Predictions for 2016

Who can believe it’s nearly the end of January 2016 already? As well as, no doubt, new words that are sure to crop up as language continues to evolve, our industry keeps changing at what seems like an ever-quickening pace. Businesses looking to raise brand awareness through PR (and us agencies helping them do so!) now need to respond to differences in the media landscape and the desires of audiences.

Here our Director considers a couple of the key things that we’re likely to continue seeing more of in 2016…

The rise and rise of key opinion leaders

Once upon a time, to reach a mass audience, brands harnessed the powers of the traditional media. Whether through advertising spend, or cleverly positioned PR, the media held the key to reaching the desired audiences.

Fast-forward to 2016 however, and it would seem the traditional media don’t hold all of the power, or all of the eyeballs anymore. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly still see a place for the traditional media and believe in their longevity (but that’s another whole blog post, we feel!) While the media themselves are adapting for their own survival, the reality is that there are now a host of other people that are worth thinking about when it comes to accessing an audience.

KOLs, or key opinion leaders, are those bloggers or social media (usually) personalities that have carved somewhat of a little niche for themselves and have amassed a following in the process. Take Simone of Simone’s Journey to Health or beauty and makeup blogger Shaaanxo, for example. With 110,872 and 2,893,478 followers, respectively, their reach rivals many of the mainstream publications.

While there remains some debate about the authenticity of some of these influencers and the transparency of the endorsements they allow, the fact remains that brands, and their agencies, are wising up to the fact that leveraging journalists is not the only way to reach a captive audience.

A move to content marketing

We’ve seen hundreds of articles about the changing landscape of advertising in recent years also; the fact that the traditional ‘push’ messaging no longer works and the need to work harder than ever to cut through and compete for attention.
While none of this is particularly new, we do predict that as a result, we will continue to see a rise in quality content marketing in 2016 – a move that we applaud wholeheartedly. Consider it this way… Interruptive advertising is no longer king. With the high proportion of time that we now spend in the online space, audiences have to choose to engage with your content for it to have any real impact. Sure, there are banner ads and pop ups, but we have the world at our fingertips, so if something doesn’t hold any interest for us, we can merely click away.

We’ve got unsubscribe buttons on all of our communications, so we have to invite you to keep populating our inbox (even if we may not have been aware that we invited you in in the first place!) and it’s at a brand’s own peril to ignore a consumer’s wishes. Instead, brands have to be more careful not to alienate people, while walking the fine line to interest and engage, and in some cases, disrupt people’s thoughts and attention.

We love the way that this is pushing the creative envelope and inspiring people to talk about their brands with passion and authenticity, as they aim to build their tribe. We also love the move towards more quality, editorial style content marketing that adds value for readers and engenders brand loyalty and advocacy. Long may this trend continue!