Big trends for communications in 2018
Artificial intelligence, video, stakeholder engagement and the need to build trust will all be key tools and tactics in professional communications in 2018.
Every day in communications brings a shiny new thing, but what are the trends that will shape your strategic conversations this year? We asked some of Cannings Purple’s leaders to predict which communications tactics and trends will dominate in 2018.
Managing Director Warrick Hazeldine: Brands will go all out to build trust and confidence.
“With confidence in the corporate voice at an all-time low, the key issue for businesses in 2018 will be how they build trust with their stakeholders. I think this will take many forms, but should start with education programs at the grass roots level. Companies need to start telling their stories to the communities in which they work in a more authentic manner to ensure there’s a better grasp of the economic and social contributions they make.
“I also expect a continuation of the highly effective "pop-up campaigning” which can help special interest groups use integrated communications strategies to deliver change.
“Finally, there are some broader issues which companies should be engaging with in 2018 – these are the conversations that matter, and we all need to participate in the debate which is being had externally:
• cybersecurity breaches and who responds well
• euthanasia debated on a national level
• sustainable extractive mining trends
• renewable energy and the impacts of battery storage on consumers
• lack of trust in the corporate, political and legal framework
• fast-moving companies that demonstrate action to win trust will be rewarded by consumers
• driven by China's continuing growth, will the ASX outpace the US and other indices?”
Digital Director Jamie Wilkinson: Video will evolve.
“If 2017 was the coming-of-age year for video (don’t forget, video will make up 80% of internet traffic by 2020), 2018 is likely to be all about how the delivery of that video content is optimised to reach the right people.
“Social platforms already have incredibly powerful tools to target individuals, but the introduction of AI and machine learning is radically improving the effectiveness of video and other rich content.
“Platforms like Albert automatically learn which content works best for which audiences, and then tweak which messages are seen by which audiences in real time to deliver truly astonishing results.
“We’ll still need good and talented creative people to build the content in the first place, but there’s a lot of value to be found in understanding how new AI technologies can further improve the targeting of those messages.
“The other interesting area where I expect to see increased activity is in employee advocacy. Given the lack of confidence in the corporate voice, utilising staff to share positive stories is a really simple tool to increase reach, yet most companies aren’t doing this very well yet.”
Government Relations Director Astrid Serventy: Data will drive political campaigning.
“The use of big data in political campaigns in Australia will continue – watch out for the next Federal Election and the use of techniques seen in the previous US election to inform communications decisions.
“Social media’s continuing influence in political debate will come under increasing scrutiny. It’s good to see Facebook begin to tackle the issue of “fake news” but more needs to be done.
“That said, from a government perspective, human relationships will still be the key to developing strong engagement.”
CEO Annette Ellis: Stakeholder-group activism will grow
“Disenfranchised groups who are increasingly comfortable with social channels will continue to flex their collective voice and influence. This will see disruption in the corporate space as investors and communities exercise greater sway over corporate decisions.
“Securing social licence will be a trickier task in the year ahead – this comes back to the issue of corporate trust and whether businesses are doing enough to explain the benefits they provide to the wider community.
“And in the political arena, I expect the major parties to come under pressure from increasingly frustrated constituents. Pollies will feel the disruption as their once-staunch supporters vote with their feet.”
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