Should Businesses and Marketers Surf Current Trends?

Found is launching a new Guest Blog series to serve as a sounding board in the community, brainstorming wall, and chance for different people around to share their perspectives. More to come on the details of what to expect on Tuesday, but our first blog post comes from Linda Battson of Vision Hitch, a company here in Austin that works with entrepreneurs to provide support in transforming their vision to reality.

I am excited to introduce the thoughts of my dear friend Linda.

-Matt

[divider]

In my conversations with entrepreneurs, professionals, and wide-eyed hopefuls, I often hear a similar desire in their questions:

How do I bring my business marketing up to speed with the current trends?

This concept of trend surfing has been ringing in my mind like an off-key violin. Here’s the deal. Is there a reason why any company or marketing firms should hope to fit IN with the crowd?

Before some may think, “Oh, Linda is just a rebel!” I want to clarify some things. I definitely believe in maintaining a strong grasp of current marketing trends, understanding what is hot vs. not, and having clarity when it comes to the quick changing nature of our field. We have to put in the work—not only for clients, but also for ourselves.

If you think about marketing, social media, and advertising, the things that hit us straight between the eyes are usually that powerful because they are NEW. They have elements of going against the grain, feeling fresh and unusual, or being incredibly authentic.

LindaBattsonOne example of this is my all-time favorite Facebook business page, Cigna GO YOU. We’ve all heard of Cigna, and know it as a major player in the health insurance world. If you had to create a social campaign for them, you might start thinking of themes like health tips, how to save money, how to prevent emergencies, etc. as good content. Those would be fine if you were going to stay on trend. However, Cigna and their marketing team had extraordinary vision to create a completely people-focused message. It’s practically a singular message: “We want to inspire you to be your true self, in all your fantastically, amazingly, remarkably human glory. After all, what’s healthier than that?” Their graphics are vibrant, edgy, and as compelling as the messages printed on them. And this “Insurance” page has 557,000 followers!

I think of Mad Men. I think of inventors, innovators, and the fearless. I think of my entrepreneurial dad.

Staying on trend with marketing, whether online or traditional, often gives feelings of shame to business owners. It’s a sense of always running behind something that is elusive and grand. But I want to challenge this shame. I want to sit down with people, unscrew our heads from our bodies, shake them like maracas, and come up with something fresh.

Mostly, I want people to begin questioning the way things are being done. Do you have to give an elevator pitch? Why not just ask them if they like to fish or do yoga? Give them your card. They will either resonate with you as a human or not. And if not, there is no way you’re going to do business. If so, they may actually remember you because you didn’t try to sell them in less than 60 seconds.

This is not just about being different. It’s about being true to your message rather than cultural trends that actually minimize your impact on the people you’re trying to reach. In some way, this is really a message about being courageous. I know you have it in you—go on and express it!

Linda Battson
www.visionhitch.com

 

Posted on January 17, 2014 in Guest Blog

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