How small businesses can leverage trends to stand out from the crowd

As Aussie small businesses start to scale, they’re faced with an increasingly competitive market along with the challenge to develop compelling visual content that is consistent with the brand and engages their target audience. 

With over 2.1 million small businesses in Australia all fighting for the limelight, taking note of the design, creative, and cultural trends influencing Aussies is one way local businesses can not only build stronger relationships with their customers but differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Unique content is key 

While it’s important to pay attention to trend reports, ultimately what sets a brand apart from their competitors is how they utilise the insights for their own content and product development. Done right, creative content based on timely trends can build strong brand awareness and long-lasting relationships with customers. 

On top of speaking directly to customers through content that aligns with their wants and needs, timely content produced in an authentic way can inspire people to make a purchase. 

Businesses can look at trending topics and themes as a way to inspire creativity. Increasingly, we’re seeing trends from cake decorating to extravagant floral designs, to brands jumping on relevant cultural and sporting moments, becoming increasingly popular in 2020. Shutterstock’s 2020 Creative Trends Report found that searches for ‘sports’ rose 1,647% year over year, making it one of the rising trends to watch in 2020. 

Take the recent campaign between Vegemite and Aussie tennis player, and world number one, Ash Barty. The partnership launched a limited-edition “Bartymite” in the “Tastes like Australia” campaign during the Australian Open. It saw global success, aligned with Vegemite’s unique brand and made it stand out as a brand of choice. 

Shutterstock, Neale Cousland

Change is in the air

Increasingly, we’re seeing customers play an integrated role in what they expect of brands and want their values to be lived and breathed by the businesses they choose to support. In fact, statistics reveal that 94 per cent of customers are likely to show loyalty to a brand that offers complete transparency, and one that is able to share their values through authentic content. 

Take climate change for example – 2019 was a big year for sustainability and climate strike action, and this is not stopping anytime soon. In fact, protest art is a trend to watch in 2020 – this type of art is not just decoration, but a form of declaration. With over 90 per cent of Aussies concerned about climate change and sustainability, this global stance, recognised by millions around the world, has become an opportunity for brands to convey their stance to their audience. 

In late 2019, around 300,000 Aussies gathered at climate change rallies around the country – one of the largest protest events in the nation’s history! Off the back of this, we saw hundreds of businesses rally together to promote the importance of living more sustainable and eco-friendly. This saw businesses around the globe generate new and authentic content and as a result, businesses who were transparent in their abilities to be sustainable, were able to connect on a deeper level with their audience. 

Shutterstock, Holli

Social remains a must-have

Social media is a key platform for brands to keep an eye on and leverage popular trends and cultural moments to create content that connects with their customers globally. 

Social tends to be more visual, meaning brands don’t always need lots of words to make a point. It’s an easy channel for brands to tune into the trends consumers are interested in and gives brands a platform to engage in conversation. 

One of the biggest trends to keep an eye on is occulture, which we have seen come to life through the rise of astrology apps on social. Jumping onboard the trend around the occult were brands including CoStar who utilised Twitter and Instagram to reach their audience. This made CoStar top of mind for its audience and made astrology relatable for consumers globally. We’ve also seen global music brand, Spotify, who put their own spin on the trend by creating curated astrological playlists that targeted their young audience.

Shutterstock, TatianaKost94

Brands that can jump on these cultural trends, that align with their business goals, objectives and vision, in a relatable and positive way, will be the ones who are able to connect with audiences and share their unique tone of voice and stand out from the crowd.

Flo Lau, Associate Creative Director, Shutterstock

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