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Jumping into a Trend Early & Amplifying It with KOLs

If you want to stay ahead of emerging trends, your social media analytics has to look past what’s happening now and dig through the conversations springing up on the outskirts. You’ve got to read the whole room, so to speak. What’s driving conversational sentiment today was built on yesterday’s talking points.

Of course, you need to keep up with the big picture for your day-to-day brand awareness, but getting into the peripheral dialogues is where new ideas are born. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of jumping into a trend early and amplifying it with KOL conversations.

Specifically, we’ll approach the topic through the developing loungewear trend with a focus on:

  • Getting comfortable spotting emerging trends
  • Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are everywhere
  • Loungewear for the home office win

And pivoting to catch an emerging trend in its infancy can pay off big time by capturing market share early. Here are a few of last year’s trends that saw meteoric growth:

  • Internationally, the food delivery market saw a shift in its favor, growing in 2020 by 27% over 2019 with the expectation to expand an additional 15% this year.
  • Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) shot up globally by 39% amidst the broader automotive sector, which retracted by 14%.
  • Even as real-world sporting events came back, esports has retained its booming popularity and ended 2020 with streaming numbers up 69% over 2019.

2021 KOL Industry Report CTA

Getting Comfortable Spotting Emerging Trends

Finding emerging trends within a market can sometimes feel like finding the needle in a haystack. But the thing is, whether the conversation begins off in the periphery, detached from the main topic clusters within your market, or buried within – they have to begin somewhere, and they’re closer than you think.

They say if you want to catch a fish, you have to think like a fish. And the same idea carries over to spotting emerging trends within a network influenced by numerous external and internal forces. In other words, with the pandemic causing a change in consumers’ work/life balance, they are going to adapt to the point of least resistance. Catching trends is finding where that point begins through focused market research.

We saw this in action with the growing demand for contactless food delivery, ecommerce instead of retail and the shift by many to work from home. Those are prominent examples because they served pressing needs, but what about slower moving, less apparent trends?

That’s where using a forward-thinking approach to social media listening is necessary to uncover developing conversations that aren’t yet mainstream. For example, throughout the pandemic, people have joked about wearing sweatpants with a button-up shirt or blouse to appear professional in their online meetings. It begs the question, with so many working from home or out of work – how have people’s wardrobe choices changed? To get the answer, we’d naturally run an analysis on the fashion industry. Here’s that market on the network map from January to September of last year.

conversation-showing-emerging-trends-in-fashion

And while most of the industry was pivoting towards the most pressing pandemic concerns, here’s the budding loungewear conversation contained within.

most-pressing-pandemic-concerns-conversations

As you can see, it’s super small. But now that we’ve isolated the conversation, we can move on to the next step.

Key Opinion Leaders Are Everywhere

We already know that people’s lifestyles have changed drastically, and we can confidently assume that no one is wearing pantsuits at home. And since we’ve affirmed there’s a conversation taking place around the topic of loungewear, it’s time to find who the key opinion leaders are in the space.

We know that KOLs can have drastic impacts on the movement of markets, so it’s crucial to identify the most influential voices around any emerging trend.

And Quid Apps is just the tool to find them quickly using the key opinion leader identification feature. Doing so with loungewear serves up the top KOLs in the space where we can sort through them based on rank and traction. As you can see on the scatterplot, Kim Kardashian is way out there by mention count and sitting at about the midpoint on social engagement.

KOL-person-from-Quid-Apps

Other notable KOLs on the list include Victoria Beckham, Hailey Bieber and fashion designer Tory Burch. And while you’re at it, why not create an influencer identification dashboard in the NetBase product to get up to speed on top influencers, trending terms/hashtags and shared content? It’s a super quick way to get your social listening tuned in to the movers and shakers in any industry.

influencer-identification-dashboard

Loungewear for the Home Office Win

Loungewear, pajamas and comfy clothes have always been with us, but this time last year, it didn’t warrant widespread conversation. It was still a niche product you had but never talked about.

Well, all that’s changed thanks to the pandemic. Since many are spending so much time at home, loungewear holds a special place in people’s hearts. Judging by our consumer analysis, they absolutely love it. And since everybody’s doing it, they’re all talking about it in unprecedented numbers. As you can see below, sentiment is through the roof at 88% on a scale of -100 to 100.

loungewear-sentiment-analysis-with-keywords

Loungewear is an emerging trend that grew organically and under the radar of many. Beforehand, people were accustomed to falling on the spectrum between pajamas and athleisure. Our consumer behavior research indicates that neither of those quite fit the bill for working from home as loungewear does. As you can see, some brands still haven’t gotten the memo.

athliesurewear-as-thing-of-the-past

But as the pandemic took hold, some designers found their best-selling items weren’t moving like they used to. Consumer buying behavior shifted because needs and wants were changing, and hearing the growing conversations around loungewear, they pivoted to meet the demand in a formerly niche category.

However, judging by the names that showed up on the key opinion leaders list and top influencer analysis, loungewear has found the light of day for at least the foreseeable future. As a matter of fact, Kim Kardashian, who ranked number one in our KOLs, just released her new loungewear collection earlier this month.

kim-kardashian's-loungewear

No matter what industry you’re in, the next emerging trend is already gaining traction online. All it takes to coax it out of hiding is a little determination and forward-thinking … and some great social media analytics tools, of course!

Is your brand actively identifying the emerging trends in your category? We help top brands uncover those discussions and pinpoint their KOLs so they can pivot and drive the narrative. Be sure to reach out for a demo, and we’ll make sure you’re not outfitted in yesterday’s outdated intel.

2021 KOL Industry Report CTA

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