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PR trends to watch in 2016

Pema Seely, Client Director

The ability to develop and deliver great communications roots itself in the ability to adapt and change to the world around us. Without this, we’d quickly meet the same fate as our dinosaur friends.

The PRCA 2016 recently debated the biggest trends that are facing our industry for 2016. Our own MD, Kirsty Leighton was part of this discussion.

Rather than rattle off a long list, we’ve picked our top communications trends to watch for 2016.

1) Without doubt, creativity remains key. As we’ve seen, creativity at speed can be both a challenge and an opportunity. The ability to spot opportunities and respond in real-time can prove to be hugely beneficially if done from a credible point of view.

2) The pitfall in marketing communications, is ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ at any and every opportunity. Businesses must remain authentic to who they are or risk losing the audiences interest and belief. Always-on doesn’t mean always publishing.

3) Connected to this trend, is the increasing need to be able to interrogate and analyse data. Our clients still want big ideas but increasingly they want them evidenced by data. It’s this mix of traditional skills with data analytics that will produce campaigns that will cut through the noise.

4) Over the course of 2016, audiences will increasingly want to understand a brand’s true social purpose. As a business before undertaking a new CSR project, question yourself: why are you doing it? What is your objective? What change are you trying to create? Increasingly the ‘say/do gap’ will be scrutinised and there are rarely winners when this happen.

5) Reflecting over 2015, those organisations that have failed to be transparent in a crisis were the biggest losers. Crisis is not something we can avoid however a good response will create a lasting impression. Simplicity, transparency and humility are crucial to this. A recent study, commissioned over a 30 year period, found that companies who were seen to handle a crisis well saw their stock price increase by up to five percent. Those who reacted poorly suffered with up to a loss of 10 percent. The primary reason for this is the fact that there is no other time than in a crisis that the leadership team will be truly tested.

Judging by what we saw in 2015, 2016 is set to an exciting year.

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