Remember when Pokemon Go launched in Singapore, and everyone immediately flocked to the game? Soon enough brands started creating Pokemon Go themed products or promotions just to ride on this growing trend. 

Months later, the hype inevitably died down. However, no matter how long these fads last, they had their moment in the spotlight and anything even remotely related benefited from the exposure. Today, this kind of ‘success by association’ is very similar to what we call trendjacking. 

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What is trendjacking?

Somewhat similar to its older cousin, newsjacking, trendjacking is when a company capitalises on a trending topic or phenomenon on the Internet by either responding to it or adding their own spin to it. When done right, this not only creates a spike in views and impressions but also helps to build brand affinity and engagement with your audience.

The concept is not entirely new and is comparable to creating seasonal content or content according to big events. However, trendjacking goes one step further. It requires having a finger on the pulse of what’s happening around you or your target audience in order to succeed in it. 

Trendjacking also can’t be planned for in advance. Trends can emerge at any point in time and blow up before you know it. The unpredictable nature of trends requires content creators and marketers to be always on the ball and ready to react when the time calls for it. 

Why do marketers use trendjacking?

For marketers, aligning yourself to these trending topics can bring about tremendous benefit in terms of raising brand awareness, driving traffic and attracting users to engage in a real-time commentary. 

Take for example, Scoot. When the Daryl Aiden Yow photoshopping scandal broke, Scoot jumped on the opportunity to promote its flights to Athens, Greece with a clever post almost immediately. 

Without directly mentioning Yow, Scoot uploaded an image tagged to be taken in Mykonos, Greece, similar to the one Yow had posted on Instagram. Along with it, the airline promoted flights to Athens and their first-anniversary sale.

The post garnered 5.5k reactions, 3.1k shares and 1.1k comments since posting, with many users praising the airline for its witty marketing tactic. This quick reaction to the news and snappy comeback helped the airline to better engage with users – showcasing how they too can be lighthearted and humorous. 

What makes a trendjacking campaign successful?

Now that you know the benefits of trendjacking, you can’t wait to get started, can you? Before you do, remember trendjacking should always be approached with caution because not every trending topic should be capitalised upon. 

Brands who attempt to ride on trending topics that cover death, destruction or natural disasters, will almost always fail. That said, here are three things to look out for when deeming a trendjacking campaign successful:  

  • It should be well-timed 
  • It should aim to drive conversations 
  • It should not undermine any social cause, disaster or any event that naturally carries a sombre note

Ikea is fantastic at trendjacking and always hits the bullseye with their campaigns. For Valentine’s Day, they celebrated the day after with a cheeky post asking their fans, ‘New sheets?’  

It’s such a simple copy accompanied with an equally simple design, but because it’s executed on the right day with a dose of humour, they were able to use bed linen to relate with an annual holiday. Most of who understood the joke would now probably be thinking about a new set of dreamy, pink sheets – whether they actively realise it or not. 

Besides seasonal content trends, Ikea does just as fantastic a job at trendjacking other trending topics. Back in 2018, there was a big uproar over a crispy chicken Rendang comment by a MasterChef UK judge. This led to many brands jumping on the bandwagon and dishing out jabs at the odd comment. 

Ikea did what it does best by delivering a similarly simple design paired with some smart copy to promote a frying pan, aptly named ‘Tolerant’. Published on Facebook, the post fulfils all three aspects of what makes a trendjacking campaign successful. It was well-timed, it drove conversations over its clever copy, and it doesn’t undermine any cause or disaster. Seemingly, Ikea always has the perfect recipe for trendjacking. 

Some challenges of trendjacking to take note of 

As mentioned earlier, not all trendjacking campaigns will be successful, even when brands do it in good faith. Often, it can appear to be taking advantage of an event or topic just to sell more. 

IUIGA is one example of a brand that tried trendjacking, but it didn’t go as well as intended. Last year, Singapore’s beloved polar bear, Inuka, passed away. In an attempt to commemorate his passing, a day later, the local retailer published a post on Facebook promoting a porcelain tea set named, Inuka. 

This did not go down so well with most users. Many labelled it an insensitive marketing gimmick that leveraged off an animal’s death. Ultimately, this clearly shows that even though brands might have thought of campaigns in good faith, customers will never be alright if you ride on death, destruction or catastrophes to push more product and boost your bottom line. 

When it comes to trendjacking, it’s always important to proceed with tact and thoughtful messaging. 

How to incorporate trendjacking into your marketing campaigns

All geared up to start on your first trendjacking campaign? Well, the first thing you need to do is to ensure you’re always on top of trends. While you can do that by keeping an active online presence, some trends could still fall through the cracks. Additionally, you have to identify them quick enough to ride the wave. If you jump on the bandwagon too late, the trend may just pass you by, or worse, your competitors will beat you to the punch.

When it comes to seasonal trends, one comprehensive way to keep your eye on the game and nail timing is to make use of Meltwater’s Social Listening tool. 

Start by setting up searches for key seasonal events that are relevant to your brand, for example, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Once done, you can now set alerts to track any mentions around the event. Whenever you notice a growing trend, you can then deep dive through the Meltwater’s media exposure widget to understand the commotion.

The Media Exposure widget allows you to identify trends and discover what content was published during a specific time period

Setting up such alerts will allow you to react accordingly, especially while the trend is still growing in magnitude. Additionally, you can utilise Meltwater’s Explore feature – a tool unique to Meltwater’s mobile suite – to monitor your brand on-the-go and access critical media intelligence tools. With Explore, you can work on trends as they happen and analyse how those trends are performing to better inform your strategy.

Featuring Meltwater’s mobile explore feature

Beyond tracking trends around seasonal events, there will also be plenty of other trendjacking-worthy moments throughout the year. The most important thing is to keep your ear to the ground and eyes wide open. 

So there you have it, a cleverly executed trendjacking campaign can aid in promoting your business and garnering tons of media mileage. Just ensure you’re timely and consider the various guidelines to avoid any embarrassing gaffes.


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