By Kathryn McLean
Public Relations is a trends-based industry and it’s important to remain on top of what is new and relevant in every aspect of your work. Here are some ways that we spot trends!
1.Follow influential figures in your industry
It may seem like an obvious point but watching and listening to people across social media (and IRL) is an effective way of noticing trends as they develop within an industry. Pay attention to what they are talking about, who they are talking to and what content they’re sharing, and you’ll begin to notice momentum in ideas and behaviours as they grow. Of course, the “Trending” sections of social media platforms are important, but we also want to be capturing trends as they are on the way up, so being tuned into people and innovative companies is a way to do that.
2. Watch, read, listen…. leverage
Actively watch, read and listen to news and content within your industry, including from industry publications. In particular, look out for news on innovations, highly successful campaigns, developments in ways of working and tools. Watch what is happening internationally and look for ways to bring international concepts and practices to our shores.
3. Ask for and commission data
Data that demonstrates change whether it’s in consumer behaviour, business growth or industry direction can help in capturing the attention of media. Many of our clients have access to data, gathered through sales, sign-ups or attendance, that we review to determine trends that are emerging. For example, a 50% increase in sign-ups by Gen Z to fitness studios demonstrates a trend of Gen Z becoming more interested in fitness.
4. Google Trends
Google continues to be a powerhouse of information and harnessing Google Trends is a great way to understand what people are interested in and searching for in your local region. We regularly review the most searched topics and brands across our industries and use what we uncover to develop trend-driven storytelling. Another search listening tool is Answer The Public which offers insights into what questions are being asked by the public through Google.
5. Be a first adopter
The best way to recognise and understand a trend is to be a first adopter. When there are developments in technology such as social media, for example, it’s important to be using the technology to be able to provide first-hand experience and consultation to clients. Of course, you don’t need to try every trend (please don’t) but jumping on board and immersing yourself in trends that show potential to revolutionise the industry is crucial. Being a first adopter will also help in remaining relevant with new and younger audiences.
Being one of the first to unearth a trend can be a powerful tool to grow and develop a story and also demonstrate your passion for your industry. Be as connected as possible to the people, concepts and things that are making waves and use your research and intuition to your advantage.