When launching a new business, you have enough stacked against you. The statistics say most startups are likely to fail. You’ll never have enough capital, time or energy. Getting investors and customers is hard.
But there’s one way to help improve your chances: latching onto a trend that’s already happening.
You may have an amazing new product or idea, but if it goes against the cultural momentum, you’re going to be swimming upstream as you try to educate people and change their existing thoughts and behaviors. A much easier path is to ride a wave that already has its own energy. It’s better to swim with the current than try to go against it.
This has a number of benefits for any startup. It leads to easier PR since it fits with stories in which people are interested. It already has an audience and subculture that is welcoming of, and even waiting for, the product. And that audience is more likely to spread the word among others in the subculture.
But here’s the key: It’s not just about copying a trend, it’s about translating the trend for a broader audience.
To build a sustainable business, you’ll need more than the niche group on the leading edge of a trend. Many successful startups today are tapping into trends, but doing it in a way that makes it more accessible and approachable for the mainstream. Here’s a look at a few that are doing it well:
The brand: YALA coconut oil teeth whitening
The trend: The rise of coconut oil
Coconut oil seems to be everywhere these days. From cooking, to hair and skin care, there’s seemingly nothing it can’t do. YALA builds off this trend with a coconut oil based mouthwash that whitens teeth naturally. Called “oil pulling,” this ancient Indian Ayurvedic practice of swishing with coconut oil has seen a resurgence in the U.S. lately, albeit with a small group.
The brand: Kettle & Fire bone broth
The trend: The rise of the paleo diet and interest in bone broth
Broth has been a staple in kitchens for as long as there have been kitchens. But “bone broth” has suddenly become a new hot trend, due in part to the rise of the paleo diet (eating and living in a way that fits with how our bodies evolved in the paleolithic era). Kettle & Fire picked up on this trend and created a grass-fed beef bone broth that’s much more convenient, and doesn’t involve finding and cooking things like a grass-fed cow’s patella.
The brand: SimpleHabit
The trend: The rise in meditation and mindfulness
It seems the rise of yoga spawned related offspring in meditation and general mindfulness. But most people think they’re too busy to meditate, at least in the traditional way. SimpleHabit found a way to take this trend and make it more accessible for a mainstream user. By only asking for a few minutes a day, and through simple design, the app makes it possible for anyone to dip their toe into the meditation trend.
The brand: Juicero
The trend: The rise of juicing
Juicing and juice cleanses have been exploding over the past few years. People love the idea of nutritionally packed drinks that taste great, and the idea of going on a “detox” to rid the body of toxins. Juicero took this trend and made it as easy as the Keurig machine made coffee by providing premade packs of juice that you just place in its machine.
These companies are all tapping into trends with their own subcultures and momentum behind them. But, importantly, they’re putting their own twist on the trends that makes them unique and more approachable for a mass audience.
Of course, these trends will continue to evolve, and for the companies to survive, they will need to adapt and evolve as well. Make sure you’re clear on what cultural wave your company is tapping into, and you’ll have a subculture -- and the momentum it brings -- helping push you forward.