How to ride a trend? – Watch, listen and join in the conversation keeping the following important tips in mind:
Tailor your messages – It is very important to know your audiences and tailor your messaging to the way they experience the trend. Generic messages or off-the-cuff hashtags can repel interest rather than encourage. Your input must resonate with your audience.
Connect your brand or product with the topic – Not every trending topic will have a place for your brand or your product. Save your guns for when it matters. For example, if you make umbrellas, then pitch your product at conversations about an unexpected downpour somewhere or as providing relief from the sun or the rain during a major sporting event, if indeed either of those topics are trending.
Expose your brand’s values – When a topic relevant to the essential ideas and values of your brand is trending, then make sure you engage in the discussion. It’s a great way to build a connection with the brand and associate it, in the minds of those participating, with your set of values.