WHAT HAPPENS ONCE EVERYONE HAS A PET ROCK?
Every day, a countless number of new ideas are shared with the world via the Internet. Considering the ease with which ideas spread online, the rate at which these ideas transform into viral trends has also significantly increased. And consequently, the amount of time it takes for a passing fad to pass or a cultural phenomenon to assert itself as a mainstay has decreased. But how can we tell the difference?
These days, social fads get buried by mounds of new material almost as soon as they are discovered. But what takes a trend to the next level?
The benchmark of true cultural evolutions can be summed up in one word: sustainability. Is the concept versatile enough to adapt in an ever-changing climate? If the answer is no and it cannot easily be appropriated to move forward, it will likely drop off.
Sustainability is all about foresight. Forecasting where the cultural climate is moving, can help us create lasting ideas. According to TrendHunter.com, ‚ÄúBreakthrough ideas and strategic advantage hinge on the ability to anticipate trends and identify the next big thing. By tracking the evolution of cool, Trend Hunters generate ideas, stimulate creativity, and ultimately unlock cool.‚Äù
It is with this that staying power is achieved.
Consider a couple standout innovations of our time and why they are sure to last:
Rooted in traditional media marketing (localized publications, airings, and out of home ads), geo-targeting is a continuing success because of the ways in which it works with emerging technologies to target us in both our physical and cyber spaces.
For instance, with emerging social media platforms like Foursquare, Facebook Places, and Google Latitude, brands can offer specialized promotions to users based not only on their current cities but on the exact establishments where they have checked-in within their cities (e.g. discount codes for nearby restaurants or other local businesses).
Even online advertisements, such as those found on Facebook, make it easy to target consumers¬†based on their geographic locations.
With the innovation of smart phones and mobile marketing, the ability to cross-reference a person‚Äôs location at any given moment with which mobile apps or websites they have visited opens up a whole new world for geo-behavioral-targeting.
Creating messaging for a specific geographic demographic is an efficient way to target consumers with messaging that will effectively resonate ‚Äì a timeless marketing practice is only finding greater ways to target us with the information we want, when and where we want it.
Social Media and the Reign of Facebook
While many of its predecessors have fizzled out, Facebook‚Äôs popularity has endured mainly because of the versatility of its platform. While its frequent updates are often the source of great criticism by users, Facebook has remained flexible enough for users and businesses alike to customize and create truly unique content, while also evolving in response to embrace competing trends.
For instance, with the launch of Foursquare, Facebook developed its own check-in system.
In a nod to MySpace, Facebook reformatted its music pages to incorporate music streaming tools, while still maintaining the interactive capabilities that MySpace never adopted: invitations to gigs, notifications for page updates, etc.
It is often thought that to be a success, a company must be a trailblazer, among the first to tackle a new market; however, the Wall Street Journal challenges this misconception: ‚ÄúSince market forerunners lack predecessors to look to for guidance, the unprecedented decisions they make often end up fatal. [‚Ä¶] While social networking innovators the Well, Friendster and MySpace still exist today, none match the popularity or financial prowess of their successor, Facebook.‚Äù
Set in their static platforms, with minimal room for customization and no one else‚Äôs mistakes to learn from, unwilling or unable to accommodate new developments, the early innovators of social media have drowned in uncharted waters.
So, what¬†does happen once everyone has a pet rock? The pet rock dies.
If a fad is one-dimensional with no room for re-appropriation, it‚Äôs only a matter of time before it fades into the shadows of popular culture and lets a true mainstay bask in the spotlight.