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On Trend Hopping: Our Approach

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On Trend Hopping: Our Approach

As an agency, Digiengage went through what we can call a baptism of brand redefinition over the past two years, where we have spent the months that ensued up till now, affixing ourselves to the core gears of cultural and social drivers in our world today–becoming not just a proper digital agency but one that is attuned to the tenets of what makes digital transformation possible, so that we can serve our clients and employees better.

To display this in not just words but action, we have decided to give our approach to how we hop on trends for our clients and also use this as a forerunner to future content from us, on topics such as this.

Digital, as a term in and of itself comprises any and everything that is enabled by the internet, with the crux of this being social media. What has become of digital over the years has been influenced or amplified via social media platforms. Marketing communications professionals will agree that digital has become increasingly popular for our activities in product marketing, digital marketing, brand strategy/execution, product launches, consumer data procurement and even growth engineering for startups.


This is a result of culture. Culture, as defined simply in layman terms, is the way of life of a group of people. What this tells us is that the drivers of change in the digital age are cultural elements–this is however broken down even further to very niched and highly intrinsic qualities that we may not be able to get into with this piece alone. However what is interesting is the fact that cultures, as drivers of change, effect this change through trends. These may vary greatly or lightly; for example: startup twitter may have a trend of doing think pieces every monday. While the entire social media industry is being disrupted by the trend of “Love Nwantinti” challenge, as seen on TikTok–which of course eventually crossed over into Instagram and Facebook.


Takeaway here is: cultures breed trends, and trends go viral on social media. The virality here is key: whether it is for a small niched community on twitter or 1.2 billion viewers on earth.


You may now wonder: are all trends culturally relevant? Frankly it’s yes and no. Here’s why: trends can come from anything or anywhere, but of what importance is it to your brand? We have seen time and time again how brands jumped on the wrong trends or attached themselves to the wrong culture and got heat for that decision. This led to a concern as to what are the entry points for a brand to latch onto a trend and take advantage of it for equity, earned media or sales.


There is no guideline written in stone that all brands must follow, sometimes you can turn the tide however here is our approach to trend hopping:

  1. Understudy: how exactly did this thing start, who initiated it, what community is formed around it (if any), what is the significance of this?-–these are the questions we ask when we are about to ply the road of trends, to understand its origins and culture behind it.
  2. Use case test: here we seek the various applications, modifications and alterations of the trend. It can start as a simple video and turn to a meme or a trending topic on twitter. “How is it being used?” Is our key question, which drives our further understanding of how this trend works.
  3. Brand-Trend Analysis: we have taken into consideration the nature and origin of the said trend and how it can be applied, what is next for us is to measure it up with our brand (in this case our clients) and ask “what sides are there to it?” in a bid to see if we go ahead or drop it. Negative and Positive, how can we measure up? If there is a chance we can take the high road but a backlash may be inevitable, is there light at the end of that tunnel? If yes, we prepare a crisis management and PR campaign, just in case. If not, we kill the idea entirely.
  4. Ideation: in actuality, what we do is more of a series of A/B tests where we compare several copy and art directions in order to find what works best for the trend we are about to hop on. Though of course it is a qualitative exercise based on possible biases in the minds of the creative team, it is important that we stay on brand–in every sense.
  5. Execution: after all is said and done, how are you putting it out there for the audience to consume? That of course is up to you and your team to decide how you want to go about that.


To close this off, let us borrow a concept from product managers called the MoSCoW principle which divides objectives into: 

  • Must do
  • Should do
  • Can do
  • Won’t do

The original quadrant has “do” replaced by “have” but it expresses how best as a marketing communications team, we can approach trends. Thus letting us set priorities straight from the very start, in order to effect a good trend-hop that can allow us reap the benefits in shared media, earned media, brand equity and possibly even new business!

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