No organization operates in a vacuum, as every business and PR executive knows. External forces can quickly influence business strategy or put a brand’s reputation at risk. That’s why the monitoring of trends and emerging issues is essential, especially for businesses that operate globally or across multiple regions. By knowing what is being said on TV or radio, businesses will be aware of changes in consumer perception and behavior.
For example, airlines, automotive manufacturers, and travel businesses are all susceptible to shifts in commodity pricing, disruptive events, or changing market conditions. A case in point is the potential impact of the price of oil, which has dropped quickly since July 2014. Some analysts are predicting the price of crude may fall further yet, to a low of $30 a barrel.
This is a boon for consumers looking to fill their gas tanks cheaply or hoping to find deals on other goods. But for the airline, automobile, and travel industries, the falling price of oil opens up new opportunities at the same time it presents new risks.
But by keeping a close eye on shifting public opinion, business executives can make timely adjustments to their strategic plans. And PR executives can manage perceptions by correcting misinformation quickly.
Television news is the dominant way Americans get their news, according to the Pew Research Center, and most people turn to local broadcasts. For industries with customers in local markets around the globe, it’s vitally important to understand exactly how issues are playing out in every region on TV.
For example, the airline industry can monitor the business and travel broadcast programs for on-air discussions about the relationship between oil prices and airfares. Airlines recently have reported big profits because of the fall in oil, but they’ve resisted lowering airfare. Clearly articulating the business reasons for this position is crucial for managing their reputations.
Local news broadcasts, in particular, can help both the airline and travel industries identify shifts in consumers’ summer travel plans. As the price of oil falls, road trips in the family car become more palatable (plus, you can bring the dog). By monitoring the morning shows and travel programs, changes in preferences can be identified early to adjust seat availability and maintain profitability.
Likewise, the hotel industry can monitor discussion and adjust rates, offer discounts, and partner with airlines or car rental companies to present more attractive travel packages.
Issues monitoring can inform the long-term business strategy of the automobile industry, too. Oil prices are expected to stay low only through the end of the year, but if that prediction changes, automotive companies could experience changes in consumer tastes. As has happened in the past, cheaper gas is likely to fuel an interest in larger vehicles.
Monitoring an issue is as important as tracking your brand name in the media. Issues that impact entire industries present a reputational risk to individual companies and potential opportunities that shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Having a good broadcast monitoring program in place is crucial as it can help businesses track changes in consumer sentiment, and uncover potential opportunities that can have positive effects on the bottom line.
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