Whether you’re interested in becoming seen as a popular trendsetter in your social circle or you’re interested in making your business products more popular, it pays to know how to start a trend. Starting trends can be difficult, and you’ll need a bit of luck in your favor, but there are some actionable strategies that can make you more likely to start a trend successfully.
Examples of Trends
Let’s start by looking at some examples of trends, since trends can come in many forms.
· Clothes and accessories. The easiest type of trend to spot is a trend in clothes and accessories – fashion, in other words. You may notice groups of people wearing leather crossbody bags or sporting new types of sunglasses; this is an example of a trend playing out in real time.
· Words and catchphrases. Trends aren’t just tangible items, however. We also see trends emerge, grow, and eventually fall away in more abstract territory, such as words and catchphrases.
· Activities. Certain types of activities can also be trends, such as the pole sitting fad in the 1920s. Gradually, it becomes more popular for people to take part in this activity; pretty soon, you can’t get away from it.
· Abstract behavioral patterns. Trends can be even more abstract than these examples imply. Hand gestures, vocal tone, and other subtle attributes or behavioral patterns can all become trends in their own right.
So how can you create a trend in one of these categories?
Choose Something Unique
First, understand that to start a trend, you do have to start something yourself – which means coming up with something unique. You can’t start a trend of watching basketball games, or wearing shorts in the summer, because these are things that many people do on a regular basis, and they’ve been doing it for decades, if not their entire lives.
If you want to start something new, you have to go out on a limb and be the first one to do it. Sometimes, that means experimenting with a new type of fashion accessory. Other times, that means using a word you made up in as many sentences as possible without being obnoxious.
Be Consistent and Repetitive
Thanks to the mere exposure effect, people generally start liking and appreciating things that they interact with on a regular basis. People may not like your new fashion choice the first time they see it, but if they see it enough, they may grow to like it. This is why it’s important to be consistent and repetitive when you’re trying to start a new trend; you don’t have to make your entire life revolve around this trend, but you do need to build familiarity within your tightest social circles.
Recruit Social Influencers
Most people can’t start trends by themselves. That’s because trends emerge from group activities and through social channels. If you want to give your trend more visibility and make it more likely to catch on with others, you need to recruit the power of social influencers. Start looking for people who are very well socially connected and well respected; you can find mavens in your own social circles, or look for them online on social media platforms. Getting one or more of these influencers to partake in your trend is a great shortcut to getting a larger swath of people involved.
Reinforce the Trend
If you start noticing other people partaking in the trend, it’s a good idea to start reinforcing it. That means doubling down on your own participation in the trend, talking about it actively on social media, and depending on your goals, adding even more publicity, such as submitting a press release or paying for advertisements to showcase the trend. You need to remain patient during this phase, because it can take some time for the trend to truly develop on its own.
The Value of Luck
Some trends are predictable, but most trends are hard – if not impossible – to see coming. That’s because people are extremely finicky, and it’s hard to tell with their next big interest is going to be. There’s no denying that there’s a degree of luck involved when trying to start and shape a trend; try not to get discouraged if your first efforts fall flat, or if you’ve been trying for months to push an idea that simply doesn’t take. If you’re going to be successful in launching a new trend, luck does need to be on your side.
Not everyone has the patience or perseverance necessary to start a trend on their own. In fact, even with all the time and money in the world, there are some trends that simply won’t catch on with the general public.
Try not to get too discouraged; in some cases, convincing even a single person to partake in the trend can be considered a victory.