Communication methods are changing at the rate of technology, and staying on top of how brands can best reach their consumers is a rapidly moving target. The beginning of the year is a great time to pause and assess our ever-evolving PR landscape – what’s working, what’s not, and what’s coming down the pipeline. Here are the top four trends we’re predicting will be at the forefront of our PR strategies for 2016:
1) Brand transparency:
With an increasing number of opportunities for consumers to interact directly with companies, they are demanding more and more transparency from their favorite brands. According to Entrepreneur, “Companies that build authentic relationships with their customers are not only rapidly gaining market share, they’re gobbling up mind and heart share by putting buyers in control and enabling them to make better, more appropriate choices.” Consumers will focus their attention directly on brands’ marketing and communications strategies, specifically on major social and political issues.
2) True influence versus number of followers:
According to Expertcity, 70% of internet users over 18 years old say they trust third party “experts” (e.g. influencers like lifestyle or recipe bloggers) as the most-trusted sources of information when making purchase decisions. They are third in line after friends/family and online reviews. Articles and news publications came fifth in line, and brands are starting to pay attention to that shift. A 2014 study by Burst Media found that on average, marketers who implemented an influencer marketing program received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media.
3) Paid amplification:
For any initiative they do, companies are being told that they need to be churning out content in order to stay relevant and contribute to the conversation. They are responding with video, blog posts, and infographics that are designed as helpful resources to hook in potential new customers. Unfortunately, unless they are pushed out with some sort of dollars behind them, the majority of the content they’ve worked so hard on never gets seen. Why? According to the Content Promotion Manifesto by Chad Pollitt and Skyword, their content competes with 3.5 million blogs posts published weekly and 571 websites are launched, 48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded, and 347 WordPress blogs are published—every minute every day. In addition, it’s increasingly difficult for them to expand beyond their existing audience. To break through this noise, companies and their marketing agencies are tasked with coming up with new and creative ways to amplify content to reach a broader audience – and the right one.
4) Big ideas:
We’re used to companies asking advertising agencies to come up with a “big idea,” but PR agencies are now being taken to task. In a recent Holmes Report survey, 73% of in-house respondents were “more likely to approach their PR agencies for big creative ideas today than they were 12 months ago, compared to 43% last year, “suggesting that PR firms are starting to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to creative delivery.”
What are your clients asking for this year? What do you anticipate will keep your team up at night this year? Let us know in the comment section below.