“From the Trenches” is a PublicRelay blog series that shares stories from our Media Analysts about the day-to-day discoveries they make working with communications professionals at Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies and more. 

As a communications professional, you move fast.  Really, really fast.

In an industry where the only constant is change, media teams need to understand news coverage in real time, predicting possibilities before they happen – and be ready to jump into action at the drop of a hat.

If we could wish any superpower for our clients, it’d be the ability to tell the future. As a next-best alternative, we utilize another day-saving tool to predict outcomes: Data.

The Story

We began working with a large telecommunications company nearly 3 years ago during a time of structural change within the industry. Companies were rethinking their standard order of business, dreaming up innovative payment plans and new ways to serve customers given an ever-evolving technological landscape.

Day in and day out tracking of this industry drew our eyes to interesting patterns such as the introduction of pay-in-installment plans. We put measures in place to track initiatives that we saw gaining momentum, so when our client called our office one afternoon desperate for metrics about a new payment plan they had introduced just hours earlier, we were set to jump into action.

Not only could we track specific coverage on the announcement in near-real-time, but we were able to provide historical comparisons across competitors. This approach revealed long-term patterns that predicted outcomes in the current round of product innovations, thereby informing our client’s strategy moving forward and enabling them to make data-driven decisions.

Shortly after, one of our analysts presented to a room of executives at the client’s headquarters, sharing the rich trend data we had developed for the client.  The Vice President of Corporate Communications looked at our analyst and said “You know our business better than 99% of the folks who work here.”

The Lesson

Although we’d like to say that this foresight came from our amazing superpowers, we know that is was the combination of the talented team we hire and the data they were able to extract from the coverage.  We’ve discovered that when you rely on quality data, it simply makes your decisions stronger.

In an industry where the only constant is change, media teams need to understand news coverage in real time, predicting possibilities before they happen.

Through patterns and quantitative facts, we can make big picture decisions that impact all of the small details. Data lends to understanding, and understanding opens you up to strategic possibilities that can truly drive success. It leads to more accurate assumptions about the future and moves us from hunches based in feeling to informed decisions rooted in a historical framework.

The trends we derived from metrics in the telecommunications world helped our client to see the areas they should be focusing their communications efforts on. It continues to influence the products and topics they draw analytics from, and the information that is reported out to their internal executive team.

Whatever solution you utilize for media monitoring, staying on top of data will help you move faster and act smarter. We may not have superpowers in real life, but utilizing data could be the untapped power you and your communications team have been hoping to discover.

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