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How to beat the Joneses in business promotion this year

How to beat the Joneses in business promotion this year

Posted 09th May, 2019 by William

With every new year comes a new raft of trends that pervade everything from fashion and clothing design, to marketing campaigns and social media.

At the start of 2018, flamingos were everywhere. Holiday megabrand Last Minute made a flock of flamingos the stars of its new year advertising campaign, utilising the hashtag #whatevermakesyoupink. Drinks titan Chambord did the same but with the hashtag #BecauseNoReason, while mobile phone behemoth Three created a half-flamingo, half-giraffe character for its summer campaign.

Then came the cult of the unicorn. Coffee shops in London were serving up unicorn lattes; unicorn mugs, pillows, lights and duvets were flying off the shelves of homeware companies; and Burton’s created a unicorn version on its popular Jammy Dodger biscuit.

Harnessing annual trends can help your business really stand out from the crowd. In this blog, we’ll look at trend forecasts for the rest of this year as well as how to best harness trends and keep an eye out for them in the future.

5 major upcoming trends

Living Coral

Every year, Pantone Colour Institute names its colour of the year and for 2019 it has chosen Living Coral. It explains: “Vibrant, yet mellow Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

“In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of Living Coral welcomes and encourages light-hearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.”


At the start of 2019, Shutterstock released its annual Creative Trends Report. In preparing for it, the stock photography company analysed billions of the images, videos and music searches and downloads that customers had made to see which themes and styles were becoming more popular.

Shutterstock discovered that searches for Kawaii images were up by 911 per cent. If you’ve never heard of it before, Kawaii is the culture of cuteness that’s popular in Japan. It’s defined by items and animals that are charming and pretty.

They explained: “We’re biologically primed to love and cherish the childlike characters of Kawaii style. It grabs our attention in a way other cultural artforms cannot, offering a warm reprieve from daily life.”

The Natural World

Towards the end of 2018, Adobe Stock carried out research into themes that were becoming popular around the world. It took inspiration from catwalks, art galleries, social media and pop culture but one of the key trends it discovered was ‘the natural world’.

It explained: “As technology increases in our lives and more of our days are spent in the digital realm, we’re feeling increasingly distant from the physical world. This steady shift is leading more people to consciously (or subconsciously) seek balance through nature.

“Artists like Adobe Stock Premium contributor Archan Nair are part of a movement of creatives taking inspiration from the mysteries of the natural world. Archan’s illustrations bring together surrealism, mysticism and organic forms, to explore the interconnectedness between humans and the planet.”


At the end of 2018, New Statesman’s culture writer Sarah Manavis wrote an article with the headline ‘The pineapple trend is dead – long live the banana ’. In it, she comprehensively charted the slow burn that has been the rise in popularity of the banana motif and declared that it would finally reach its zenith in 2019.

She wrote: “For those watching closely, the banana is now, as the proverb goes, top. Alongside the banana itself, banana leaves are also becoming a pattern staple, gracing bohemian bedroom pillowcases and gallery wall prints alike (replacing the oversaturated monstera plant leaf). Indeed, the whole banana plant is also making its way into IKEA plant catalogues, plant-Instagrammers feeds and trendy office spaces.”


At the end of 2018, online retailer Etsy made a list of the trends that it believed would dominate 2019. Its predictions were based on an analysis of what the site’s sellers were creating and what shoppers were loving. From this, it earmarked sloths as one of the major trends for 2019.

In particular, it said: “With unicorns on their way out, there’s a new creature about to take over: the sloth. Much like their own movements, sloths have slowly been on the rise since 2002 (thanks to characters in popular animated movies), but this year, they’re about to move a little more quickly than their reputations may have you believe. Shoppers and Etsy sellers alike have gravitated to the laid-back demeanour of the sloth, a real-life representation of the carefree lifestyle many of us strive for every day.”

Where to harness trends

It’s all well and good knowing what the trends are, but how can start-ups and small businesses use them to their advantage? The answer is that there are multiple ways you can tap into the zeitgeist to get more attention for your company.

Products: Think about the unicorn latte trend. Even Starbucks jumped on this bandwagon, offering a unicorn Frappuccino in certain stores. It’s not just food that 2019’s trends can work on though. They can be applied to beauty, fashion, homeware, stationery, gift and art products. If you’ve got a services business, have a brainstorm with your team to see how you can personalise the trend for your business.

Marketing: 2019’s trends can be used to inform and inspire everything from email marketing campaigns to flyers, in-store promotions and advertising. Social media: Take inspiration from the themes of 2018 to help you devise posts, memes and images that utilise the trends of 2019. For example, throughout 2018, companies used the unicorn motif to post affirmational messages to clients such as ‘this year is your year’ and ‘in a world full of horses, be a unicorn’.

Packaging: Online fashion retailer Pretty Little Thing is a great example of how companies can utilise a theme in packaging. Throughout 2018, it sent out its orders in pink wrapping emblazoned with white unicorns with wings.

How to spot the next trends

You don’t need a team of researchers like Shutterstock and Adobe to be able to keep an eye on up-and-coming trends. Here are a few tips for staying on top of the trends.

  • Keep an eye on what’s happening in New York. A simple Google search of the term ‘New York Trend’ will usually furnish results.
  • Watch what’s becoming popular in LA. Again, all it takes is a Google search.
  • Set up an Instagram account to see what’s trending
  • Read a newspaper every day to see what’s going on in the world. Human brains are wired to spot patterns, so you may find yourself picking up on a trend all by yourself.

Categories: Tips, Marketing

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