PR trends that brands shouldn't ignore in 2017
Time runs fast, and as many other things Public Relations and the overall way of communication have gone through an amazing transformation over the past years, according to Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director, JPd Agency.
To stay ahead of changes businesses must continuously adapt, be it how they operate, motivate their team, manage finances or conduct communications with their target audience. While advertising and more traditional ways of communication are losing consumers’ trust, businesses that master the new ways of connecting with their audience will continue to evolve.
So what are some of the fast-growing trends that brands shouldn’t ignore?
The power of personal branding and thought leadership
While reports show that consumers in the GCC region are the most active media users globally, spending almost 10.9 hours a day consuming media content, it doesn’t mean that they will trust your messages right away. To earn that trust brands need to start tailoring the information when addressing their particular key audience as well as be knowledgeable, experienced, and useful in everything that they share. Bearing this in mind, one of the newest PR trends, especially for those who operate in the B2B sphere, is to become a thought leader. Top executives can get noticed and respected by showing that they are an authority on a particular subject. People like to connect with people, and they can easier connect with your business as well if you tell its story. There are many ways how people in business can establish themselves as thought leaders – by giving an interview or publishing educational articles, opinion pieces or even blog posts and videos that can be of interest to their audience. It all helps build authority more naturally.
Researchers state that human attention span has shortened to 15-20 seconds due to heavy use of digital technologies. Our lives are more digitally affected than ever before and people prefer to read less and consume the information more in a visual way. But how many brands are ready to provide information in this way? This is one of the reasons to start paying more attention to developing visual content in 2017–through graphs, diagrams, images, slideshows or video clips.
Influencers vs. media
While consumers’ trust in advertising has dropped significantly, traditional media that doesn’t innovate start losing its influence as well. The new generation of ‘prosumers’ or proactive consumers tend to put their trust in someone who is alike. The Nielsen survey confirms these trends as well stating that 92 per cent of us trust recommendations from individuals we may not even personally know! Eight in ten global respondents say they completely or somewhat trust word-of-mouth as well as the recommendations of friends and family. Thus, influencers and bloggers become a new more effective alternative to media and an integral part of any marketing campaign. This means that if brands do not consider including an influencer marketing programme into their communication plans for 2017, they risk being left behind.
Digital is the new king
Brochures, catalogues, and informational sheets about your company are becoming a thing of the past. The ‘era of mobile first’ dictates its rules with mobile, apps, internet and social media to be the first touch points and a way of life for many people. As communication evolves and transforms, it’s important for brands to understand how the digital world is organised and to take benefits of the latest technologies to transfer messages to their key audience. Is your website up and running well? Do you invest in online marketing to connect with your potential customers? Is information about your company easily accessible online via your social media channels, media platforms etc.? Whether you operate in B2B or B2C, make sure your business is present online and strategically connected with your key audience. There are tonnes of opportunities out there.
Human era communication
With the rise of social media, consumers are now more empowered than ever before and prefer to communicate with brands directly. Bearing in mind this more personalised way of communication, businesses should remember that they cannot be robotic anymore and need to adopt more human features. They should change the way how they talk with their consumers (through a website, social media channels, phone etc.) and tailor their messages even more so to be heard and be able to address their customers’ needs. Communication requires a bit different approach now – one that touches on human emotions and habits. While words like ‘leading’ and ‘innovative’ have been popular, now the latest trend for brands is to simply be human.