After coffee every morning, brands should start the day with data visualizations for a myriad of reasons. A few of those include baseline metrics understanding, trendspotting, and competitive landscape monitoring. And here’s why they need it – and how each looks!

Baseline Metrics Mastery

“Start at the beginning” sounds like really basic advice, but in business, if you don’t start with the basics, you will end up lost in a very noisy crowd vying for a tiny segment’s attention.

Baseline metrics give savvy companies a great starting point and offer solid ground for making comparisons, offering big results when emergencies strike. And being ready for the unexpected is certainly top-of-mind, thanks to COVID-19.

Although this pandemic took everyone by surprise, brands that were checking market research had one leg up from everyone else, as they had the tools to see what was really happening across the world and across all businesses. Opportunity can strike in any circumstance if you know where to look and how to use the proper tools.

Having baseline metrics will inform many elements of a brand’s strategic planning, but two ways that are of immediate import include:

  • Identifying which topics are consistently drawing relevant media attention right now (by comparing against what was trending previously)
  • Tracking whether or not your share of voice is increasing or decreasing – and why

Below, we can see the peaks and valleys around COVID-19. Not particularly surprising, ‘Reported Cases’ (in light blue at the bottom) is the most consistently shared category:


Understanding topics that media outlets routinely cover – and which outlets are doing so, specifically, helps brands uncover ways to become part of these conversations. And that, naturally, will increase their share of voice.

Imagine, for example, you were an online learning company and suddenly, kids everywhere were about to be homeschooled. As we know, this just happened. Imagine having a hint of this months ahead of it happening? Seeing an uptick in children in China staying home and associated conversation there, and in Italy, around online learning beginning to spike months ahead of it hitting another huge market in the U.S.? That could be transformative for a brand prepared for such an extreme shift.

We can view how much the ‘homeschool’ conversation has grown in the past month in the timeline comparison graph.

It doesn’t require a pandemic nor a dramatic shift in society to make benchmarking trends a smart idea though – COVID-19 just offers many ready examples of it. And the same can be said for trendspotting, specifically when in the midst of a crisis.

Trendspotting in a Crisis

In times of great challenge, adaptation leads to innovation. Piers Fawkes, founder of retail innovation and research firm PSFK, believes that out of COVID-19 will come great things, “At times of crisis like this, we see innovation flourish.” He was referring to SARS and how that it paved the way for ecommerce growth, which coincidentally is the boat that is keeping businesses and consumers alike afloat right now.

But this couldn’t have been realized had companies not had a solid crisis communication plan ready to go. Paying attention to consumer and market indicators maters. And a good crisis communication plan should include:

  • Issue briefs
  • Goal(s)
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Informed tactics, including messaging that resonates; Key Opinion Leader identification; and, media lists to connect with

And again, this virus offers examples to emulate (and avoid). Let’s focus on crisis messaging done well.

Crisis Messaging Le Creuset-style

Le Creuset, the cookware kings, are just one example of a company who seems to have done crisis management right.

More people around the world are cooking at home and Le Creuset is showing that they aren’t late to the party. Taking to their social media outlets to connect with their consumer base, they have been posting recipes galore, specially formulated for versatile cookware like theirs – and in particular, the Dutch Oven.

Smart market research during a crisis? Perhaps. Below we can see top recipes talked about using Quid. From soups to casseroles, to baked bread, aside from comfort, they all have one thing in common, they all can be cooked, or baked, in a Dutch Oven.

Le Creuset was prepared to strike while consumers’ pans were hot. Identifying the crisis and coming up with a plan has kept them in the public eye (and mind), with helpful recipes that will serve them well beyond this current pandemic. Consumers will remember who dished up those delicious offerings during a time when comfort food was needed.

And beyond remembering who did something well, consumers will naturally gravitate toward those who do it “best.” This is where competitive understanding comes in to play.

Competitive Intelligence Understanding

Turns out, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to stay at the top. But just as Le Creuset did, you need to know what kind of wheel to offer and how to advertise it in a way that connects with consumers. Sometimes, your next big thing could be a small tweak on an existing idea, or identifying an unmet need or ‘white space.’

We can identify white space by exploring categories of conversations that consumers are sharing, and digging deeper to see what is at the heart of the needs they’re expressing:

identifying-white-space-with-tags.png?mtThe chart above shows lots of practical applications around the virus, and exploring beneath the surface of “how to prepare,” we see a theme of loneliness emerge – which is something that most people were unable to prepare for. And this is something that Instagram expertly addressed with their newly launched ‘Co-watching’.

They aren’t the first company to launch tech that allows you to connect with others via video, of course. Zoom and Netflix are leading innovators in this already. However, IG set themselves apart by filling a niche during the self-isolation phase of COVID-19.

With co-watching, Instagram filled not just a void in marketing, but a void in consumers’ daily lives. A psychological need to connect, no less. And suddenly, social distancing for Instagram users didn’t feel as lonely.

Instagram wasn’t trying to keep up with the Joneses, instead they expanded on an idea that was already out there and improved it, to the cheers of social media consumers everywhere. And isn’t that precisely what your brand needs right now? Its own little cheering section?

Be sure to capture your baseline along with competitive intelligence and you’ll be well on your way to creating one! Consistent next generation AI-powered consumer and market research are your ticket to success.Reach out for a demo and we can show you how that looks!

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