Hype culture evolves marketing

Laura Hennawi, Editor

The interconnectedness of the world in the 21st century continues to rise as technology advances. Powerful companies and people are more informed about us and our data than ever before, but this does not come as a surprise to those living in today’s constantly changing world.

As expected, companies and businesses have acknowledged this change in the past twenty years. They have taken advantage of our increased reliance on the internet to expand their reach over target markets, especially e-commerce. Amazon, a pioneer of e-commerce, has epitomized seizing this opportunity, as evidenced by their overpowering of traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Its increased dominance has exacerbated the demise of retailers like Barnes & Noble or Macy’s. Amazon has even conceived services to replace grocery and leisurely shopping that arrive at your door as quickly as if you were to leave your house.

Social media’s influence on consumer habits has also evolved as we have become more reliant on it for entertainment. We voice our opinions on what we enjoy and what we dislike. We follow and subscribe to our favorite entertainers, and we mute those for which we don’t care. We comment on whose outfit is best at an award show and whose outfit fails to impress. This new idea of “hype” in trends has been bolstered by the ease for people to vocalize their opinions online, and when there is a new—and cheap—way to assess people’s wants for more sales, businesses will take it.

This convenient access to the market’s opinions is why companies like Fashion Nova and Shein have risen to success; this mode of fast fashion in rapid manufacturing has allowed them to quickly adapt to trends that suit the current “hype” of the market. For example, days after Kim Kardashian was pictured in a dress, Fashion Nova was able to mass-produce and sell the same style of Kardashian’s designer dress for a lower price. Using social media and people’s voiced opinions allows Fashion Nova to curate themselves for the market quickly before the trend dies, enabling a continuous cycle of mass-produced, trendy clothing that fades as the trend does.

Another way social media has changed marketing is through the connection created between a business and its consumers, this sense of connection to a company—or even a person laying the groundwork for an unbreakable loyalty. From Twitter-friendly brands pumping out memes by the hour to YouTubers or “influencers” selling branded merchandise in minutes, people feel as though these corporations and brands are relatable. Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson–disregarding the entertainers’ controversies–were able to cultivate this connection; they made it so an idea they introduced for a makeup palette became a product, and by filming the process of production and design, they were able to make the audience feel a bond to the palette that led them to purchase it. I can’t speak for makeup connoisseurs about the quality of the palette itself, but from the numbers they provided, it performed greatly; the way they built a “hype” around the product through this loyalty ultimately allowed them to sell enormous quantities and generate immense revenue, which is undoubtedly smart.

As technology continues to grow and innovation continues to develop, the way commerce adapts to our fast-paced world is compelling. For now, Netflix will keep tweeting subpar relatable content for the masses, and YouTubers will continue to sell you their merchandise. Why? Because it works.