Sometimes your innovation will work. Sometimes it will fall flat. In order to make sure capitalizing on a trend doesn’t damage your brand, here are four things to be mindful of for when the next trend comes along:
1. Be sensitive to what the event is and how people may react to your campaign.
Our message for the CPMB campaign, for example, wasn’t about making money or capitalizing on people’s sadness, it was about people connecting with people. It didn’t feel insensitive or out-of-touch, it showed empathy for others, which is exactly what people needed at the time.
2. Make sure the events you’re addressing with align with your brand values.
Just because everyone is talking about something, doesn’t mean it’s right for your brand. The current event or trending topic still needs to align with your brand values. For example, creating a TikTok video may work for a playful and fun brand to showcase behind-the-scenes work, but it would feel entirely wrong for a conservative brand to do the same.
3. Stick to a single project or campaign rather than attaching your entire brand to the issue at hand.
Current events are constantly evolving, so rather than embedding something into the fabric of your brand, dabble in small doses. Otherwise, as the conversation changes, your brand may find it difficult to adjust course.
4. Do a little research.
While you don’t need a lot of data to begin experimenting, you will need some to ensure you don’t come across looking silly. Look for a trusted industry resource for guidance, or look at how other brands are addressing the issue or trending topic organically.
Once you’ve developed the idea and made a plan, don’t overthink it or stall. If you think you’re onto something, launch as soon as possible. Because news cycles revolve so quickly, topics can disappear as quickly as they appear, sentiments can change and moods can shift—if you come out too late, rather than hitting the right note, your campaign could look dated and foolish, or worse, insincere.
Update: We know CPMB’s video, “Sharing Hope in Self-Isolation,” struck a chord because it earned three Silver Telly Awards for Social Video in the Public Service & Activism, Social Impact and Diversity & Inclusion categories. The story was also picked up by CBC Manitoba. Read the coverage: Physical distancing requirements raise new and old concerns for Manitobans with disabilities and Canadians with disabilities left with few alternatives amid COVID-19 shutdowns.