When it comes to advertising, everyone wants their promotional efforts to go viral. To do this, though, you can’t simply follow what has worked for others in the past: you need to lead the charge and be a trendsetter with your advertising. How does one do that, exactly? Actually, it’s not as hard as you might think. This post explores some specific steps for you to follow so that you can take the leap from following trends to starting them yourself. See for yourself how these tips can impact not only your advertising but your company’s overall success!

Know who you are as a company.

Before your advertising efforts can be effective, much less trendsetting, you need to have a clear identity as a company. Sound intimidating? Don’t worry, it’s really quite simple, taking the time to think about this will help immensely in terms of establishing your branding. Your company’s identity should be simple to define. Think of it this way: if you were asked to describe your company in a sentence or two, what would you say? For instance, if you have a greeting card business, you might say “I’m a greeting card publisher who produces witty greeting cards featuring whimsical art, which are all printed in the USA”. Naturally there is more to your company than that, but this is your company’s core identity. This is likely how people will find you and what they will look to you for. Being very clear on your identity in and of itself won’t make you a trendsetter, but it’s a vital part of the process and cannot be overlooked. Having a clearly defined company identity will make becoming a trendsetter far easier!

Know your goals.

It’s marketing and advertising 101: know your goals before investing in promotional materials. Your advertising efforts may vary quite widely depending on your goals. For example, a company looking to set up national franchises might invest in very different advertising than a company which is looking to expand its local mailing list. In the first case, print advertisements, a billboard, or a building wrap might be great choices, but those might be overkill for the second company which is operating on a far more local scale. In the case of the smaller company, taking part in local festivals and investing in vehicle advertising options might have a far greater impact. Once again, as with the previous tip, knowing your goals in and of itself won’t make you a trendsetter, but it’s a vital part of the process necessary so that you can become one.

Have a vision.

What do all trends have in common? Someone had a vision or a new spin on something that nobody has ever had before. Therefore, if you want to set trends with your advertising efforts, you need to have a vision. What might be a new way of spreading your message in a way that clearly broadcasts your company’s identity and will help further your goals? Really put on your problem-solving hat here. The vision needs to be yours alone! Of course, if you need help coming up with one, the next few tips may help.

Look at what works for others...

Surely you've noticed successful advertising trends that others have started. While you don’t necessarily want to copy them (that makes you more of a trend follower than setter), you can learn from them. What did they do that was so successful? What was the train of thought behind their successful advertising? How did they actually put it into action?

...and then do it better.

This tip goes hand in hand with the last one. Once you’ve evaluated advertising efforts that have become trendy and worked for others, strive to recreate the success in your own way, but even better. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from others; the key is to use that inspiration to generate your own unique ideas.

Do something that has never been done before.

Let’s step outside of advertising and into the food world for a moment. Have you ever heard of the cronut? It’s basically a donut, made with croissant dough. It’s simply genius, right? Apparently customers thought so, because when a New York bakery debuted the item, it had lines outside the door and even had to impose a limit on how many could be purchased at one time. Its success was partly due to the fact that the item was delicious, but to a large degree, it was also because it offered consumers something they had never seen before. Basically, the creator of the cronut decided that rather than following trends, he would do something that hadn’t been done before, and in essence created a trend. That example is not meant to make you hungry (though that may be a side effect). The point is that sometimes, doing something different can be easier than you think; perhaps as easy as combining two unexpected things. Maybe for you, that means using a combination of a human directional sign and a branded game such as our creative Eagle Ball game (pictured above). Who knows what the next trend might be? Considering solutions and combinations which haven’t been done before can make you a trendsetter and an innovative advertiser.

Engage and delight.

A sure-fire recipe to start a trend with your advertising efforts? Engage and delight. There are plenty of promotional items and advertising options that offer a level of engagement, from branded furniture and games to giveaways. However, to truly make yourself stand out and in people’s minds, you have to add an element of delight to make it memorable. For instance, starting out with branded furniture is a great starting point in your retail area. But if you added a tablet display so that customers could play an interactive game or interact with your brand in a creative way, it will add an element of novelty and fun that will make your business completely memorable in their minds.

Focus on authenticity, not trends.

Believe it or not, being authentic can be one of the most powerful ways to be a trendsetter in business. Trends come and go, but do you want to be a flash in the pan? Ultimately, probably not. So believe it or not, detaching yourself from the outcome and making your goal less about trend and more about being true to your company’s roots in everything you do will serve you as an asset. Enthusiasm is contagious; by being true to your values and super enthusiastic about your company, you’re bound to gain attention that, combined with your clever advertising efforts, could go viral. Conclusion: Trends can be mysterious things. In one way, there’s no “manufacturing” them--it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. However, by getting in the right mindset and by employing creativity and authenticity in your advertising efforts, you’re far more likely to be considered a trendsetter and brand strategist! What advertising efforts are most effective for your company?