Hop on board the TrendJacking Express
Not long ago, a casual inquisitive-cum-satirical tweet by a fellow digital native questioning the presence of Radhika Apte on literally every show of Netflix India led to one of the most trending internet frenzies of 2018. Netflix’s rebuttal only strengthened their case and paved the way for many other brands to cash in on this “omnipresent” opportunity on social media.
TrendJacking (Formerly positioned as NewsJacking) is the process of contextually linking one’s brand to trending topics, news stories with the aim of generating attention across the spectrum of digital, social, online and offline media. If done well, it can account for an amusing take on a story and an effective way of spreading brand awareness. However, it has the potential backfire, if its message is seen as forced, awkward or offensive.
When brands notice that something is currently trending and generating a lot of buzz on several platforms, they interject themselves in order to try and piggyback on the wave of this existing trend.
TrendJacking comes as a (needed) creative gamble in today’s social media landscape. As it’s getting harder and harder for a brand to get traction, owing to the sheer density of content on various platforms, TrendJacking serves as a way to stay relevant and ‘in the scene’.
Here’s an example of Trendjacking done well. A brand like Zomato resonates with the youth of the country owing to their tongue-in-cheek style of communication. They even crafted lines with something contextually relevant to the generation of parents and grandparents. Case-in-point. “The nation wants to know…”, a line made ubiquitous across all households in India by a news anchor, was cleverly inserted into their communication that still managed to convey Zomato’s offering.
Zomato has also tread on controversial topics and have received a mixed response to the creative, but still boast of high number of shares online.
And while brands like Zomato continue to be a rage with the younger audience, one has to acknowledge and show respect to an Indian brand that was TrendJacking, before it was a trend, Amul. Below are some examples.
As mentioned earlier, TrendJacking is a creative gamble. It also has the potential to do more damage to a brand, which even the PR team won’t be able to save.
In 2012, part of America and 6 other countries were affected by Hurricane ‘Sandy’. This natural disaster resulted in deaths of 300 people. As it was a story trending across news channels(then), some brands decided to milk it, but failed. Below are the ad lines from the brands.
InStyle Magazine column: ‘Hurricane Sandy Have You Stuck Inside? 5 Beauty Treatments to Help Ride Out the Storm.’
How About We – dating site: ‘18 of Our Favorite Hurricane Sandy Date Ideas from HowAboutWe Members.’ with a link to its ‘4 Important Survival Tips for You and Your Hurricane Boyfriend’
Urban outfitters: ‘This storm blows (but free shipping doesn’t)! Today only . . .’
From all the above, it’s clear that there IS an art to crafting and creating smart, yet fun trend worthy posts, to ride on the coattails of Trending stories.
It helps a marketer achieve brand success in two ways.
- It is a platform to catapult an unknown brand into the spotlight, which is a win in terms of brand awareness
- By creatively and cleverly executing TrendJacking on your brand’s post(s), it makes your audience and other prospective followers believe that you are relevant and are in-the-know of things.
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