What do we do? Follow the trends!

On the BadPitch blog, I found an interesting post all about following trends. By the way, if you haven’t starting read this blog yet, you should. It’s full of amazing and fun insight. Side note over. Anyways, the author of the post says we’re all looking for one thing: what is going to help us improve in the workplace? Why, follow the trends, of course!

I feel like some of you may be saying, duh Whitney, we’re in PR! It’s true that PR pros have done a much better job of following trends than our trusty journalism pals. However, we can always do better. This starts by identifying trends. Trends happen quickly and demonstrate widespread change. The author isn’t talking about a fad that will come in and out of existence before we even notice it. But, if we happen to miss these important trends, we are out of luck.

According to the author, here’s how we can begin to spot trends:

1. Pay attention to people you believe in. Get in touch and ask questions.

2. Ask really good (and useful) questions. Have total belief in your sources and make them know this.

3. Find visionaries who can teach you new ideas, and try to tell them one thing they weren’t aware of. People who are true visionaries know they can take a new person’s idea to another level. So they are thankful to respond to your call/e-mail. It’s important to learn to recognize the difference between true visionaries and slick BS.

4. Be aware of where life is going. Pay attention to the signs that something — big change — is on the horizon.

5. Great trendspotters are always evolving, learning, and growing. Remember that Italian class you’re always thinking of taking? Right.

6. Don’t just read the Arts section. Be well-rounded. In marketing, and in life, nothing succeeds (even success) like a person who is knowledgeable and, er, interesting. And stuff.

The gist of this is… stay attentive and LISTEN. Don’t be afraid to get in there and ask questions. I also really like what he says about being well-rounded people. If we focus on only what we are good at, we will miss out on lots of important trends.

How do you think PR people can be better at following these trends? Are you at all against this idea because you feel it takes away from individualism? Please support your ideas if so!

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4 Responses to What do we do? Follow the trends!

  1. ekozak says:

    Following trends is just another way of conducting continuous research for your client. With all of the new social media tools, it is pretty easy to follow trends. Before you even login to Twitter, the screen shows the popular topics of the moment.

    However, once you identify a trend, the challenge is to use it to work for your client, whether that means creating a new promotion based around that trend or pitching your client as an expert in the field. For example, by using some search analytics programs, you might find that people who search for hotels in Arizona are also searching for Mexican food restaurants and jeep tours. Well, a hotel could easily create a package that incorporates those elements.

    Also, it is important to realize that often the media is only interested in a “trend” when it is new. Once it becomes to mainstream, it is no longer newsworthy. So the key is to spot the trends and react to them appropriate and in a timely manner. Or if you are really good – create the trend!

  2. astrazzara says:

    I think it’s incredibly important to always be asking questions. It’s impossible for us to know everything, but we should always be open to the idea of listening and learning from others. As PR pros it’s our job to stay ahead of the curve and know upcoming trends. We need to stay atop trends to learn them first, that way we can teach our clients. Imagine being a PR pro who didn’t see their client’s PR crisis in the business section of CNN because you don’t read the business section? That would be embarrassing, after all it’s up to us to keep our eyes and ears constantly open. Be well-versed because knowing a little bit about a vast array of topics will always come in handy.

  3. sclarke says:

    I agree that this all ties in with doing your research. We have to know what is going on around not only us but other cultures as well. We think we may know the latest fashion trend and that it ends there. But the truth is, there’s so much more to it. New trends also makes me think about the ever evolving social media trend. There are companies that still have no idea how to use Twitter. This is something that we need to be aware of when we enter the work force. We need to make sure we know what’s going on around us and how it effects us.

  4. mkuhl says:

    I think that when it comes to following trends, there isn’t a clear answer. It’s not as simple as a yes/no or black/white type of solution. I think some companies need to follow some trends and need to stay away from others. The main thing I think to take away from this is to be aware of all of the trends, and know which ones are relative to your company or your campaign. I do think it is important to also be innovative and be able to come up with ideas, tactics and strategies that are creative and unique. It’s kind of like the way the author talks about being innovative in the book, Tribes that we read for class. So I think the be the best PR representative, we need to be aware of all the trends going on, use the right ones for our company/campaign, but still come up with creative new ideas.

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