It’s every brand’s holy grail: identify coveted whitespace in your category and present a distinguishable narrative that elevates your voice above the media clutter.
This is easier said than done, of course. In order for brands to truly own the next big topic, PR and communications professionals can’t just meet consumers where they are today and expect to be successful. They have to actively anticipate where things are heading, and smartly capitalize on shifts before everyone else has an opinion.
Fortunately, the insights world offers a valuable tool in the form of Trendscans: a Cultural Insights approach that explores how market forces and trends influence perspectives and decision making. Trendscans (and the broader discipline of Cultural Insights) expose the slow and often invisible cultural shifts that influence the way consumers live, think, behave, and believe. This approach gives PR and communications professionals an opportunity to understand the conversations happening around any topic that a brand wants to be associated with, and uncovers category narratives that are still emerging.
In the communications arena, savvy PR pros are tapping Cultural Insights (CI) to help inspire where a brand can take its next narrative. Combined with a traditional PR poll (online survey), consumer voices can then validate what Trendscans have identified and uncover newsworthy nuances around given trends.
So, how can Trendscans fuel YOUR next communications initiative?
Here are four exciting ways this approach can help brands and their communications teams own media trends:
- Make sense of complexity
Trendscans gives shape to something amorphous and provides your team with an initial framework for talking about complex, multi-faceted topics like entertainment, health, work, beauty, and finance – pointing to an area within each that can be worth exploring. This is especially valuable as most of these topics are covered time and time again, yet have cultural connotations and expectations that are ever-evolving.
A Trendscan can unpack these rich yet complex topics to provide a common framework for the team to get on the same page, make crucial decisions, and start charting a path forward.
- Develop better ideas (by taking an ideas-led approach)
A Trendscan helps you get more diverse ideas on the table at the beginning of your brainstorm session, and is designed to elevate top contender ideas so you end up with something that’s truly differentiated from your competitors.
What’s more, Cultural Insights experts know how to mine the world outside the immediate category for provocative, future-facing ideas. Combined with an expert Communications partner who can design newsworthy studies, you can then shape those ideas into relevant, powerful, public-ready messages.
- Expand your horizon beyond your home market(s)
Trendscans give you an outside-in perspective on international markets, where the core values might be vastly different and/or culture-changing trends are in different stages of evolution (and not to mention, where associations with one nation can help or hurt a brand).
For example, the Unites States’ recent decline in reputation is becoming a huge issue that Communications professionals are in the best position to address. This shift is relevant for globally distributed US-based brands whose messaging is implicitly or explicitly tied to nationality.
- Keep your brand looking forward
A Trendscan connects the dots between mainstream and cutting edge… and beyond. It helps companies identify topic areas that feel new and not yet saturated, but with enough mainstream potential that it’ll be relevant to the masses. After all, the last thing a Communications team wants is to get stuck in the past or inadvertently share the same narrative again and again.
How It Works
We’re big fans of this approach at Kelton because it helps our clients publish newsworthy narratives that can both perform in the shorter term and stand the test of time. Here’s a snapshot of how our Communications and PR clients typically use Trendscans to help them determine which ownable narratives will help them stand out within their given category in the present, and what’s pulling us into the future.
Consumers are and will always be an important part of the mix when it comes to crafting newsworthy messaging – but they aren’t the only (or even necessarily the best) place where ideas come from. Building a foundation of Trendscan work into a Communications initiative is the best possible way to make sure your brand stands above the rest as a category leader – today and tomorrow.