The Lifecycle Of A Trend

As part of its ongoing Youth Culture Insights Series, Fuse Marketing is taking a look at how a trend is discovered, marketed, popularized, how it eventually reaches its demise. The series, which aims to educate those who wish to speak more effectively to teens and young adults, includes information on media behavior, social media, design, web strategy, the future concerns of millennials, and other relevant topics for marketers trying to reach this demographic. Here’s the latest update, following the path of the trend’s lifecycle:

THE INSPIRATION – Be it a breakthrough in technology or a shift in our collective consciousness, a trend is born out of circumstance.

THE DISCOVERY – Early adoptors begin toying with and ultimately embracing an idea, product, or aesthetic. As members of the trend elite, early adopters communicate in niche communities online, turning up the conversation around a new concept or style faster than before.

THE BRINK – Influencers pick up on the burgeoning trend and extol its "newness." Influencers typically possess a higher level of influence among peers, thus spurring the growth of interest in the trend. Sites like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest allow for fans to hang on an influencer's every word, making it easier than ever for a trend to pick up steam across the digital landscape.

THE FEVER – The trend has caught fire and saturates the mainstream. Early adoptors reject what is considered conventional and start to retreat, but for the majority of consumers, the trend is hot, hot, hot. Be it a trending hashtag on Twitter or an internet sensation, the trend is in the hands of the consumer, and consumers are comfortable sharing their new obsession with others online.

THE FADE – The moment a trend has reached its most frenzied pitch, it inevitably begins to lose steam. Without the support of trendsetters the trend has lost its novelty and is now considered passé. The disappearance of trend mentions on influencer blogs or other social media dampens a trend's fire in no time.

Implications for Brands

Marketers should determine if a trend makes sense for their brand and be aware that that not all trends will. However, if a marketer decides to move forward, they should consider the following:

Tune in to early adopters and be prepared to act on trends while they are still in their infancy. This means monitoring niche online communities and the social media accounts of fringe influencers and trendsetters.

Next, find a way to incorporate social media into a brand's campaign in order to join consumers in conversations surrounding a trend.

Finally, understand that a trend will complete its lifecycle eventually. Before the social media conversation cools, a brand should bow out gracefully.