2018 Top 10 Trends for PR & Communications

The essential guide to what you need to know to stay ahead of the game!

1. 2018 Pantone Colour

As people’s interest in the power of colour as a communication tool grows ever stronger, designers and brands should take it upon themselves to think strategically about colour to deliver the message they want. PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, the hue for 2018, mirrors the current climate and what we need most – inventiveness and imagination. Deeply mysterious and inspiring mindfulness, Ultra Violet encourages us to soar to new heights with creative flair. Symbolising authenticity and outside the box thinking, this colour urges individuals to realise their potential with originality in an already over-saturated world.

2. Politicisation of Brands

Should brands be seen to be political? Is it cool or appropriate to be outspoken in your opinion on topical political or social issues, or is it potentially damaging and isolating to your brand? Think, the AFL declaring their support for same-sex marriage, or Airbnb offering free housing to refugees amid President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Whilst there is a potential risk to a brand’s reputation, it is equally important for brands to be able to connect with consumers by actively participating in matters that concern them, staying true to their values. Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, tweeted quickly following the immigration ban announcement in America, “Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected.”

3. Augmented Reality (AR)

Taking video to the next level, Augmented Reality is giving advertisers and marketers the chance to create innovative campaigns and brand encounters that integrate the digital world and the real world. AR enables us to consume content in a third dimension online, enjoying a more immersive experience. Interaction with virtual objects positively impacts on how consumers connect with your brand and enables you to bring imagination closer to reality for whatever purpose you have in mind. For example, IKEA customers can now scan a catalogue to see what the end-product looks like and how it could fit into their room.

4. Mobile Marketing

Go mobile or go home. The focus for 2018 will be cater to the exponential growth of consumers who now use smart phones and/or tablets as their first, and often, only device. Businesses and marketers need to think about how their content will be presented on these screens. It’s no longer a question of whether mobile marketing is important – we know it is – it’s now the case of understanding how consumers behave on mobile devices.

5. Death of Twitter

Cover your ears ‘tweeters’ because Twitter is dead, or at least dying. Whilst LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram saw more users logging in through 2017, Twitter remained stagnant. The reasons for its decline: lack of real-time content due to scheduled posts; its fast-paced nature inhibits engagement; fake news is making it less credible; and, its plagued by phenomenal spam issues. With approx. 3 million users in Australia, the platform should focus on developing its strengths – #hashtags, breaking news, live events, and using it to connect with media and thought leaders.

6. Influencer Marketing Vs. Authenticity

Despite the ever-growing prevalence of influencer marketing, this tool often comes at the cost of authenticity in communications and advertising. For consumers, the issue of who can and cannot be trusted is heavily based on influencer marketing and brand partnerships. When influencers work with brands they don’t truly believe in, this has the propensity to damage the reputation of both the brand and the influencer. In 2018, brands will re-establish balance by sourcing true brand ambassadors. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), experts in a specific area, whose opinions are trusted and respected by a particular demographic, provide consumers with credible recommendations.

7. Infographics in EDMs

Visual content is without doubt more engaging than long-form written content, and email marketing in 2018 is set to become more visual, dynamic and personalised. Software such as Campaign Monitor, advocates videos, animations, background images and even emojis in EDMs to gain that additional traction with audiences. The next phase of email communication will take emotive design into consideration; think photography, illustrations and emotive language, not to mention increased accessibility across all platforms. Expect higher interactivity and personalised automated journeys in your inbox this year.

8. Gen-Z

Often referred to as ‘digital natives’, Gen-Z (born in the mid-2000s with an iPhone in their hands) will account for 40% of all consumers by the year 2020. They are just beginning to enter the labour force and will have increased buying power for some time. Companies and brands will need to recognise this and shift their communications strategies accordingly. Expect great investment in platforms loved by Gen Zer’s like Instagram and keep it mobile.

9. Water-holing

‘Water-holing’ or the ‘echo chamber’ is a marketing term used to describe the way companies, including Facebook and Google, create a closed system by utilising learning algorithms to show users only what they want to see. The issue with this? An information bubble is created around the user that closes them off from differing influences and opinions. For instance, consider where you source your daily news – is it from the same 3-5 websites and your social media channels? Marketers will need to think more creatively in 2018 to access wider audiences who are becoming increasingly more insular and selective in their views and ideas. There is a drawback to personalisation!

10. Integrated Communications

Integrated Communications describes communication strategies and tactics from the different sectors of communication, including public relations, marketing and digital, that work cohesively rather than in isolation. The benefits to clients are two-fold: a one-stop-shop for all their communication services; and an integrated approach ensures consistency as different modes work together to deliver seamless results.

Speak to Zadro today to find out how you can improve your communications strategy, at or (02) 9212 7867.

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