OK, I’m a little late with my homework.  Here are my predictions for PR and brand communications and marketing for 2016.  I’d be glad to debate them!

  1. The idea will reassert its primacy. We will stop talking about ‘content management strategies’ and ‘clever content that sells’ and saying ‘content is king’ and realise how empty that sounds and how much money we have wasted on ‘formulating strategy for forthcoming policy implementation’. ‘Content’ will join various other garments in the wardrobe labelled ‘the Emperor’s new clothes.’
  2. Half of so-called Christmas ads (actually PR stunts) will be on YouTube, and not TV, this year. For these ‘ads’ it will be the ‘pass the parcel’ Christmas.
  3. Low-Fi low-budget, high impact ideas will become a central part of the marketing mix this year. Authenticity (rough cut material with low production values) will be a sought-after commodity.
  4. Attention spans will become a central analytic in all marketing discussions and decision making.
  5. Digital will cease to be a point of distinction. ‘Digital’ equals ‘convenience’.
  6. The press release is immortal and people with beards and checked shirts that don’t fit will stop announcing its demise. It remains the best and most succinct expression of an idea. It isn’t a piece of paper anymore – it is 2-300 words carefully crafted. Words will remain the primary instrument for communication, but video is catching up.
  7. ‘Silent movies’ (captioned/subtitled films on Facebook, etc, for people to watch and read in public places) will see a renaissance.
  8. The use of jargon and buzzwords will decline a bit. Froth and drivel tend to float to the top in difficult markets. Things are improving. There is no need to hide behind jargon.
  9. The best PR professionals will insist that their CEOs take a central role in communication. Our research points to the extraordinary value that exceptional CEOs create (new report out in 2 weeks). Communication is a core criterion.
  10. Twitter will remain the trading platform of savvy communicators. Others (Facebook, Snapchat, periscope, etc) will have their place, but Twitter will be primary. LinkedIn will play a more significant role.
  11. The best brands will investigate social prejudices and work hard to unpick them. Marketing is increasingly about embracing people’s belief systems and finding ways to constructively confront and challenge them, often through the deployment of counter-intuitive tactics.
  12. Communications strategy will give way to a set of communications goals and principles. Brands are now afloat on oceans of sentiment. Tactics are now far more valuable than strategy. A boat in a rocky cove knows its desired destination. It is the deft hand on the rudder that will get it there.
  13. ‘Brand management’ is now ‘brand mediation’.  How’s that for a buzzword?

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