December 15, 2017 By FTI Consulting
Instead of reflecting on another big year for social media and digital communications, however, we’re taking this final Download of the year as an opportunity to look forward to the themes we’ll likely be discussing in 2018.
1. Every year in the last decade has been touted as the year of the video, and 2017 may be the clearest example of this never-changing prediction. Our call on this, however, is slightly different – we see 2018 as the year that video comes of age.
It’s not necessarily the quantity of video that will change in 2018, rather the quality. Immersive executions like 360 video and Virtual Reality will proliferate among industrial and manufacturing companies looking to exhibit the scale, power, and prowess of their operations. Drones will continue to deliver high visual impact from low production cost. With video predicted to account for 80% of internet content by 2020, it’s clear that format variety will be crucial to achieving cut-through.
2. Return on investment is an important metric when creating any type of content, and this may become a little more complicated in 2018.
Companies have long invested in content that offers multiple hits, works hard for a number of months and is built for reuse. 2017 however saw the rise of ephemeral content, with Instagram Stories taking centre-stage. Media titles like The Economist, National Geographic and The FT have already become masters of telling serious stories through the medium, and corporations would do well to learn from them in the coming year.
3. Our third trend refers to the increasingly blurred distinctions between communications and marketing, and the opportunity for communications teams to steal a march in the coming year.
In-house departments are looking increasingly robust. We’ve seen more and more media buying and social advertising come under the control of PR or digital communications. CMOs are keeping more of an eye on what sort of shape their institution’s reputation is in, recognising that third-party validation can do wonders for marketing performance. All in all, the landscape is shifting as agencies are being asked to work with clients in increasingly varied and integrated ways.
4. During 2017, we’ve seen companies explore digital solutions when it comes to communicating around M&A, IPO, and other special situations.
2018 could well be the year we see corporate communications take on a more comprehensive approach to digital communications around capital markets special situations. This may include wholesale digital strategy around IPOs and the greater use of digital communications channels to assist with bid defence or shareholder activism, to name but a few.
5. Finally, a thought on volatility – seemingly the theme of 2017 – and how an organisation’s digital channels offer possible solutions to challenges faced.
In a world where the President of the USA can wipe $5.7bn off of your stock price with a single tweet (or $3.5bn here), where ballistic missiles can and do land in the Japanese Sea, and data leaks can happen at the speed of light, social media remains the fastest and cleanest way of delivering information to the people that need to read it. Customers, shareholders, regulators, and employees; social channels will become increasingly important in terms of how we communicate in moments of actual crisis, or simply highly-volatile scenarios. Preparedness, process, and practice will be central to how global companies handle global volatility in the coming year.
We hope you’ve enjoyed your year as much as we have. Our team is set to grow again in 2018, with new faces joining us throughout Q1, bringing some fantastic experience, skills, and at least one highly proficient baker.
Looking forward to hearing from you in the New Year, and in the meantime may your time off be suitably festive, family-based, and fun.