December 14, 2016 / by Adelle Archer

PR professionals serve as the voice of the market for their companies, and work to be first to know when important trends emerge so they can provide thoughtful analysis and make strategic moves to respond to or capitalize on news. The amount of research and time it takes to be on top of the most lucrative trends has grown immensely as journalist, bloggers, and publications multiply exponentially. Google alerts can only get you so far.

In understanding this part of PR, TrendKite has launched Spike Alerts, a powerful intelligence capability that makes trend detection possible in a way that’s impossible without the assist of technology. Using artificial intelligence to navigate millions of articles per minute and detect unusual spikes in your brand, competitor, or industry coverage, TrendKite alerts you of the spike and prepares you to swiftly analyze and report it.

AlertsIconGIF2.gifAs PR professionals inundated by an ever-rising tide of media, we’ve all had the experience of being tapped on the shoulder by someone who’s seen important coverage about your brand or competitor that you hadn’t yet seen. Imagine if, instead of coming from your boss or your CEO, that tap on the shoulder came from a helpful co-worker offering suggestions on how to respond.


Your helpful co-worker can’t reliably catch every pattern and trend, though, because media data is so large and unwieldy today. That’s why we used artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to create spike alerts for you.

SpikeAlerts1 3.png

Even if it were possible to catch everything, humans naturally take shortcuts. For example, they’re prone to confirmation bias (seeing evidence that supports their existing beliefs), whereas machines crunching all the data will tell us the truth. Additionally, it may seem like your competitor’s new product launch was a big deal, but if you don’t receive a spike alert about it, it may be more of a tempest in a teapot than a media hurricane. So spike alerts do more than capture trends; they also help you understand what does and doesn’t matter.


Helping PR pros become more effective in all aspects of detection and taking action, TrendKite can now notify users of significant, anomalous groundswells in coverage around events like competitive product launches, major conference announcements, or large industry reveals. TrendKite also curates the coverage involved in the spike, and auto-tags it so it’s easy to report on. Unlike daily alerts, spike alerts are reserved for major trends you can’t afford to miss, and equips you to effectively respond to them.  SpikeAlerts1 2.png

A few example spikes TrendKite could advise you on:

  • A competitive product launch picked up extraordinary momentum
  • A topic or issue begins trending in your industry
  • When crisis coverage starts to go viral


This is the first in a series of new intelligence capabilities that TrendKite will be launching, which are all powered by our proprietary Insight Engine, our technology that detects patterns among the equivalent of 3 million days of coverage. By comparison, a human would have to examine almost 500,000 articles per minute to get a similar result.


When do I need to pay attention to trends?  

Let’s look at a couple use cases where spike alerts is vital.


Competitor Product Launch

For a competitive product launch, spike alerts can give you the information you need to make sure you take full advantage of the press around your competitor.

For example, let's say TrendKite caught the new spring line campaign Mango's competitor Zara announced and saw it was starting to pick up media volume at an increasing velocity. TrendKite would notify Mango in real-time so they could quickly react. Mango would be able to get a competitive response out about their new spring line release, and to target Zara's spring line campaign content with banner ads.


Major Industry Conference Announcement

If you get a Spike Alert about a conference, that means it’s a BIG topic of conversation, and you should care very much how you are appearing in event-related coverage, and capitalize on any opportunity to join in on the conversation about the conference.


A few tips:

  • Track how your brand versus your competitors are doing at getting mentioned along with conference coverage
  • Set up a dashboard to compare your coverage before, during, and after the conference
  • Track anyone from your brand who is speaking or presenting at the event


Large Industry Reveal

Some examples of a large industry reveal that come through in a Spike Alert could be an FDA restriction that would impact a food company, or a government legislation that impacts companies working with solar power. It’s important to track the progress of these conversations because they could have major implications for your business, and if you have in-house experts on the topic, it could also be a great opportunity to get involved in the conversation. This is also a great time to get involved in the social conversation happening around the industry reveal.


Brand Crisis

There has been a crisis involving your brand. At what point do you need to do something? This is a very powerful use case for spike alerts, because it serves as the green light for you to kick off a reactive crisis comms plan. In many cases, you don’t want to do anything about a crisis because it could die down; but if you get a spike alert, that means coverage is massively trending, and it’s time for you to speak up.  


If you decide to respond, here are some things you can do:

  • Find negative coverage: search for negative articles that have been heavily shared and reach out to those journalists to give them your side of the story

Monitor how your response affects the news cycle by creating a report on the crisis (and bounce back). Take a look at our Chipotle report for an example of this.




TrendKite's PR analytics work to lessen the burden on PR professionals and provide them with automated tools and services that keep them out of spreadsheets, allowing pros to work more strategically with the information and data they’ve been given. And you need technology to uplevel your ability to detect trends and patterns for you because you can't do it manually. If this sounds like something you need to elevate your PR efforts, let’s chat!

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