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Proving a trend

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Proving a trend

What do lidocaine feet sprays, rubber birds on Jeeps and latte make-up have in common?

They are (at least were) all trends according to Google alerts received last week — most of them hailing from the morass that is TikTok. So too grimace shakes and delusionships. Actually, this conveyor-belt pronouncing of trends is itself a trend; in fact, trends are a trend!

Last week too, one press release told me that a region of one European country was “increasingly popular”. Perhaps it is, but there was zero hard evidence to back up the claim. I could just as well declare Bosnia or Bermuda to be de rigueur — without proof, each boast has the same strength.

And proof is what’s needed for a freelancer like me to take the trend to an editor. Ideally statistics — year-on-year bookings rising by a considerable percentage, say — or a glut of new flight routes. The old adage that “three makes a trend” is always a good one to remember: if a trio of exciting restaurants or hotels opens in an unheralded area, then that place is in vogue.

Failing that, you could point to a recent university study or celebrity endorsement. Citing a trend declared in another publication can also be persuasive, but do beware that rival media groups won’t want to promote or replicate each other.

Social media trends are least reliable; they’re hard to verify — hashtags come and go, plus there are so many clickbaity websites keen to announce anything as a fad — and so numerous and fleeting. The trick is working out if one has an air of permanence, and will be relevant to a wide range of people. That rules out lidocaine feet sprays, rubber birds on Jeeps and latte make-up.

What Richard Thinks…

“While the first paragraph of this Consumer Choice Center could get to the news quicker, I like its to-the-point headline and restrained use of bold type.”

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