As marketers, creatives, and technologists, we think about trends and talk through them with our clients on a daily basis. From identity packages and website design to digital marketing strategies and SEO, there will always be a revolving ‘top trends’ list for everything. For some, this sounds like a burdensome, never ending cycle of reinvention. We tend to agree. At Uprise Partners, we’re working to shift the conversation from following trends to staying ahead of them. It helps our clients differentiate themselves and gets them better return on their investment in marketing.
Trends in the marketing and advertising space occur because consumer habits are constantly evolving—and they always will. Their consumption patterns have a direct impact on the ways we as marketers and creatives consider how the customer will interact and engage with a brand or product. It’s important to recognize and acknowledge today’s trends, but more important to think about what’s next. Five years ago, I bought a house more monochromatically grey than I thought architecturally possible. Long story short, I painted the open concept downstairs with yellow, blue, and wait for it— Living Coral. At the time, it was a bold choice but today it would be considered the epitome of on trend.
While I cringe a bit at the thought of my kitchen being trendy, I’m reminded that my choice was at one time ‘ahead of the curve’ and a regular conversation starter for first-time visitors. Does that mean that it’s time to start exploring new paint options? Probably not. But kitchens colors are not nearly as important as rebranding and new marketing initiatives. When business owners notice competitors start feeling familiar and sales take a dip, it’s absolutely time to reevaluate their position in the marketplace.
We put together a few things to consider before hopping on a trend bandwagon. We hope it encourages you to adopt branding and marketing efforts that keep you and your business ahead of the curve.
- Know Thyself:
Before you can commit to staying ahead of the curve, you must have a solid foundation to build from. As a partner to our clients, we spend a significant amount of time creating strategies that inform all branding and marketing efforts. This means we dive into their origin story, their inspiration, and their aspirations for the future. It’s exciting and cathartic—clarity is incredibly satisfying. Here are some of the questions we ask our clients when getting started:
- What are your core values?
- What do you promise your clients or customers?
- What supports your promise?
While these principles could very well be constant throughout the lifetime of your business, it’s important to identify and honor them—truth is timeless and will always supercede all trends.
- Get Uncomfortable
When it comes to staying ahead of the curve, a safe choice isn’t necessarily the best choice. Let us remind you: unfamiliar can be uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Creative directors, designers, and marketers are perpetually looking for ways to push boundaries and delight consumers in authentic meaningful ways. With the goal being engagement, there is always an emphasis on being different and innovative. Remember Refinery29’s 29Rooms? Or how about Zappo’s Pay With A Cupcake? Both experiential marketing campaigns were different—maybe even a little weird—but both were received positively. We like seeing brands and businesses like MailChimp take calculated risks to stay ahead of the curve. They are the ones making life more interesting.
- Partner Up:
At Uprise, we embrace all sorts of partnerships. While we have the capabilities to come in and act as a team, we’re also big proponents of supporting a team that’s already in place. When you start bringing in outside expertise, don’t feel locked into handing everything over. Getting new energy in the room leads to thought diversity and keeps you and your team ahead of the curve. Partnerships are a beautiful thing when creative processes and approaches can be shared. Our goal as marketers is to build the sharpest most agile toolkit to work with, which is why we love coming in as consultants and helping out a team that’s already working together and looking for some new ideas.
Rather than looking at emerging trends and deciding what bandwagon to jump on next, consider abstaining from what’s now and start thinking about what’s next. Remember: trendy is boring—trendy will not help new businesses or products be innovative. As business growth partners, we believe in collective curiosity and want our clients to push boundaries and do great things. To do that, staying ahead of the curve is a must.