Most people should be back at work tomorrow morning. Finally, things will be back to normal but for me I have worked through the festive period so am less stressed about Monday morning. I thought it would be a good time to outline my thoughts for what 2015 may hold for communicators and communication teams. For many years I have avoided doing any resolutions but I do like to consider what the next 12 months may hold. I limited myself to eight predictions which are:
1. Priority but no additional support – communication will be seen as more important but this won’t mean any growth in a lot of the teams. The demands will be on communicators to do more with less, and to continue to maximise the opportunities that technology brings. I feel this will be the same both for public and private sector as every penny will continue to matter.
2. Growing smaller networks – while Twitter and Facebook have become the key social networks that have drawn all the focus this will be tested in the year ahead. More special interest social networks will emerge which will be of more interest to individuals but a challenge for organisations who will struggle to gain the reach. The growth of Snapchat in the past year is a sign of things ahead. For communicators this means knowing about smaller networks, understanding them and finding ways to use them.
3. Privacy and security will be critical – we have seen some really high-profile hacking incidents during 2014 and the risks of online activity are at the forefront of people’s minds. The impact of breaches to big organisations and governments has made us all a little more concerned. Are we giving too much away in exchange for the benefits of using the Internet and social networks?
4. Press the go viral button – communicators will be increasingly searching for the next big thing. The challenge of ‘going viral’ will be with everyone. Business leaders and organisations will become more demanding after seeing things like the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. It will lead to consternation and the likelihood of many failed attempts to find something people like enough to share.
5. Continued growth of sites like Buzzfeed – the non-news news sites are going to continue to grow and grow. It appears that many younger people get most of their news this way. Communicators need to find ways to get such sites interested in what they are promoting if they are to reach a larger audience.
6. The growth of social buying – the ability to be able to buy through Twitter and Facebook is going to become more attractive. For businesses the opportunity of advertising and then having a link for people to buy the product or service is going to be really attractive. This may mean a growth in social media advertising possibly not universally welcomed.
7. More being added to the internet of things – this is more than wearable tech that was mentioned in my 2014 predictions. It is about the smart home, smart car as well as the wearables. We can see increasing use round the home building on things already in place such as the Hive remote heating management app. It will be something people grasp as a way to make life easier.
8. Politics everywhere – we are in an election year and one that is likely to be more fiercely contested than for many years. We are only on day 4 of 2015 and yet we have already seen the first pronouncements. This will be a challenging year for any public sector communicators who can find themselves being drawn into political posturing. But more than that businesses and companies may also be dragged into political debate or disagreement. This is where not all publicity may be good publicity. Being aware of this potential implication can be very distracting from the day-to-day communication requirements.
Only time will tell whether any of these predictions take place in the 12 months ahead. One thing that is true is it will be a challenging but exciting time.
Let me know if you have any additional predictions for communication in 2015.