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Looking Ahead to Two Thousand and Seventeen

by James Hickman James Hickman


  • Posted on Thursday 26th January, 2017

Forgive the lateness of the hour, but I wanted 2017 to roll on a little bit just in case any more celebrities decided to leave their mortal existence and throw our entire culture into another violent spin-cycle of nostalgia and ‘2017. JUST STOP IT.’ tweets. Now that the New Year’s dust has settled and your resolution to eat more vegetables has subsided to convincing yourself that M&Ms, thanks to their colour, do offer some nutritional value. This is the time to cast our gaze forward, that’s fancy writing for ‘now is the time to look ahead…’

The PR and Social landscape is a tumultuous one, so predicting where we’ll all be in 12 months (11 months, 4 days) is a tricky task and best suited to the Martin Sorrell’s of this world. But hey, I’ll give it the old college try.


1. DRONES. There, now that’s out of the way.

2. UNPREDICTABLE. Excellent, two points in, two cop-out answers. But seriously, look at 2016, did any of you see that coming? From Brexit to Trump to England being unable to BEAT ICELAND FOR GOODNESS SAKES, a lot of us in the PR industry were caught on our heels. Social again has the chance to shine in these situations, reactively tapping into the public disapproval and pandemonium gives a chance for a brand’s personality to shine through and engage with your consumer with something topical. Look at that, I managed not to say newsjacking.


3. GREY AREAS. The lines will continue to blur between the marketing communications mix, more campaigns will find themselves naturally integrated, this obviously will create some fresh challenges, but the amplification and reach of fully integrated campaigns will help show PR in a kinder light. Sadly, this mash-up of the marketing mix will make it much more difficult to explain to my dearest Gran what I ‘actually do’ for a job, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.


4. LIVE. From experiential activity, through to live content for social, directly talking to your audience has never been easier or more rewarding. We all dilly-dallied (Latin for experimented) with live video content in 2016, with Instagram and Twitter catching up with Facebook Live and Periscope, no matter which platform your audience uses, you’ll be able to talk to them in real-time!


5. CHATTY. Speaking of talking to your audience wherever they may be. We’ve only just scratched the surface of how brands and agencies alike can make use of messaging apps. Right now, live chat/messaging features tend to be used for 24/7 support, allowing Dale from Stockport to tell you his laptop makes funny noises WHENEVER HE WANTS. Hopefully 2017 will see us masters of nonsense (Latin for creatives) embrace new functions for the variety of instant messaging options and apps out there for us.


6. COMMERCE. Despite our desires to the contrary, proving our value can often come down to pounds and pennies. With online links and the increasing importance of social media e-commerce, directly attributing sales figures to our campaigns should *FINGERS CROSSED* kfnhsdugSD, sorry, was trying to type with my fingers crossed, where was I? Oh yes, attributing sales to our fine work should be easier and help prove our worth to the powers that be.


There we have it, a list of six things that I’m predicting for 2017. Any similarities to any other lists of predictions are heresy and #AlternativeFacts. If you’d like anymore lists, please tweet me, I have over 5000 lists written in a notebook. From my 14 favourite types of tree to my top 41 pictures of me looking pensively into the distance. I’ve got you covered.