Here's Why You Shouldn’t Always Follow The Latest Viral Ideas

Insights / Branding


We know, we know. There’s this “new thing” that everyone and their mothers seem to be talking about. But before you decide to take your brand and hop onto this latest buzz item / topic, there is a whole checklist of questions that you and your team should be asking yourselves. So, we’ve got you covered with this article!

Before scrambling to have blueprints printed for your grand, trendy masterplan, here are some important facts that you may want to consider before you hop onto this bandwagon (just so you don’t find yourself  having to kick the plans to the curb a few months down the road). 

In order to understand the reason for this necessary thought process, let’s break down the 2 categories in which popular social phenomena may be sorted into - trends and fads.


A trend, according to Cambridge Dictionary, is a new general development in a situation, behavior pattern, fashionwear, and so on. They are often birthed through fresh ideas and changes in society, and mutate and morph to suit the times. Hence, trends remain relevant for decades, while their main essence or core is maintained.

An example of a brand that utilizes trends to stay relevant would be TikTok and its continued takeover and domination of the social media scene. Topping the charts in app stores, TikTok achieved in a short period of time what took other social media platforms years to accomplish. It is truly a force to be reckoned with, with one billion monthly active users logging on in an average of one hour. It evolves with its audience and has become home to a multitude of various creators and genres of content. Due to its fast-paced nature, it has adapted and kept up with the ever-changing social and entertainment demands of its users. 

Another example would be podcasts. The demand for podcasts grew over the past few years during the pandemic when more people began working from home, and it only continues to rise as the days pass. As people’s entertainment needs shift according to the changes in their lifestyle, there is a huge opportunity in the podcast scene. 

In 2019, the podcast market expanded from 274 million listeners to 383 million subscribers in 2021. An addition of another 40 million to the pool of audience is expected this year as well. Many brands have started to recognize this potential and have ventured into this newer form of media to stake their brand’s claim in consumers’ minds. 

Boba is also a great example of a trend that is unlikely to die out soon. In Asian countries in particular, the boba craze has reached an all time high - to the extent where there might be popular competitor boba chains opening up right next to each other to meet the unquenchable demand from consumers!


In comparison, a fad (also according to Cambridge Dictionary) is a style, activity, or interest that garners massive popularity in and for a short period of time. They’re like fireworks - loud and colorful - holding one’s gaze, but only for a moment. You may or may not remember them, but more than likely, they don’t leave lasting impact or impressions because they probably don’t add value to one’s life. 

Source: ABC News

Have you ever considered adopting a pet rock? Yes, you read that right. In the 1970s, many people were rushing to provide a forever home for their very own pet rock, created by Gary Ross Dahl. In fact, this unorthodox creation of his became so popular that it launched him into millionaire status. 

But chances are, you, who are reading this in 2023, probably haven’t even heard of something as absurd as a pet rock before, confirming the fleeting spotlight that fads enjoy before losing its charm soon after. Another example is the fidget spinner, which rose to short-term fame in early 2017 and soon lost its prominence by June of that same year.

Risks of Blindly Following Virality

With that said, here are some factors that you may want to consider when attempting to make decisions in whether or not to hop on the bandwagon of a particular trend!

1. What perception will it give of my brand?

Ask yourself: What impression will my brand give off if I adopt this trend? Will this perception be aligned with what I want my brand to represent?

Think about it this way. If your brand’s overall image is elegance, grace and sophistication, then jumping on a current trend that has a contradictory look and feel might serve to damage your brand’s image and flush your hard-built brand persona down the drain. 

2. Does it align with my brand values?

Ask yourself: Will the impression of hopping on this trend be a positive one? Will it be able to boost my brand’s perception and values, or will it be something harmful towards its reputation?

For instance, if your brand values and preaches sustainability, is the trend that you intend to participate in also associated with sustainable practices and values? Any trends that may hold negative connotations are best left untouched, or should at least be reconsidered!

3. Is this what I want customers to think?

Last but not least, ask yourself: Is this really the impression I want my customers to have of my brand?

Everyone wants to be remembered, but how you’re remembered in your customers’ minds relies on the decisions you make. This is especially the case when it comes to jumping on trends that might be a make or break for your brand image. 

Exploring Trends Safely

If you’re now second guessing on whether you want to integrate a trend fully into your business model and feel like you aren’t ready to commit, don’t worry! Here are some tips on how you can explore trends safely - enough to show consumers that you’re up-to-date with the trends BUT not be stuck to anything long-term.

1. Create short stories on social media surrounding that topic. You don’t have to dive right in, just dip your toes in the water! Dedicate some posts to the trend and have fun with the topic!

2. Create short-term series. Explore your creativity! Create limited edition products, month-long videos or post series, depending on how long you plan to ride that wave.

In a nutshell, let’s all be responsible adults when dealing with trends and adopting them into our brands. Though they could potentially help boost revenue, it's crucial to determine if it’s a sustainable business move and if it aligns with your brand’s image, beliefs and values. And if you think it’s still worth exploring in the end, then shoot your shot and invest into it! Take it as a creative challenge to make a long-lasting impression in your consumer’s mind. You may also consult a branding agency to form a strategy that will best suit your brand and its goals!

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