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Let’s face it. Brands out there all want to be the next big thing. We all want to be talked about and we all want the glory that comes with it. Usually, this is executed in a way that shocks the audience by pushing the envelope, resulting in provocative ads laced with sexual connotations.

But other brands with substance get relevant. They address current issues that are on the tip of everyone else’s tongues, even if it is outside of their brand’s scope of interest, and make it pertinent by going beyond their industry with social commentaries on current hot topics or cultural trends. This in turn will bridge that common ground between a brand and its audience, and act as a little inside joke that only a brand and its audience get to share.

And I’m not talking about starring PSY in your advert or using well-known meme lingo to boost your credibility (“WHY YOU NO SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG?”).

I’m talking about ads like these:

After the famous Sharifah Zohra video went viral, the brave few took the plunge and got on the “Listen” bandwagon while it was still hot and funny. The best part about it is that these courageous brands not only used something topical, but also put a twist to it and made it relevant to their product and brand.

Being relevant is the difference between being seen and being noticed. Whether its relevance is cultural, situational, emotional or practical, the message has to be in there in hopes of being remembered.

So if you want to be on the ball and beat the rest to the punch, here are some tips for staying relevant:

#1: Be aware of what’s going on around you
Keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground at all times. The most influential trends are the ones that spring out of nowhere, having that shock/random factor to it. Make sure you keep social and identify emerging patterns, behaviours and opportunities when they arise.

#2: Recognise the point of entry and go for it
Rather than seizing the trend or meme just for the sake of getting there first, ask yourself how your brand can add value to it. By relating it to your brand you add another layer of satire to the whole situation, allowing the audience to give you that, ‘I see what you did there’ nod of approval; and instantly own the dialogue, making it your own.

#3: Wait for the right moment
Timing is crucial. If you act too soon you will not appeal to the people who have not caught on yet. Alternatively, if you’re too late you risk looking old and dated (like how you feel when you see Harlem Shake videos still being posted). Make sure to time it just right and not to milk it for too long.

At the end of the day it’s about homing in on your consumers’ point of passion and interests, and conveying your brand’s unique point of view to them. This will ultimately increase your chances of being remembered as the next big thing.

Would you say your brand is in the loop?

How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?

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