Trend or Fad, There is Value in the Difference

The Markle Sparkle effect has hit the yellow gold jewelry market. But is it a lasting trend or passing fad to align marketing around? Meghan Markle, former actress, current Duchess of Sussex, newly wed to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, has shown a decided public interest in yellow gold. In fact, the couple told the BBC in November that because yellow gold was her favorite, her engagement ring would be set in that metal.

And the world responded.

David Borochov, of New York-based R&R Jewelers has been quoted (in a Reuters article posted by CNBC) as saying that around that time of Markle’s engagement, “we started seeing more sales of yellow gold and the last couple months its increased more,” leading up to the royal wedding.

In the first quarter of 2018 alone, demands for gold jewelry were at their highest since 2009, according to the World Gold Council.

Many of Buzz Bear Media’s high-end clients are in the premium products industries. You will find the question of trend or fad discussed in fashion, fragrance and jewelry circles quite often. Going all in on a fad could be a costly move in the volatile world of social media, as fads are temporary. Not picking up on a trend early enough could cede valuable marketing ground to a competitor as trends are more permanent in nature.

Difference between trend and fad?

Christie O’Brien writing on the Agilex Fragrances website (The Difference Between Fads vs Trends) presented a cute but also revealing mini infographic (of which you can see in total here ) on the question of fad vs trend.

Among her telling points were:

  • Fads merely exist but never move culture, whereas trends not only have a shelf live, they also evolve over time
  • Fads can usually be found affecting a niche market, whereas trends can be applicable to a wider target market
  • Fads are hit & run, leaving little effect, whereas trends usually exist to solve a problem

Mark Schneider (of developed a simple alliteration: fads fade. “Typically, fads last for a total of one season, but they can also last less than a month. Fads are novelty driven fashion choices. Although engaging in fads can be fun, they are often not worth investing a large amount of money or time.”

Trend or fad examples

Let’s use parachute pants as an example of a fashion fad. Parachute pants became one of the most fashionable items to wear during the 1980’s. Perhaps better known as ‘Hammer pants’ they were made popular by 80’s rapper MC Hammer.

Using both O’Brien and Schneider criteria, parachute pants were a fad because although they were a hot marketing item, they only populated in a single segment of an industry and did not cross over into others. They failed to become an accepted element of overall youth culture or other music genres.

On the other hand, consider portable media players and multi-purpose pocket computers like the Apple iPod which came out in 2001. These devices not only crossed over from music into other worlds such as fashion but also served to move the evolution of wireless communications.

Where does this leave the Markle Sparkle effect in relation to your business? Should you produce more jewelry in yellow gold? Or offer more clothing designs and patterns that blend well with yellow gold jewelry? Or create images around fragrances that imply a connection to yellow gold?

When deciding to attach your business marketing to a fad or trend, determine if it will have a lasting impact. Will it sway consumer buying patterns? Will it alter the manner of demands that consumers will have for products and services?

It may be too early to tell with the Markle Sparkle. But, according to the website, already “Markle has managed to spike sales in every apparel and accessory category, from handbags to dresses to leggings and more.” That is an interesting show of cross-over strength that both O’Brien & Schneider look to as an element of a trend.

Also keep in mind that “Royals” assuming the role of style icon is not an unheard-of concept.

By using the best cutting-edge technology, Buzz Bear Media has established a distinguished record of successfully servicing a diverse set of global clients. We begin with a thorough understanding of each business, how it works, where it is and where it needs to go. Then, our award-winning marketing, branding and research team members will assist you in evaluating fads and trends as to whether they should influence your business decisions. Our goal is to bring your vision to life and take your business to the next level.

(Photo linked to referenced Reuters/CNBC article: Max Mumby | Indigo | Getty Images “Meghan Markle attends an Anzac Day Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on April 25, 2018 in London, England.”)