By Maura FitzGerald, Co-Founder and Partner, Version 2.0 Communications
The pundits and their predictions were often proven wrong as the events of 2016 unfolded. In the Chinese zodiac, 2016 was the year of the monkey, that mischievous little animal that loves to play tricks on both humans and animals alike. Will 2017 prove to be just as unpredictable? It is the year of the rooster, a confident bird who enjoys the barnyard spotlight but is hard working, resourceful, often beautiful and very, very talkative. According to Chinese element theory, each zodiac year is associated with one of five elements: gold, wood, water, fire or earth. This means that 2017 is the year of the fire rooster, which occurs at 60-year intervals. Given this, the year should bring progress, but even if the disruptive pattern continues, we feel confident that you’ll see the following trends and practices continue to evolve and dominate in the coming fire rooster year.
The role of content will continue to shape and drive successful marketing campaigns. Organizations will be challenged to identify, curate and package content assets so that customers and prospects find it useful and enlightening. Why not resolve to begin 2017 by engaging in a content audit that will provide you with the complete picture of what you already have in the way of content? The results will provide the foundation on which you can build for the duration of 2017.
Speaking of content, video and live video will attract bigger and bigger audiences, who often will interact with the host or other viewers through voice, text or social media. According to Forrester Research, live video receives three times more engagement than prerecorded video, so there’s a ton of potential for brands to reach their target market. Livecasting is a great way to directly communicate information, launch products and host workshops or webinars for a global audience. The internet provides a cost-effective channel for high-quality broadcasts, and viewers watch through a variety of devices including tablets, smartphones or desktop computers. Not only that, but a library of informative broadcasts with good production values has a long shelf life and can become a cornerstone of your collection of content assets.
The definition and role of influencers will broaden this year. According to a survey by eMarketer, 84 percent of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next 12 months. No longer limited to industry analysts, influencers are defined as authentic voices that connect with customers and prospects and have established themselves as industry or trend experts through books, blogs and other channels of communication that are now available to us through the Internet. It is important to identify who these current and emerging influencers are and to educate and cultivate them so they understand your vision, your differentiators and your products.
Corporate and product news must be unassailable, based on fact and backed up by evidence and customer anecdotes. Fake news is a blight and journalists will become increasingly vigilant and demanding that we and our clients be able to prove what we claim. Customer testimonials and supporting research from reputable organizations will underscore the credibility of corporate and product announcements, as will the reputations of CEOs and corporate spokespeople.
Finally, let’s resolve to work together to bring civility and mutual respect back to public discourse. Those are qualities that sadly have disappeared from much of public dialogue in the political, professional and personal worlds. It is in our collective power to work together so that it shows up in our listing of 2017 communication trends at the end of this year.