It’s that time of year when the mystics grab their trusted crystal ball and take a long hard look into the future. For those of us in B2B PR & marketing, that approach just doesn’t work! Instead, we rely on educated guesses and the wise words of our experts.

We asked our Creative Director, Mark Wilson; Head of Content, Hannah Buckley; and Head of Digital and Social, Ross Walker for their take on what to expect from next year.

Mark on creative

#1 Focus on video and animation

We all had to work within the confines of the pandemic which meant finding other outlets or avenues for creative. Things like photo shoots, for example, couldn’t happen, so we had to find alternatives. Which is where video and animation shone and as a result, we can see can more of this next year. We are also going to see the use of video and animation in different media and areas, and across different platforms. Just look at the Channel 4 reality series that was produced exclusively for broadcast on Instagram.

#2 More green

Obviously there’s been a lot of focus on sustainability, not just because of the recent COP26, and I think will influence all areas next year. More brands will be shouting about their credentials and efforts next year – and will be pressed to prove it. But more than that, there’ll be pressure in the digital sphere to prove sustainability; how can digital brands be more energy efficient. If you consider the internet produces nearly 4% of the world’s greenhouse emissions, there is definite work to be done.

#3 Return of the DM

No. Not the direct message. I’m talking more old school. The direct mail. While direct mail like junk mail has had a steady presence in our lives, it will be the desk drop that is staging a comeback. This can be used as a way to get your brand to stand out, be more personalised and targeted. I think it’s just a really ripe area for creativity, especially because people are tired of receiving emails marketing emails, dozens a day. As we hopefully make a return to our offices next year and away from being in front of our screens 24/7, a physical, tangible thing will be well received.

Hannah on content

#1 Increased demand for a wider variety of content types

In today’s time-strapped environment, people are a lot more selective about what they consume, which has led to greater demand for videos and podcasts, to supplement more traditional types of marketing and PR content. These types of content are easy to digest, can be more widely shared and reach more audiences while staying true to the brand’s messaging.

#2 More data-driven content

This is really a circular thing and recognises the role content plays in the bigger picture, in terms of company goals and objectives.

With this, there will be more of a move towards data informing the types of content being created and at the same time there’s a push for content to provide tangible results that can be evidenced with hard data to show how content is helping to meet those company goals.

#3 More brands sharing more opinionated content

This is a more upfront up front way to engage with audiences, particularly as people are now a lot more discerning and know when they’re being sold or marketed to.

With that, some brands are being bolder with how they communicate with their customers and prospects to cut through the noise and make their voice heard.

This approach requires businesses to strike the right balance between being outspoken and potentially controversial, and remaining true to their brand’s messaging and values.

Ross on social and digital

#1 Employee advocacy

The term has been used quite a lot and it’s becoming more and more important for brands to adopt these programmes into their marketing. Essentially it’s about leveraging employee networks to promote the brand, ensuring they’re amplifying the messaging. But…all in a meaningful and authentic way! The obvious benefits are brand awareness and transparent engagement with target audiences. In addition, LinkedIn for example, is more inclined to push individual posts and content over those coming from corporate pages.

#2 Evolution of paid social

Next year it’s going to be more important than ever to stand out and leveraging paid social campaigns can really be beneficial, especially around brand awareness and lead generation. It’s a great way of building engagement and being more targeted. It does need to be underpinned by a solid content strategy to make sure your audience is consuming that content and interacting with your brand.

#3 Bet on organic social

With all the changes that have happened this year – enter the Metaverse! – there’s no guarantee that organic will continue to be effective; especially with the focus on paid and the fact organic reach has been steadily declining over the last few years. However, organic still has a definite role to play so we’ll see brands taking full advantage of that.

If you have any questions or thoughts on the trends, let us know! Or get in touch if you’d like to see how you can capitalise on them in 2022.


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