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It is time to look ahead to what the New Year might have in store…

Predictions are always a tricky thing to make. Fast forward twelve months and you will either look smug or red faced – as an agency with fee paying clients, neither is particularly desirable. So rather than risk the annual prognostication gauntlet, this year we are going to suggest a couple of trends that as communications professionals, (in-house and agency-side) you might like to consider.

You can bet that trade shows and events will be on agenda for our clients in this year and one of the perennial challenges in PR and marketing is how to elevate a brand message above the crowd and thus making clients stand-out. The start of the 2016 saw a big ground-swell for VR, and while this will no doubt continue, the success of Pokémon Go (to us at least) highlights the great opportunity represented by AR from a comms perspective in 2017 too. Being less immersive and more interactive with the physical world, AR must be on the radar of comms people as a genuine tactic for events and campaigns alike in the New Year.

Content will always be king for my money, but what has changed however, is the type of content that agencies should look to be encouraging with clients in the New Year. We would definitely keep an eye out for visual storytelling trends; for example, how brands implement Instagram stories or Twitter videos into their online marketing and communications strategies – done well they can offer the ‘wow-factor’ and attract attention to core brand values and messages.

Artificial Intelligence is big news across the pantheon of global media. Whether it’s autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity or marketing orientated news, AI is here to stay and with the ‘Big 5’ all vying for a piece of the pie, with various offerings such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa & Echo, 2017 will see plenty more developments.

But have we thought of the potential of AI from a comms perspective? What if you could have a link to a chatbot at the end of an email or press release rather than a stagnant corporate boilerplate or URL to a ‘press section’ on a company’s website… wouldn’t that be different? It would certainly be something innovative and could even serve to elevate awareness of the brand over its competitors.

Finally, part of our job is to remain at the cutting edge of the comms space as it grows, morphs and changes direction. A favourite in terms of discoveries in 2016 was Medium (essentially long-form Twitter), and Ghost runs a close second!

As 2017 in upon us, keep your eyes wide open for new platforms that might provide a good fit for presenting client messages untapped to areas and audiences – it is no longer enough to simply revert to ‘type’ and the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as the social media platforms when considering campaigns.

So there you have it, 2017 in a nutshell… let us know if you agree, or indeed if you have any ideas of what you think will be big in the comms space in the New Year – we’d love to hear your opinions too!

Liberty Comms

Liberty Communications is an international public relations and marketing agency specialising in technology. Our uncompromised focus allows us to create highly effective, all-encompassing communications.

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