This past winter was one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory for much of the United States. We saw temperatures drop below zero and snowfall rise above a foot. These miserable three months (or four for Pittsburghers) were branded by the media as the legendary “polar vortex.” Local news stations relished in the increased interest in the weather and late-night talk show hosts delivered endless jokes using cold weather as a punch line. For this reason, the cold weather became a trend. Topics that trend are universally relatable on multiple levels and encompass a majority of the public’s attention. Therefore, it is important for businesses to take advantage of trending topics by integrating into their promotional strategies.
What most of the general public does not realize is that winters like this happen every so often just as category 5 hurricanes and F5 tornadoes. However, when these things happen, people are drawn to the buzz that everybody else is talking about. Now that the cold weather is over and the sun (or rain for Pittsburghers) is swelling the skies, the media must find a new movement to latch onto. As many are aware of, this has come from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Since this event encompasses most of the world and brings day-to-day action, it gives businesses an even greater opportunity to take advantage of a pop culture trend. Whether your business is directly relevant to the sport or not, here are a few ways to tailor your promotion to the World Cup fever:
1. Use the World Cup to Theme Advertising. Although most small businesses do not begin with the advertising budget of World Cup sponsors Volkswagen and Adidas, both have used players and/or countrys’ flags in order to connect with fans, you can still incorporate similar elements into your advertising strategy in a smaller budget. Below Volkswagen has integrated the release of its new Golf hatchback by painting the Bosnian Flag on it and using the tagline “Goooooooolf” instead of the well-known “Gooooal!” Adidas applied a similar strategy in its “The Dream: all in or nothing” commercial by employing Argentina’s Lionel Messi delivering an inspirational message. You can adopt similar strategies for your small business by integrating soccer themes onto flyers or creating videos to post on your website or social media pages.
2. Apply Incentives for World Cup Supporters. If your business is a bar, restaurant, or store that sells athletic apparel offer discounts on specific items. For example, if the US wins Sunday’s game against Portugal you will take a percentage off of a menu or store item. This tactic can also be used to invite people to your bar or restaurant to watch the game. Social media websites can help promote incentives.
3. Join the Social Media Discussion. Support your team by talking about it on social media. Use relevant hashtags (#worldcup, #Brazil2014) and post during the games to show your support. This will gain the appreciation of World Cup followers and increase your overall reach. However, you should not post irrelevant material during game time as your World Cup fan followers will be unlikely to pay attention to it.
Trends are perpetual cycles used as stimulating devices by the media and by business alike. It is important for small business owners to stay up-to-date with what’s trending in popular culture in order to best connect with their target audiences. Google trends lists its most popular searches on a variety of topics from entertainment to politics. Twitter applies a similar strategy by listing its most popular trends of the moment. While using pop culture trends can be advantageous, it is important to maintain a connection to the interests of your core target audience.