The PRCA has launched the following 17 recommendations for great communications in 2017, following a review of insights and blogposts from senior PRCA members including its PR and Communications Council and Board of Management.
1. Fake news
While 2016 saw much discussion of political fake news, in future businesses will also be subject of aggressive campaigns based on misinformation. The need for intensive social media monitoring, rapid rebuttal, flexibility and empowerment of frontline communicators has never been greater.
2. Reputation and trust
Cynicism about corporations is high, and every board should consider if it is close enough to the needs of society. For challenger brands, there is a huge opportunity to displace established players by questioning their motives and actions.
3. Brand identity
Brexit and Donald Trump have illuminated profound differences in how chunks of the population view themselves and, notably, how they associate with different brands. Brands are going to have to work out how their identity deals with this new cleavage.
4. The political bifurcation of social media
Established social media brands are under pressure to police their communities more closely, and so many on the political extremes are seeking alternative platforms. This means that left and right wing social media echo chambers won’t just form around different hashtags, but in entirely different places.
After periods of political upheaval, societies normally conspire to offer fresh means of escapism. People will be seeking adventure, new experiences, creativity and self-improvement. We should create campaigns that resonate with this urge.
6. Digital detox
Not only will people seek escapism, but there will be an increased shift of some away from their screens and back to base communication, creating a challenge – and potentially an opportunity – for brands.
7. Purpose at heart
Consumers want to see authentic purpose as part of any brand’s ethos. Brands that win hearts and minds this year will have purpose at the heart of what they do.
8. Live streaming
The move towards streaming content meets the demand for ‘in the moment content’, offering brands the opportunity for more immersive experiences for their audiences.
9. Augmented Reality
Following Pokémon Go, Augmented Reality holds huge potential for consumer brands with games, ads and apps helping to reinvigorate the market.
10. PR automation
Big data + machine learning + AI = an incredible opportunity for the whole PR and communications industry. Out go the laborious tasks of yesteryear, meaning that practitioners can focus on strategising.
11. Social media advertising
With the news that digital will overtake TV spend, 2016 saw Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram develop their ad platforms and this is likely to continue in 2017, despite the rise of ad blockers.
12. The premiumisation of journalism
The next generation of journalists moving into communications won’t be hired for their contacts book but for their ability to construct engrossing stories and get under the skin of issues. The best writers and documentary makers, with proven track records of building social communities, will be fought over.
13. Consolidation and co-operation
Clients are looking for consolidation of their marketing and communications spend across the board. Agencies need to be responsive to this need whilst simultaneously not damaging their business, creativity and licence to operate.
14. Overseas budgets will go further
When Article 50 is triggered, the pound will inevitably take a hit. A weaker pound means that budgets from overseas companies will go further than before, so we may see greater investment from international businesses.
15. Filling the skills gap
Recruitment will be a key issue again in 2017 as the industry maintains its growth. The need to constantly train and develop our skills base will be a key focus, and will help to set consultancies apart from each other.
16. Work/life balance
It would benefit our industry if comms professionals are given opportunities to explore an interest outside of work. We should also encourage talent to get into a fresh headspace via flexible working.
17. Diversity more relevant than ever
In 2016 we saw clients announce they would only work with agencies that have a diversity plan. This should be a wake-up call to all of us to improve diversity of talent.
Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 48 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.
What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.
How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.