December is the month to talk about trends and, as I didn’t want to be less, I have prepared a compilation of 20 ideas related to communication that have been talked about a lot these last months and that I think will continue to be relevant in the ones to come. I include links to studies and books in case you want to go deeper into any topic. I have divided the list into two posts: I hope you find them inspiring 🙂 Here is the first issue.
Companies will devote more resources, staff and energy to strengthening links with internal stakeholders. Related to this topic, the Dircom Internal Communication Manual, prepared by Maite Arocas, Susana Miquel Segarra and an employee, is scheduled to be published in early 2020 with a very practical focus. The report on the state of internal communication that Gatehouse publishes every year is fantastic for getting to know the sector better.
From some time to this part, we see how the boundaries between internal and external communication are blurred. With social networks, everything is just a click away from becoming public, so it makes less and less sense to believe that content intended for an internal audience will stay within the organization. Note: this does not mean that specific communication strategies should not be designed for the internal public, but rather that companies must be aware that any internal communication can go outside. The report “The Intersection of Internal & External Communication” by IC Kollectif speaks precisely about this.
Although reports such as IAB Spain’s Annual Social Networking Survey 2019 indicate that personalized advertising on social networks is not a nuisance, especially among young people, the truth is that audiences are increasingly reluctant to be interrupted. It is no coincidence that investment in branded content in Spain has increased by 41% in the last two years, according to the results of BCMA Spain’s Content Scope 2019. Thanks to digital media, brands have a much easier time becoming content publishers.
Timelines, immersive reporting, Twitter stories… It’s worth taking advantage of the full potential of digital storytelling to reach our audiences. One of my purposes for 2020 is to update the New Digital Storytelling handbook. Applications in public relations, journalism and personal branding
And linked to the narratives I mentioned in the previous point, we cannot forget the story. A good story is the key to connecting with the audiences. Storytelling is indispensable today, always based on facts, of course (storydoing). Otherwise it is not storytelling but greenwashing, make-up and manipulation. If you are interested in an introduction to corporate and personal brand storytelling, Storytelling in a Week, by Antonio Núñez, is a good title to start with.
We will change jobs several times during our professional career, but our personal brand will always accompany us. To invest in personal brand is to invest in ourselves and our future, whether we work for someone else or are self-employed. Monetízate, by Antonio Pérez Ortega, will help you to promote your personal brand.
Increasingly, the corporate brand is understood as the sum of the personal brands of its employees. What greater influence can a company have than its own workers? Many companies are already working on employee advocacy initiatives, a good way, by the way, to bypass social media algorithms and reach out to followers. On this subject, I recommend you to follow Guillem Recolons’ posts.
Influencers more and more micro and less macro. As they say in the Best Agency trend report: the less community, the more influence. More than half of the organizations have worked with influencers this year, 12% more than last year, according to the IAB Spain Annual Social Networking Study 2019. Including influencers in communication plans is not new, but we undoubtedly live in the age of recommendation.
Big data and artificial intelligence
The irruption of big data in the field of corporate communication offers great opportunities, such as the possibility of micro-segmenting audiences and knowing them better, and the possibility of hyper-personalizing messages, but it also poses challenges for organizations, as it requires professionals trained in data analysis and more multidisciplinary teams. This is reflected in a small study that we have carried out with Susana Miquel, from the UJI, and which will soon see the light of day. In Big data for managers, Genís Roca and Albert Solana give a good introduction to the use of mass data in the company.
Polarization of opinions
There seems to be no middle ground anymore: as a brand, either they love you or they hate you. This polarization is aggravated by social networks, where being moderate generates much less noise than being extremist. Aware of this, brands should identify potential risks and be prepared to respond to a (digital) reputation crisis.
Audiobranding, voice searches and podcasts Everything related to voice is booming and brands know it. That’s why they worry about defining their corporate voice and integrating audio into their content strategies. We are sure that in the coming months we will see more corporate initiatives related to voice.
Video is still the star format in social networks. Cisco estimates that, by 2020, video consumption will account for 80% of Internet traffic. Audiovisuals are gaining ground: users want short, enjoyable videos, preferably with subtitles so they can consume without audio when in a public place.
The boom in videos that we saw in the previous point links to another key idea: the ephemeral contents. Instagram Stories is the best example of this type of content with an expiration date (although it is possible to store the stories, if desired). Why are they interesting? Because it makes the user feel privileged to access it, since it has a limited duration, many people miss it.
Mobile and multi-screen user
The cell phone leads the connection to social networks (95%), as confirmed by the IAB Spain Annual Social Networking Study 2019. The consumption of content on mobile devices continues to grow and multi-screen consumption is common (e.g. looking at your mobile while watching Netflix). It is not easy to capture the user’s attention in the face of the existing excess of stimuli, a reality to be taken into account when generating content.
The consumption of digital content is increasingly fractionated and is done in micromoments: while we wait for the bus, when we travel by subway… This requires short and agile formats, which can be consumed in small independent pills.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
In a context where the tangible is increasingly similar and products and services are very similar, intangibles such as reputation and trust become the real source of differentiation for companies. My next book, co-authored with Jordi Xifra, is about reputation.
Human and Purposeful Brands
“It is time for human and responsible brands”, in the words of Enrique Arribas, author of Marcas ConFianza (Gestión 2000), who adds that “we live in the era of profit with purpose”. Recently, the Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership has published the book Purpose-driven Organizations. Management Ideas for a Better World in Palgrave Macmillan, available in open access, and the report “Purpose Strength Model: in search of a shared purpose”, which presents a model to evaluate, diagnose and enhance the generation of a shared purpose in organizations.
Credibility and fake news
Public confidence in companies is low, as the Edelman Trust Barometer shows year after year. Only half of the world’s leading brands generate trust in customers, according to Havas’ “Meaningful Brands” study. Well, there is no better antidote to fake news than winning the trust of the public. Trust generates credibility. How do you achieve this? With transparency and dialogue. Ángeles Moreno, President Elect of the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and professor at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, gives some clues in this interview.
We continue to look for ways to measure the results of communication and the impact it has on the company’s bottom line. Recently, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) published a document that compiles articles from various experts. A topic for further reflection and research.
And, speaking of metrics, we cannot forget the eternal debate of the quantitative vs. the qualitative. We all know that we should prioritize the qualitative over the quantitative, but at the moment of truth, numbers still weigh heavily. Some changes, like the disappearance of the “I like” number in Instagram, may contribute to focus more on quality than on quantity.