If I had a crystal ball to predict the top five strategic communication trends of 2015, here is what I envision:
- Integrated Campaigns Will Be the Norm As the lines between paid, earned, owned and shared media continue to evaporate, strategic communicators will be challenged to create campaigns that harness all of these opportunities. This will involve working with multiple agencies or departments. Firms that may resist “sharing” the work through an integrated approach will quickly become obsolete.
- Content Is Still King Organizations are seeing the value in being able to control their web content and share their story through their own platforms. This means more curated content in the form of directed videos, CEO blogs, narrative podcasts, infographics, more lists and sponsored content on platforms like Twitter and BuzzFeed. Knowing how to create compelling content that can be amplified across various platforms is a skill that strategic communicators will continue to hone.
- ROI is Expected Social media analytics will drive the expectation of ROI. Organizations want to see which platforms are connecting with their key publics, and they won’t have to wait an entire year to decide if their efforts are working. This means strategic communicators need to be agile enough to tweak digital communication strategies if campaigns are not performing as expected over a matter of days and weeks rather than months and years.
- Harnessing the New Influencers The old days of hiring a “B” list celebrity to be the face of your campaign are over. It’s the latest social media influencers – think YouTube stars, Vine celebrities and Instagram personalities with millions of followers – who are the new celebrities. Everyone from the White House to film studios are figuring out how to harness the power of social media influencers to reach their key target audiences.
- 24/7 Crisis Management Will Continue The sheer seconds that it takes to become fully embroiled in a crisis communication situation will not dissipate. With every moment captured, photographed, recorded and shared, organizations will find themselves in lock-down crisis response mode more than ever. But the silver lining may be that organizations will recover from these crisis’ quicker and with fewer consequences. The reason? Thanks to the 24/7 media cycle and speed to which crises’ form and are dealt with via social media, the public will be distracted by the next crisis and will move on more quickly.
About the Author
Pallavi Damani Kumar is a full-time professor in American University’s School of Communication and the Division Director for the Public Communication. Prior to teaching full time, Kumar gained more than 20 years experience in the public relations industry having worked as a vice president in Fleishman Hillard's social marketing practice in Washington, DC, a vice president/account supervisor in Ketchum's healthcare practice in New York as well as associate director of international public relations at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in Philadelphia. Pallavi holds a B.A. in CLEG and Public Communication from American University (magna cum laude) and a Master's in Public Relations/Corporate Communications from Georgetown University.
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