Fads: When to jump on a bandwagon
No one wants to be a fad in the business world. In fact, the word “fad” comes across, at times, as a dirty word when you’re hoping for longevity in your business. We all know that you certainly haven’t worked this hard and come this far to be but a flash-in-the-pan; however, contrary to popular belief, fads are not an inherent evil in the PR world. Of course, we don’t want you to be a fad, but we do want you to be able to utilize fads.
Paying attention to fads can have huge benefits for your business. They are great meters for finding out where popular opinion rests and where the majority of people’s attentions are set – at least for the time. While you won’t find jumping onto any old bandwagon to always be a positive experience for your company, picking and choosing which fads line up with who you already are can be a really smart PR move.
Noticing what the public is focused on might help you capitalize on a great opportunity to promote who you are, what you do, and which direction your company is headed in.
Those who do it well
Take, for example, the company, Modcloth. As outlined in this Forbes article, the e-retailer has made history as the first retailer to sign the “Heroes Pledge for Advertisers”, promising to not “change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features” of models, post-production. Modcloth, since their start in 2002, avidly in favor of women in all shapes and sizes. Here, they were able to see a growing trend in popular culture that they could run alongside of: the rise in public outcry against unrealistic Photoshopped advertisements and for a more realistic and inclusive standard to be set.
Other companies have been doing similar things recently, as well. Think of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign in light of similar media issues or American Eagle keeping its models untouched by photo editing in their young women’s lingerie line’s Aerie ad campaign.
Be aware and open
While there are always those in the public and in the media who will find fault in companies jumping on value driven fads, keeping your company’s true values at the center, rather than shifting to reflect the fad, will help back you up. Keep your eyes and ears open for a popular public move, viral video craze, petition, etc, for the right time to join in the public arena.
When considering how to best use a current fad to promote your company, be aware and be open. There is the temptation to join in simply because people will see it, but take a minute to stop and think about whether this will ultimately be a positive or negative public appearance. Consider where this move will take you as a business. There could be a great opportunity to speak up and show people what you are already doing and it could also be a great opportunity to show people that you are making necessary and positive changes in how you operate.