Trends are fun, usually viral, and they are easily shareable. We’ve all participated in a trend, whether it was giving the ‘About Damn Time’ choreography a try or using “It’s Corn!” song. (If you weren't singing it in your head already, now you are.)
While trends are fun, and we should definitely keep an eye on them, the underlying theme or common thread is more important to track.
What’s the difference between a theme and a trend?
Trends have a life span of 2 weeks or less, and to utilize a trend effectively, our Founder & CEO James Nord gives a window of 4-8 days (and it feels like on TikTok, even shorter).
Themes are more evergreen. The life span of a cultural shift, zeitgeist, or key moment is way longer and something you can build a campaign upon.
Here’s an example:
Trends: ‘We need an American Girl that…’, Little Miss, Barbie core, determining your age based on your music knowledge
Theme: Nostalgia marketing
MarketingBrew polled people asking if they want to see more nostalgia marketing, a theme incredibly prevalent this year. 62% said keep it coming, while 38% said they’re over it. But if you asked if they wanted to see more and more renditions of Little Miss…
Why you shouldn't rely on trends to grow your audience
It performs well on social, but is it yours? Trends don’t feel as satisfying because it’s not content that feels proprietary or unique to us. Essentially, your followers can get this meme content anywhere. What do you have to offer your community that is unique only to you?
Even with the dopamine hit of great engagement, this feeling of chasing trends on a hamster wheel will never feel like a sustainable way to grow a loyal following. One of our Negronis with Nord viewers commented on our video about trending audio:
"One issue I have with the shift to video is that all of my videos performing the best are the ones that follow trending audio… and I don’t enjoy making those. I throw them in for the sake of strategy, and they work. But I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.” - Dezi Does It
What if your brand partner insists on hopping on a trend?
Here are three ways you can turn your content from trend-hopping to on-theme.
- Help brands see the common thread. If you can show off that you understand why a trend is blowing up and help them zoom out to see the bigger picture, you’re cementing yourself as a thoughtful brand partner.
- Trends don’t fit well into a campaign timeline. A passing fad meme will be over and done with by the time a campaign goes from start to finish. No one wants to be late to the party.
- If the brand wants a trending sound but don’t have the copyright, use in-camera sounds that still reflect the same theme or idea, and make sure to weave in the brand message. Read more other sounds to utilize in your videos here.