5 Examples of Using Content to Start (Not Follow) a Trend

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Starting trends and not following cannot be done inorganically which makes a trend one of the most valuable commodities in marketing.

If you have been living under a rock when it comes to the marketing world for the last couple of years, one should be informed that content is a huge driving force and can create its own trend.

Trends can be started by both companies and individuals. They can be extremely powerful and profitable if managed correctly.

The following are some of the best examples of using content to start a trend.

Related Article: 5 Emerging Business Trends You Should Know About

Ice Bucket Challenge

If anyone frequented social media during the Ice Bucket Challenge viral campaign, they will know that this trend took to social media like wildfire. The basic concept of pouring a bucket of ice water over someone’s head and challenging others is something that appealed to many.

Those who did not participate after challenged were supposed to donate a certain amount of money to help support the research to find a cure for ALS. Those who participated even donated regardless if they had taken part in the challenge. 

The fact that the ALS Association created a trend that not only caught on but helped generate money for ALS research is impressive but the reactions of people via social media were even more impressive. The cost to the ALS foundation was nothing as they just had a few video content marketing piece and social media ended up doing the rest.

No Shave November

Not shaving during November used to be a way guys bonded in the winter months. It wasn’t until winter of 2009 that not shaving began being used to raise money for charity. The people who started the raising of the money were actually all the part of the same family. The Hill family had personal experience with losing someone to cancer as the father of the eight children passed away from colon cancer.

Social media helped this spread and the selfie took the world by storm during the advent of this charity. The beard selfies help generate awareness and even some celebrities got involved. Often when celebrities get involved then the trend really hits the mainstream.

Awareness Trends

This goes for the relief that many need around the world whether it is disaster relief or otherwise. The hashtags and other content that is produced by tragedies can move those into giving money to a company or charity. There are other types of awareness trends like those of disaster prevention. Mercury Insurance is marketing El Niño preparedness that has a checklist of things to do and secure on your home. With over a half billion dollars in damages in California alone, El Niño plagued California in 1997.

There are other awareness trends like those to check for breast cancer or testicular cancer. These awareness trends do a great job of getting an emotional response out of people and this is a great thing that only moving/informative content can do.


The world of extreme sports is more popular than ever and GoPro is at the forefront of this. The GoPro team created a YouTube channel that encouraged users to contribute some of their best extreme videos. This not only gained GoPro recognition but other products like the GoPro were beginning to be called a GoPro regardless of what brand it was. GoPro gave a good example of cornering a market and appealing to the curiosity of people who wonder what it is like to do some extreme stunts.

What To Look For In The Future

The future looks very bright when it comes to cause-driven campaigns. The Ice Bucket Challenge started it but look for other causes to have the same light hearted theme. This encourages people to participate and have some fun while generating buzz about a certain cause. Look for more companies to try these light-hearted challenges as it could do more marketing for the company than ever before with user generated content. 

Trends that are started by content rely quite a lot on social media today. The user generated content of the Ice Bucket Challenge spread awareness much more quickly than a giant spend on advertising would have. Having a trend that many can imitate or are encouraged to submit their own version does a couple of things. It takes care of the social buzz that a trend needs whether it is for charity or just for fun.

Related Article: Ask the Market Experts: What Business Trend Was Most Impactful in 2015?

Those who embrace some of these trends can even become internet famous for their version. The possibility of having the next viral video to those participating in a trend is something that can drive user generated content for quite some time. Whatever the trend is, the public's content and response decides whether it is here to stay or is just another flash in the pan. Content is not just what a company or individual produces but it is also the responses others have to it.  

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