2013 just flew on by, but not without leaving a mark. From real-time marketing disasters to the shifting media landscape, 2013 was a busy year. 2014 looks like it won’t disappoint.
The PubliticsPR+Digital team has been tracking some of the trends to watch in PR and branding in 2014 . We’ve put together a little slide deck of our picks. Feel free to reach out with any questions and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get insights and updates straight to your inbox.
Shifting Media Landscape
2013 was a big year. Most media outlets are still trying to figure out how to get their feet under them. Sadly others will fade away in 2014.
We saw the sale of the Washington Post go to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and BuzzFeed continued to build a viral content empire that helps subsidize real reporting. The future for media is both bright and uncertain all at once.
As media tries to find its way, PR won’t be able to continue to rely solely on earned media (though it is still very important).
Additionally, brands will have to recognize that 2014 will be all about figuring out how turn their customers into evangelists for their brand. To do it, brands will have to humanize.
PR will have to figure out how to work with clients to leverage other means of capturing attention.
Getting Smarter About Content
Content marketing was a huge buzzword in 2013 and was a year where some brands started to work the kinks while others became frustrated.
Brands in 2014 will need to develop high quality content to keep audiences engaged.
One of the big challenges will be to figure out how to create great content at scale.
And finally, clients will begin to demand more accountability. They’ll ask “how does strategy x to get us from point a to point b.” Good PR shops should be integral in answering that question.
Crisis at Breakneck Speeds
2013 provided us with examples of crisis situations that easily spiraled out of control on social media.
One driver of social media crises are marketing companies themselves. The pressure on brands to come up with clever real-time marketing hits like Oreo’s infamous “You can still dunk in the dark” move during the 2013 Superbowl.
Unfortunately not everyone had the good fortune of Oreo. From MTV’s fake Twitter hack to Gogo’s failed attempt to capitalize on former IAC PR exec, Justine Sacco’s, social media meltdown. 2014 will be less forgiving to real-time screw-ups.
Security breaches also created problems for brands, from real Twitter hacks to Target’s loss of millions of credit card numbers. Security now has the potential to be a serious PR problem.
Finally, brands need to learn to humanize their customer relations responses on social. Robotic responses can often seem off-key and offensive. A bad customer experience can quickly turn into a viral (possibly promoted) tweet.
Mobile and Wearable
In 2014, the Internet of Things will become more of a tangible reality. Smartphones, watches, glasses and other items will be connected. Innovative PR/media companies will have to figure out how to get eyes and ears on their message while people are spreading their attention over multiple devices.
Brands and PR companies will have to figure how to create content that works across devices.
As a part of developing smart content, brands will have to harness the power of video. Vine and Instagram videos have been great for brands who have figured out how to harness the power.
Visual Design and Creative Trends
Sadly, we think infographics have run their course. There are a lot of infographics floating around out there that don’t really provide too much info. That is not to say that there are some really good ones, but by an large, they’ve lost some of their novelty. Look for new methods of data visualization on the horizon.
A lot of design is getting simpler. Look for brands to try to de-clutter in 2014.
On the web design side, brands need to make sure that their online properties are usable across platforms.
Visual branding will become more important a different online channels place an emphasis on visual content.
Also, brands may look to try their hand at taking some of the polish off their video content.