By Manik Rege

Read: 12 mins.


Social media is where all the customers & clients live now. And we marketers are working overtime to keep up … as if they gave us a choice. If we don’t build a strong digital presence, we’re either going to be left behind in the conversation, or risk having no control over it when our brands’ names pop up.

In fact, these new platforms – like Instagram, Facebook & Twitter – have given rise to a whole new genre of communication called “moment marketing.”

Moment marketing is when brands or creators on social media make references or react to current events, pop culture, trending topics, hashtags, or post formats.

It’s a way of looking relevant, witty, young & socially aware online. It’s also called:

  • Topical advertising
  • Newsjacking
  • Contextual content

One of the earliest legendary cases of this technique takes us back to 2013. There was a power outage at a Superbowl football match in New Orleans. Oreo, the cookie expert, latched on to the moment with a funny tweet. It was applauded by all the fans in the stadium, and has now become a classical case study of getting social media right for businesses.

In the Indian context, Amul was one of the first big players to master it, leading with their utterly-butterly print adverts since 1966. But if we’re talking digital, Zomato popularized it with their signature “white text on red” punny posters since 2014.

Today, almost every company from every industry has newsjacking on top of their priority list but only few have emerged as quality champions who know how to play the game well. Their feeds are worth a look…


2 Types of Events

If you do study their posts carefully, you’ll notice that they dabble into 2 kinds of trends in general:

  1. Unpredictable
  2. Predictable

Unpredictable trends pop out of nowhere, and brands only get a few hours or a day at most to react with creativity. These trends pass as fast as they come. Think of a meme that rises to the top, floods your wall, and then dies the next day (shocked Pikachu face).

Or think of certain news events that generate massive but short-lived buzz, like a celebrity goofing up (Donald Trump’s “chaiwala” slip-up in his speech), a much-waited product release (iPhone 11 pricy release), or a catchy song lyric that gets everyone grooving (Ariana Grande’s ‘I see it, I like it, I want it, I bought it’).

These “moments” demand marketers to constantly monitor social media and quickly jump on the bandwagon with their entries. I’ve compiled a list of case studies for this type in another blog post.

However, there’s a second type that’s much easier to play with, and that’s the predictable one. There are certain recurring yearly events that marketer’s can predict with ease, and therefore, prepare for strongly well in advance. Examples include public holidays, festivals, cultural and sports events, birthdays of famous folks, anniversaries, etc.

Brands will usually perform by celebrating the seasons/festivals with flash deals or discounts, or by wishing the birthday boys and girls in a bid to appease the celebrity’s niche fanbase. As always, the goal is to get visibility and engagement by using the relevant hashtags but only this time, you can actually see ’em coming.

So to make sure your marketing team is ready to rock and roll with this type next year, here’s an exhaustive list of predictable trends/events for the year 2021, specially made for digital marketers and social media content creators.


Seriousness of Event

Note that beside each event, I’ve placed 2 columns with a spectrum of colors. The first (red) indicates the seriousness of the event. If it’s dark red, like for “Holocaust Remembrance Day” on 27 January, you probably don’t want to get involved in it, or you’ll end up offending a large group of people and killing your reputation forever in the process. But it’s still good to be aware of these dates.

On the other hand, if the shade is light red, like for “Hug Day” on 21 January, it’s a light-hearted, fun event that you can play around with creatively. You have more freedom there. Maybe you can run a contest asking fans to post selfies of them hugging their favorite people or dogs, who knows? Hopefully COVID-19 will be behind us by then and social distancing will no longer be compulsory anymore…


Sales Value of Event

The second column (red) indicates the sales value of the event. If it’s a light lemon yellow shade, posting during the event is probably not going to generate any major revenue for you. But marketers know that sales is not the only important metric. You can still get good engagement with your creative posts, and that counts as well!

An example of this is the “Earth Hour” on 27 March, which literally focuses on turning off the phone, so good luck running a sale at that time. But you may still upload a nice post raising awareness and encouraging your users to go offline for the planet. Your fans will appreciate your presence of mind and social concern.

Conversely, the events marked as “dark ochre yellow” have high sales value. The most obvious examples are the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” sales, set to happen on 26 and 29 November next year. Many brands plan their entire quarter projects around these days, as consumers flock online to get discounts on their favourite products.

More subtle examples are fun holidays like “Pizza Day” or “Coffee Day” which celebrate certain food items. You may plan your social campaigns to cater to ardent Italian food or beverage fans during these events.

With those concepts explained, I present to you, without further ado, the digital marketer’s trends calendar for 2020.

(Short link: bit.ly/Calendar-Manik)

Hope it helps!

That concludes today’s discussion on predictable moments. Did I miss any important dates? Which ones are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!

And do share this Google Sheet calendar link with your colleagues in the industry so that we can see more wonderful and innovative content on our feeds next year!

Wish you all the best & happy creating!