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The Best Of 2019: Three Trends That Dominated Excellent Comms Delivery In 2019

Callum Gill delves deeper into his predicted top three comms delivery trends of 2019...

No that’s not a typo, I figured I’d take a different approach to the usual January blog fare of providing listicles, ‘ones to watch’ and half-hearted predictions. I have imagined myself with my feet up, sipping a nice cup of coffee in January 2020, looking back on the trends that excited me throughout 2019. I figure this way, I can be optimistic about what the year has to offer and you can still take away some of the key societal, technological and industry trends which will shape comms in 2019! Here we go! 

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Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 347 times…

2019 was the year that we rebuilt trust. Trust with the customer, the stakeholder and the team member. 2019 was possibly the year in which confidence in brand messaging, both internally and externally, hit a rather embarrassing low. The DeloitteMillennial Survey, which is published every year, noted that for the first time in two years millennial confidence in business honesty was plummeting. They now believe that businesses only care about profit. Trust in the media also plummeted and suddenly in 2019, communicators had to find a new way to build trust and deliver meaningful messages.

Our audiences led the way here, turning to influencers and peers to validate brand messages. Communicators recognised this and stopped delivering top-down, faceless comms and started creating an interactive ecosystem of comms backed by peer and influencer content both internally and externally. 49%of consumers now rely on influencers to make purchasing decisions employee advocacy can lead to brand messages being shared 561%further than posts from the comms teams. It was refreshing to see that in 2019 we embraced collaborative comms and used our biggest advocates to help spread messages in meaningful ways. 

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The purpose of life is purpose

2019 was the year CSR died. Although we didn’t mourn, instead we celebrated the birth of brand purpose. No longer was it enough to simply pay lip service once in a while to charitable endeavours and post a few pictures of your team in marathon gear on Twitter. Our audiences began to demand that brands interrogated their own purpose, and if their conclusions were “we’re just here to make money” then these organisations fell by the wayside. The Deloitte Millennial Survey once again pointed to the fact that most young people believed that brands had no interest in anything other than making money, and so comms teams had to step up their game showing that their organisations didn’t just dip into charitable endeavours every now and again, but felt like they were a strong, active and contributing part of the society and planet we exist in.

Brand purpose in projects such as Sidewalk Toronto was interrogated, and rightly so, but projects like Umbrellium’s Starling Crossing and Voice Over showed us how we can use technology and how the things we do on a day-to-day basis for clients can make a difference to people’s lives.

" I have imagined myself with my feet up, sipping a nice cup of coffee in January 2020, looking back on the trends that excited me throughout 2019."

Voice, virtual, AR & AI

Some technologies that had caused consternation and hand wringing amongst communicators over cost and value finally put their demons to bed in 2019 as AR and VR reached their full potential. Facebook Spaces gave us our first virtual delegates and HoloLens allowed us to create collaborative digital environments. We even saw immersive gamified comms experiences designed in hyper-reality, akin to the excellent work The Void had delivered the year before.

Voice assistants and machine assisted comms helped us save between 42% and 57% of our time performing repetitive tasks, allowing us to focus on creativity and truth in our comms. The continued use of smart home assistants, with around 50%of homes enabled with a smart speaker, saw communicators explore exciting new avenues in sonic branding. We started to explore what our brands sound like and found our voice.

Five of the best

The advent of 5G shook things up even further as faster connections, downloads and broadband speeds saw exciting new tech grow and added new tools to the comms armoury. It’s going to be an exciting time to be in comms in 2020. 

By Callum Gill - Head of Insight and Innovation