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'Keep up with trends or become a fuddy-duddy brand', says VP of marketing at Etika Group

'Keep up with trends or become a fuddy-duddy brand', says VP of marketing at Etika Group

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In this day and age, marketers are faced with many challenges with multiple platforms and fleeting consumers making relevant content all the more critical. 

In fact, Amy Gan, vice president, marketing at Etika Group argues that the world is almost like a "noisy town square" with competing platforms and technologies.

"The rise of Tik Tok shows how consumers can still find time for new platforms even though we are already spending hours a day on average on social media," said Gan. 

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She added that consumers are moving seamlessly across all these platforms and that brands need to find a way to blend in and become part of the conversations. 

"Consumers are also tuning out ads and almost ad-blocking them in a way," she said. 

To stay ahead of the curve, marketers must be culturally savvy, keep their fingers on the pulse, dive deep into social conversations, listen carefully, ideate and evolve their communications on the fly, said Gan, adding:

It’s critical to keep up with trends, to avoid being a fuddy-duddy brand.

After all, Gen Zers have different tastes and interests from Gen Y, who in turn are different from Gen X.

"The challenge from brands is to retain their core elements, and yet appeal to all these generations," said Gan. 

The art of trendjacking

This is where trendjacking can come into play. Trendjacking is probably one of the fastest ways for a brand to jump into conversations and trends as they are happening, positioning themselves as funny, current, relevant and happening.

However, what many brands may not realise is that trendjacking is an art and a careful balancing act. One wrong move and it can look bad or be reduced to tokenism. 

For a start, a brand needs to understand that there are multiple trends happening simultaneously and that it needs to pick and choose carefully, act fast, and move on to the next quickly.

"This way they avoid being seen as sporadic or piecemeal," said Gan. She added that to achieve this, social media efforts must be strategically organised.

A social calendar for example will help but it needs to combine both pre-arranged and pre-decided content that carries the brand’s core message.

"But, the calendar also needs to be flexible to allow for trendjacking to fit in," explained Gan. 

How to hijack a trend successfully

To hijack a trend successfully, a brand needs to be quick. "Online memes and trends last about one to two weeks at most, sometimes, that's even shorter. It's like fadjacking instead of trendjacking actually," said Gan. 

Hence, brands, need to spot them quickly and jump on board within two to three days at the most. 

Brands must not just catch trends but must anticipate them and even create them.

Brands also need to make sure that in jumping on a trend, they stay true to their own tone of voice and that they are no diluting their brand in anyway.

Trendjacking pitfalls to avoid

While trendjacking can go very right, it can also go very wrong when done badly. According to Gan, some pitfalls include being culturally insensitive or alienating some races or social groups. 

Another mistake is when brands are too late. "Once a trend has peaked, a brand shouldn’t try. The brand risks being seen as a late adopter, and in that case, trendjacking can hurt the brand instead of enhancing its appeal," explained Gan. 

Coincidently, brands also can fall into trouble if they focus too much on trends. Brands need to have their own voice and characteristics. That is paramount and must be strongly communicated, said Gan, adding:

Trendjacking should be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

Join us on 12 June 2024 for an exciting experience as Content360 makes its debut in Malaysia! Brace yourself to join the crème de la crème of the content marketing industry hailing from across the region. Immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere, and uncover the latest trends with thought leaders and solution providers from the realm of content.

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