Leading Aussie PR firm the Red Agency has revealed its predictions list for 2017 with warnings that many companies aren’t doing enough to keep up with the digitally driven disruption that is changing the marketing, media and PR playbook for everything that links back to customer experience.
The report, titled Trends and technologies, changing media, marketing and corporate reputation and authored by Red Agency’s CEO James Wright and principal Jackie Crossman, makes the following 10 points.
1) Disruption eruption creates an integration nation: Disruption will accelerate, driving a need for greater integration – both in campaigns and between those who deliver them. Like the plover bird that gets a meal cleaning a crocodile’s teeth, the PR and media industries will need a symbiotic relationship more than ever. Shrinking editorial teams are juggling multiple roles in the scramble to publish clickbait for eyeballs.
2) Truth or spoof? 2017 will be a year of crowdsourced truth. The sheer speed of digital information sharing means lies go global faster than truth can pull its pants up. Viral trumps veracity when competition for eyeballs and clicks means outlets publish whatever will get the most attention. Even Aunty’s shutting the ABC’s Fact Check unit.
3) Being clean reigns supreme – Transparency on steroids: Unlike spin-to-win politics, for brands, transparency will be more important than ever in 2017. In a digital world where a ‘gotcha moment’ is just a search and click away, the whole world has a front row seat to every scandal and any whiff of controversy sends social media into overdrive. Brands need to keep everything in the digital realm as accurate as possible; be first responders when it isn’t; and back every claim with solid proof points.
4) Being human beats bots: You can’t spell brand without DNA (backwards, at least). As trust in institutions, big government and big business flounders, and cynicism flies off the chart, the most successful brands in 2017 will be the most human. Human brands sound like people – on social, in the media and in person. They do dialogue, not analogue. They know a real conversation is two-way. They’re open and transparent. Genuine. Authentic. They acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake, and fix it.
5) Brands will become media publishers: You can’t spell brand without DNA (backwards, at least). As trust in institutions, big government and big business flounders, and cynicism flies off the chart, the most successful brands in 2017 will be the most human. Human brands sound like people – on social, in the media and in person. They do dialogue, not analogue. They know a real conversation is two-way. They’re open and transparent. Genuine. Authentic. They acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake, and fix it.
6) Friend or Faux? Measuring the ‘other’ ROI – Return on Influencers: The number one influencer marketing challenge of 2017 will be getting to the bottom of Kim Kardashian and co’s vital statistics: What are the real numbers, and how much ROI do influencers deliver to brands they spruik. While 75 per cent of brands use influencers, more than half say they struggle to measure its effectiveness. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
7) This time, it’s personal – the personalisation of everything: Living in a digital world is like stepping onto a sandy beach: It’s impossible not to leave footprints. In 2017, marketers will take that footprint and run with it like never before. We will see the Personalisation of Everything, as companies increasingly leverage technology and big data to deliver more targeted solutions and experiences that deepen engagement.
8) Siri goes surfing – Riding the new cognitive wave: We’ll forgive Siri for those annoying ‘I didn’t get that’ responses, because she’s given us a toe in the water to the next wave in marketing and communications: Cognitive – the mind behind the message. In 2017, cognitive will deliver competitive advantage, particularly to conversion-driven companies with online sales funnels who harness its capabilities to deliver more personalised, intelligence- based content experiences. Cognitive is driven by intelligence. It uses dynamic data to get to know people, learn from them on the fly, and create highly targeted one-on-one customer and content experiences.
9) Need for Speed – Real-time PR hits harder: In a world where people want instant gratification and consumers want instant responses, brands will need to disrupt their processes to deliver on expectations. When time is the enemy, the ‘wait’ of expectation around speed of response can be a nail in a brand’s coffin. In a digitally-driven world where two minute noodles are akin to a slow food movement, brands with bureaucratic and time-consuming approvals and processes will fail in the social sphere. Before social media exploded, PR worked with media to inform the public. Now, the public can break the news – or take a brand down with a timely tweet, post or rumour. PR response times and updates have to be rapid-fire. Forty percent of customers who complain through social channels expect a response within the hour. The average response time is five hours – with one in three customer complaints never answered.
10) Aussies to go Snap happy: 2017 will be the year of the Snap, with Spiegel’s Snapchat playing a bigger role globally after overtaking Facebook in video views. A three-second brand experience may not be enough to make a sale, but it can start a relationship with the four million-plus Australians who create content on the social platform every day.