digital strategy

How to be trend hunter: figuring out emerging trends

{EAV_BLOG_VER:da36d18e0d868e5f}   <– ignore.  Verifying my blog for Empire Avenue

Here is a common scenario for many.   A request to identify the top destinations, gadgets, trends, etc… of the day/week/season.   This request begs the question – how do you figure out where people go, who the influencers are, what trends are emerging.   The answer takes quite a lot of time and research.  Nothing is without significant human time investment – no one tool will pump out the answer. 

My challenge in these requests is that sometimes folks can have false expectations on how long it takes to definitively come up with some answers.  Presenting the storyline takes even longer.

In a quest like this – I always ground my work into a consumer segment, then turn to multiple sources.  I am quite grateful to be well equiped and supported by good tools in my current role. 

I’m simplifying this task a bit but some of the things I do: 

  • understand which sites yield large digital audiences for specific segments, as well as growth patterns over time.  (tool = comscore)
  • understand site cross visitation for the brand, its competitors or what lens you need (tool = comscore)
  • use social listening, like Sysomos, to identify where conversations are taking places and to a certain degree, what key conversations are emerging. 
  • drill down to sources of authority and manually search for the key conversations to gain better depth on conversations. 
  • look at how this marries up to other sources such as ones that highlight consumer behaviour trends
  • if you are lucky, compare to primary research! 
  • if you are lucky, compare to decent secondary research (google insights, pew american life, etc)

To me, it is a rather fun strategy exercise.  A bit like playing tetris really.. putting the pieces together as they fall.