1. Silent Influencers

2017 will see the return and rise of silent influencers. A set of high net worth individuals or authorities, who among their peers, will be able to create far reaching awareness for your brand purely through word-of-mouth recommendations.

  1. Embrace Video

With the growth of engagement via smartphones comes an increased focus on real-time, short-form, visual communication. Vlogger power will also continue unabated in 2017

  1. Virtual Reality

Mainstream virtual reality will bring an additional dimension to campaigns, taking news stories, ads, films or gaming to new immersive levels.

  1. Facebook Live

The move towards streaming content meets the demand for ‘in-the-moment-content’, offering brands the opportunity for more immersive experiences for their audiences.

  1. Print Decline

We all know the decline in print is happening with the closure of 7 days, but clients do not need or want a media-relations-only solution to a challenge. They need an integrated solution based on insight, purpose and a real campaign, created by agencies willing to genuinely collaborate.

  1. Earned, Paid, Owned

Companies have a larger-than-ever mix of earned, paid and owned media channels at their disposal, our responsibility as communications professionals is to comprehensively advise clients and colleagues which channels suit their campaigns and why.

  1. Brain Power and People

2017 is ultimately a year of continuing investment in brain power and people. Bringing in more experience in data, behavioural science, measurement, digital development, creative content development, media and more.

  1. Content Marketing

While content has been a topic of focus for a lot of agencies and brands, it has not been the topic of choice for all. However, with a gradual shift to digital marketing, agencies will be ramping up their content marketing strategies and focus their communications through keywords optimization.

  1. Voice Activation

Voice activated digital assistants powered by AI change how we interact with the world. The tech giants drive Siri, Cortana, Google and Alexa across new products, whilst standalone assistant apps like Hound and Viv want our loyalty instead. Plus there’s a new wave of vertical service assistants such as Amy and Mezi specializing in meetings, travel or shopping.

  1. Work/Life Balance

It would benefit our industry if communications professionals are given opportunities to explore an interest outside of work. We should also encourage talent to get into a fresh headspace via flexible working.

  1. Augmented Reality

Following Pokémon Go, augmented reality holds huge potential for consumer brands with games, ads and apps helping to reinvigorate the market.

  1. Fake News

While 2016 saw much discussion of political fake news; in future, businesses will also be subject of aggressive campaigns based on misinformation. The need for intensive social media monitoring, rapid rebuttal, flexibility and empowerment of frontline communicators has never been greater.

  1. Purpose At Heart

Consumers want to see authentic purpose as part of any brand’s ethos. Brands that win hearts and minds this year will have purpose at the heart of what they do. Take time to re-visit and articulate your purpose – WHY you exist, not what you do, or how you operate.

  1. Social Media Advertising

With the news that digital will overtake TV spend, 2016 saw Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram develop their ad platforms and this is likely to continue in 2017, despite the rise of ad blockers.

  1. Filling the Skills Gap

Recruitment will be a key issue again in 2017 as the industry maintains its growth. The need to constantly train and develop our skills base will be a key focus, and will help to set consultancies apart from each other.

  1. The Premium-isation of Journalism

The next generation of journalists moving into communications won’t be hired for their contacts book but for their ability to construct engrossing stories and get under the skin of issues. The best writers and documentary makers, with proven track records of building social communities, will be fought over.

  1. Brand Identity

Brexit and Donald Trump have illuminated profound differences in how chunks of the population view themselves and, notably, how they associate with different brands. Brands are going to have to work out how their identity deals with this new cleavage.