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Corporate communication 2017 trends

Author: Dr.sc.comm. Olga Kazaka, partner at A.W.Olsen & Partners, lecturer at University of Latvia

The year 2017 in the corporate communication field: putting things in order, analysing and pushing the boundaries

2016 Year was an exciting and eventful for the communications sphere. Some earlier started processes must now enter a stage of maturity. Here is a number of important trends in the corporate communication field which, in my opinion, will develop in 2017.

1. Real bloggers and celebrities

In the past year, many communications professionals with unprecedented force rushed to develop cooperation with bloggers and virtual celebrities, and generously endowed almost every owner of more or less popular Instagram profile. In 2017 more thorough approach to the selection of partners for cooperation will be applied. It is important to take into account the reputation of the blogger, the engagement rate of one’s publications and subscribers’ quality.

Today you can get thousands of fake followers with empty profiles for a couple of hundred euros. Together with my colleagues we noticed the suspicious growth in popularity of the pair of active people who had a thousand subscribers yesterday, 6000 today and 13 thousand tomorrow. It happened in the period when nothing was posted in their profiles. So we started analysing the social networks of celebrities and bloggers who we cooperate with much more seriously. I think it will be a general trend.

In this regard, bloggers themselves will have to become more professional in collaboration with brands that are expecting their ability to formulate the possibility of cooperation, proper implementation of the commitments, billing, and timely reports.

Legal and ethical restrictions to reflect a cooperation between virtual celebrities and brands will gradually develop. It is worth mentioning that the US Federal Trade Commission has strictly required bloggers to clearly indicate that this publication is the result of commercial cooperation with the brand. However, in the EU there is the issue at the directives level, and in Latvia no one has been seriously following the cooperation issue. Therefore, now we need to think about it and discuss. It is important as representatives of international brands are increasingly demanding compliance with international practice in Latvia, for example, the use of special hashtags #sponsored #ad or when the advertiser controls the content of posts. I think there will be more order in cooperation with bloggers in 2017.

2. The quality of audience and return

In the context of the attention economy, we have to pay for the attention of the target audience. Facebook and Instagram algorithms showing subscribers only a small percentage of your publications made mandatory budget for advertising in social networks, as well as a clear targeting of news to specific groups.

For this reason, it is time to learn to use the so-called ‘big data’. Social networks operators will be required to complement their skills with analytic functions to learn how to properly use an array data available in the Facebook Insights.

Another future challenges is the so-called ‘dark social’ - more than 80% of the information we distribute on social networks is not seen in public, because it is sent through private messages. Applying the methodology of analysis and evaluation of communications campaign results, it is important to take into account this fact and look at what are the real campaign result and return.

3. Information pills  

Information load on the average consumer is so great that it is almost overloaded. Therefore, it is important to convey information in the most concise form. Such information pill are short videos with useful information. For example, in a few seconds show how to make a trendy makeup, cook dinner and to stretch after sitting too long.

Instead of publishing long texts do Life Video. Because of its information capacity and the perception ease the video format is becoming one of the most promising. In addition, increasingly formats that combine online and offline media, including augmented reality will develop.

4. Expanding borders

We are increasingly talking not about ‘PR’ but about the ‘Communications’ emphasizing that the set of tools for professionals who care about the communications of brands and organizations is much more than for example only media relations. Therefore, not surprising that the big Baltic competition ‘Baltic PR Awards’ was renamed the ‘Baltic Communication Awards’.

This year I would like to add another focus to this story - events. Communicators independently organize a variety of different scales events: media breakfasts, press conferences, excursions, corporate events. At the same time, we are often unable to perfectly reflect these activities. We do not know all the subtleties of the entertainment industry, so do not always use cutting-edge technology.

On the other hand, professional event organizers, who know very well all the latest trends in entertainment and catering, are not always able to put accents on the important promises and provide high quality media support to events. In my opinion, in the framework of large major projects corporate communications specialists and event professionals should combine their efforts to achieve better results. I think it is logical that this year the first big conference with the focus on events will be organized – ‘Baltic For Events’, where all experts working with events will be able to meet.

Describing the trends of the year I am coming back to the thought that everything turns around social networks. Their influence is definitely great, but I think another challenge in 2017 is to remember that they are not a panacea in any situation, and that the success of communication is in diversity as well as in understanding of its audience.



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