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In the grand narrative of modern commerce, the enthralling saga of viral business trends unfolds like a series of exhilarating waves, each rising high before inevitably crashing to the shoreline of fleeting consumer interest. As a marketing academic vested in bridging the theoretical with the pragmatic, I have witnessed the dramatic ascent and precipitous fall of many such trends. The story of these meteoric rises in popularity, epitomized by the sudden proliferation of businesses such as Es Kepal Milo, Es Jagung, and Cappuccino Cincau, is one punctuated by exuberance and caution.

Our story begins with the allure of virality itself. A phenomenon catalyzed by social media's omnipresence, sweeping entire populations into a frenzy over a product. As these trends surge, siren-like, they beckon to entrepreneurs with the promise of swift profits. The narrative is enticing: minimal investment for maximal reward. Yet, within this very appeal lies the crux of the instability. A keen examination of these patterns reveals that the businesses that often follow the siren song of trends lack a sustainable model. They thrive on novelty, not longevity. Their lifeblood is the rush of the new, which, while potent, is alarmingly ephemeral.

Imbued with a theoretical lens, we might explore the phenomenon through Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations theory, which suggests that an innovation spreads through certain communication channels over time among the members of a social system. The business models based on viral trends accelerate through the early adopter phase but struggle to sustain the momentum needed to reach the late majority and laggards. The rapid saturation of the market contributes to a swift decline in interest and, consequently, in sales.

Es Kepal Milo in Malaysia (Credit : Google)

Practically speaking, these businesses are also confronted with the inherent challenge of differentiation. The low entry barriers contribute to a saturated market, diminishing individual businesses' ability to stand out once the initial wave of interest subsides. Furthermore, copycat models are particularly sensitive to shifts in consumer tastes, itself an increasingly volatile element in a world where social media dictates the ebb and flow of trends.

So, how then can purveyors of viral businesses flip the script to compose a tale of duration rather than a brief episodic splash? The solutions are woven within both the theoretical frameworks of marketing and the innovative spirit that ignites these trends.

Firstly, it is paramount that businesses extending from viral trends embrace the concept of adaptation. Much like the fabled chameleon, these businesses must evolve with the shifting landscapes of consumer demand. This means investing thought and resources into product development and diversification, preventing stagnation and encouraging customers to return even when the trend wanes.

Secondly, leveraging the concept of the unique selling proposition (USP) helps businesses to transcend the commoditization trap. This necessitates a deep dive into what makes the business's offering distinct and compelling beyond the initial buzz. It might be a focus on quality, customization, customer experience, ethical sourcing, or another element that aligns with the values and interests of the target market.

Building a strong brand is critical. A brand is not merely a logo or a name, but the sum of all interactions and experiences a customer has with the business. Strong branding resonates with customers on an emotional level, engendering loyalty that outlasts the product's trendiness.

Lastly, a forward-thinking business model must incorporate a commitment to community and customer engagement. Establishing a dialogue with consumers fosters a sense of involvement and investment in the brand's journey. In a world saturated with fleeting digital encounters, the human touch can grant a viral business the longevity it seeks.


While the siren song of viral trends is seductive, it behooves businesses to compose their narratives with foresight. Pursuing viral-based business must transcend the transient, blending the theoretical wisdom of innovation diffusion and unique value propositions with practical strategies for adaptation, differentiation, branding, and community engagement. Thus, entrepreneurs can chart a course towards enduring success, riding the waves of virality towards a perennial legacy rather than a footprint left in the shifting sands of trends.


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