Want to swap your rearview mirror for a crystal ball? Dive into our diagnostic guide and transform yourself from a trend chaser to a trend maestro, orchestrating a symphony of emerging trends that compose your own brand harmony—a tune so captivating, your audience can’t help but dance or sing along.

Kept Up vs. Caught Up

From keeping up the the Jones to keeping up with the Kardashians, it’s fun to jump on the trend bandwagon… that is, until everyones doing the exact same thing.

These collective trends or viral sensations are happening when we see millions of people using the same audio or doing the same dance routine or skit. What’s trending is obvious because everyone is already doing it. These trends move from novelty to normalcy to outdated faster than you can say “Carol Baskin.”

That once new and original trend dies through mass adoption. No one likes a geriatric, generic trend that’s been done to death and so it quickly get replaced by the next flash-in-the-pan trend.

But by then it’s too late for those trends to have any major impact in your brand strategy.

By the time a trend becomes mainstream, it’s reached saturated point and is diluted into oblivion fast.

By the time it’s trending… it’s ending.

So if your strategy is to adopt what’s trending, at best, your social media manager gets one new post idea to incorporate. Maybe you get a few cheap views from the algorithm that rewards more of the same. But you rarely form a lasting connection with your target audience. Keeping up with trends is a continuous chase to catch up, latch on and copy what everyone else is doing.

Here’s the secret to getting trends to work for you, instead of you working for them.

Don’t Chase When You Can Set The Pace.

Don’t look at what the masses are already doing.

You want the emerging trends on the rise, not the trends about to die. Remember that If it’s already a trend, it’s the end so it’s time to move on to the next.

You need to spot the patterns that reveal the trend before it becomes a mainstream trend so that you’ve got a head start in leverage the trend.

Here’s how:

Monitor Trendsetters Not Trends.

Trendsetters, (often influencers or industry leaders) are the originators, creators and earliest adopters of what eventually becomes mainstream.

Pay close attention to trendsetters so that you can adapt new ideas while they are still fresh and unique. This proactive approach not only positions you as an innovator in your field but also gives you with the opportunity to shape the trend to fit your brand’s identity. Plus, being early to adopt a trend often means fewer competitors and a greater share of the spotlight, letting you to capture more consumer attention and growing your audience through attraction. You’re giving your people who they want before they even knew they wanted it…

Trend catching gives you valuable lead time to integrate rising trends thoughtfully into multiple aspects of your business—from product design, marketing strategies, or customer experience—before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.

Is it too late now to say “Trendy?”

Yes. Yes it is.

As a creative strategist and brand builder, you need to identify trends from the influencer who sets them, not the millions of copycat creators who just play into them for views.

Here’s how:

Decoding the Obvious

Trends start out as patterns. It’s easy to miss early trends because they’re so deeply embedded and layered in our scrolling experience. We’re scrolling through thousands of different accounts so it becomes impossible to track what pattern is emerging within a specific account.

We get used to the kinds of posts we see and start to think of them as ‘normal,’ missing out on the fact that a certain color, theme, or type of content is actually a rising trend.

This phenomenon can happen for a variety of reasons: algorithmic blindness, content saturation, or simply a human tendency to become accustomed to repetition. To counteract this, it’s essential to not just consume content passively but to actively analyze it.

Look for patterns in popular posts, make note of recurring themes or colors in successful accounts, and consider using analytics tools that can provide more concrete data – like Creatrix Visual Audits that show’s you the most popular posts on one page.

Even if you’re not using a super tool like Creatrix, being proactive in your consumption, helps you to be better equipped at spotting what’s obvious but often overlooked and this gives you a competitive edge.

Then instead of trying to surf the wave of a “MainstreamTrend” that everyone’s already on, you’re following the signs to watch what emerges next. You know what to look for and so you get it before anyone else does.

Connect The Dots

Just ask your neuro-spicy friend about what’s obvious to them. They’re probably noticing things that aren’t as obvious to you. That’s cause they’re linking patterns and connecting different dots or data points together all the time. It’s so innate to them, that it just seems as obvious as the sky being blue. Creatrix is a complex pattern identifier. She’s neuro-spicy like that.

More Than Mimicry

Once you’ve identified emerging trends, don’t just copy them. You’re just dilluting them when you do that and making them easier to copy.

Trends shouldn’t be viewed as templates; rather, they’re insights to interpret and adapt for your unique business needs.

Copying a trend outright not only risks minimizing your brand’s distinctiveness but also misses the broader strategic opportunity that recognizing a trend offers.

For example, if hot pink is the trending color on Instagram, simply splashing it all over your feed isn’t the goal. Instead, you should think about how this popular color can be incorporated meaningfully into various facets of your business.

  • Could it inspire a limited-edition line of products?
  • Can it play a role in a new visual marketing campaign?
  • Is it worth including in your retail or online space as an accent color that draws the eye?
  • Or should you include a new color to your brand strategy?

Beyond just visuals, a trend can:

  • Influence product design
  • Inform content strategies
  • And even help reimagine customer experiences both online and offline.

The objective is to leverage the trend to add value to your brand in a way that aligns with your overarching business strategy, not just to mimic what’s popular.

Read Predictive Insights: The Crystal Ball for Business Strategy and Trend Alchemy: How to Use Trends for Success.

By identifying and adapting trends in this strategic manner, you don’t just stay current; you stay relevant, adding layers of richness and engagement to your brand that a simple copy-paste approach could never achieve.

Here’s what happened when our partner agency, Malva Media, identified trends for one of the biggest consumer brands in the world: Coca Cola, and one of the most iconic person brands in the word: Kim Kardashian. They were able to accurately predict Coca Cola’s next big move and Kim’s new product launch for Skims.

Remember: Trends are only as good as how far they take you.

They’re meant to leverage your brand toward greater engagement, audience growth and sales. If they’re not doing that, you’re caught up in a mainstream trend and have fallen behind in a loosing race.

If you have decided to ride your trend strategy all the way to the bank, then read this next:

5 Critical Elements Your Trend Strategy Might Be Missing.

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