It is the day before everything gets back to normal. Tomorrow the children will be back in school, the decorations will probably be down, and people will return to work. This is also the time when I am considering what 2016 may mean for me in work and also for the communication professionals wherever they are working.
I have five predictions for the year ahead that I will outline now and only time will tell whether they are accurate or not.
- Corporate social responsibility will become a priority – business is about more than making money. The previous year has shown that the morality of business decisions is likely to come under the spotlight at some point. There is a big question of was something the ‘right’ thing to do rather than just if it was legal. For organisations and businesses they need to be showing what they are doing to benefit communities and also to limit any negative impacts from what they do. A lot of the Christmas adverts have shown a need to connect with people on a moral level. So I would expect we see more of this within advertising and broader communication.
- Community spirit is necessary – and while big business may have to look at what they can do to benefit society, we are all going to need to develop our community spirit. The impact of the cuts to public services will mean gaps in what can be provided on a local level. In the coming year some of this will become more evident and will mean people need to get involved. For communicators they need to find a way to tap into this, particularly if they are working in the public sector.
- Cyber security may hinder developments – in 2015 the possibility of cyber terrorism became more understood. However, there is still so much that businesses and individuals need to do to be safe online. In February you can expect a lot of discussion about this subject as part of Safer Internet Day. One issue may be that the concern about online security prevents us making further developments in that area or at least delays the pace of change.
- Training is critical – for many years communicators have seen a dwindling training budget and in some cases it may have disappeared completely. In 2016 the time is right to put a focus on personal development. This may mean putting some of your own finance in to take part in training or gain a qualification. There is a lot of development support available for free particularly using online providers, but as communication professionals we need to value our skills and knowledge.
- It is a total package – communication has for the past four or five years been a split between media and social media, between marketing and advertising, between paid for and free communication. The next 12 months should see these splits disappear as the work becomes cohesive and a total package. All the elements of communication need to be coherently in sync for maximum benefit to be achieved.
I believe all five of these predictions will impact on my working life by the end of 2016. But let us see in 12 months time if they have had a wider impact, at that point I will reflect on whether any of these five came into existence in 2016.
What are your predictions for communicators in 2016?