For Future Trends, Look to Your Past

As a PR pro you’re always looking for the next big thing. It’s only natural – no PR campaign can last forever, and you know looking to the future means you’ll have a less stressful time than if you’re caught off guard when your audience rejects something that’s always worked.

But what is the “next big thing?” If you’ve worked in PR for more than a day you know trying to predict that is like trying to catch flies with chopsticks like Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. He makes it look so easy, but you know there’s just some Hollywood magic or something behind it!

Instead of taking a shot in the dark, look to your own company’s past for an idea how you can capture some of that magic. You’ve had success in the past for a reason – why not use some of that info to make a better tomorrow?

Look for the High Spots 

Directly pulling an old campaign out of the drawer hardly ever works. Even when Orville Redenbacher re-aired old commercials they still bookended them with modern day scenes so people didn’t get confused (thinking they’d been miraculously transported back in time, for instance). So just trying to sell your products through the same old means won’t do the trick.

However, certain lessons can be pulled from what worked back in the day. What element of those campaigns was the “spark” that got the public all riled up? Was it the connection they felt toward your company or the product itself? Was it the blazing innovation you showed in the early days; innovation that may have waned since?

Whatever it was, try to nail it down. There’s bound to be a common thread you can grab on to. It may be “strong writing” or “playful nature” or even something totally unexpected like “deadly seriousness and straightforward speech” when you’re selling something like toys. 

Go Over the Bumpy Areas 

We all love looking back at the good times, because they remind us when we were successful. However, the good times are just half of the equation. You had to go through the bad times as well in order to make it big. Plus, just like in life, you probably learned more through the rough patches than you did when you were smiling all the time.

The advice for looking at formerly successful campaigns works here. What is the common thread throughout your failures? Did you go a little overboard with “go big or go home?” Or perhaps you went a little too small and didn’t give your customers anything to cling to?

Again find that common thread and see what made those campaigns fall on their respective faces. Honestly, this one might be a little easier to do, as it’s simpler to find what went wrong than it is to find out what went right. Both are extremely useful, though, and may just give you an idea where you can go in the future.

Which of your former campaigns would be good for a retooling?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here:

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