Do you have to be trendy to keep up with trends?

Nathaniel | September 10th, 2012

Why would anyone want to be trendy? There is a high risk that you will look ridiculous as you adorn the latest in fashionable headgear and clothes designed for a body that isn’t yours. But being trendy is not about being safe it is about having fun, diving in headfirst and risking dignity for the chance of being part of a tribe who are ahead of the curve.

Anyone with an internet connection can be a trend spotter. You don’t even need to know how to spot a trend as there are many websites, such as Trendwatchers, and blogs, like Think with Google, that do the work for you.

But is knowing the name of a trend very useful? Knowing the difference between Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 will make you look like you are on trend and you might even be accused of being trendy by your colleagues, but you have to go beyond the theoretical. Learning about trends such as geomarketing, augmented reality, close proximity marketing or gamification is an important first step but the next step has to be to have a go – to dive in. Full immersion. Until you put yourself in the shoes of a trend follower you won’t be able to harness its full potential. It’s an obvious thing to say but if you don’t do this you won’t know what it means to those people who are part of the trend. Because you won’t be part of the tribe. As a professional communicator you won’t know how to use the tools properly and you’ll fail to relate to the people you are trying to reach. And – dare I say it – you will look even more ridiculous than a ‘trendy’!

Am I prodding you to reach inside yourself and pull out your inner trendy? Well, yes, maybe if you want the benefits it offers your organisation/career. Taking advantage of the latest digital trends has some very tangible benefits.

They can give you access to new audiences on a large scale, they offer a new way of doing things so they should lead to innovation. Many are aimed at the mass market so they are free. By and large being trendy is the preserve of the youthful (of mind at least) so if a charity can pull it off, by being a bit trendy, having fun and taking risks, they have a very real chance of speaking the language of the elusive next generation of supporters.

There is a get out of jail free – trends often take a long time to take root in the public consciousness. So, by making sure you spot them early you will always have quite a bit of time to build up the confidence for your grand entrance.