The emerging generation’s penchant for authentic expression combined with an insatiable appetite for challenging entrenched beliefs will only increasingly disrupt established categories.  But the brands that can harness these undercurrents, rather than chase the sterling horizons of aspirational fantasy, will carry the torches.

As trends take hold and belief systems become seemingly embraced, powerful riptides form, creating compelling opportunities to stimulate engagement and connection.  These portals of engagement don’t often center on the values or needs you and your audience share, but rather, in what you both potentially reject.

Southern Comfort broke molds when the Whatever’s Comfortable campaign reignited the stagnant brand by tapping into the counter-culture of the dominant trends of martini cocktail couture and single malt stuffiness.

As the big shave brands cat scratched each other with never-ending razor innovation, Dollar Shave Club upended the category by asking:  “Do you think your razor needs a vibrating handle, a flashlight, a backscratcher and 10 blades?”   And this week, Bic Australia is ripping the rug out of the Hipster trends by fueling shave interventions with the Bic Hipstervention.

When Millennials entered parenthood, helicopter parenting trends were in full throttle.   But a small site called Babble tapped into a nascent undercurrent:

“We can’t find a magazine or community that speaks to us as new parents. Every publication we encounter presents procreation as a cute and cuddly experience, all pink and powder blue, at best an interior decorating opportunity, at worst a housekeeping challenge.   None of it is true to the experience we are having.”

Babble grew to win major awards as a top website, and was since acquired by Disney.  The site exposed the raw honesty of parenting, giving other brands permission to expose old cliches and question long-held standards and expectations.

This week Tommee Tippee (maker of baby products)  is telling new moms to take all that unwanted parenting advice they’re getting and wipe their baby’s butt with it.  “Take a Deep Breath and Trust Yourself”  #ParentOn

Earlier this year, Similac put itself in the explosive mommy crosshairs of the breastfeeding vs. formula debate,  beautifully anesthetizing the conflict and re-opening the door for formula acceptance, a daunting task during the climate in which it launched.

So as you scramble to come up with next week’s content, ask yourself, are you riding the waves with everyone else or diving deeper?  Powerful, unseen forces exist that are waiting to be ignited.  What role will your brand play?

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