When you work in marketing, part of your job is to keep an eye on trends. And these trends are everywhere, not limited to your own industry or even marketing. At which point do you decide that a trend is worth investing in? I don’t have a clear answer on this but I can tell you what sparked this post.

This is not a think piece on the Gen Z vs Millennial trend argument (is there even an argument?). Plenty of pieces already go in on this. What I was thinking about was if you were wanting to advertise to Gen Z, you’d not only have to speak their language but also show it – so in this case, your models would switch to middle hair parts and wide-legged jeans.

If I were to illustrate the relevance of trends to a brand, I would draw concentric circles with the innermost ones being memes/current pop culture and industry (remember reclaimed wood?). Then, I’d add influences like social media (feature-specific trends) and visual marketing/art (photography and typography). Closing it out would be global and generational trends.

Some trends blow by really quickly so your decision is usually easy. You ask yourself, “is this in line with my brand?” and then do it. For example, the meme of Bernie with his mittens sitting in various places. Other trends take more investment in time and money. Is TikTok really a good choice for your brand? You won’t know unless you get into the app and play around.

I know that slow and steady can be a good way to keep a business going. However, a refusal to adjust to trends, especially when all signs point to the trend sticking around for a bit, isn’t the best marketing move, either.

Something to ponder: are you/your brand one to lead and be a trendsetter or are you more wanting to sit back and let others fail first so you can learn from their mistakes?