2012 has been an exciting year in marketing public relations. Here, we highlight trends we expect to drive change and marketing innovations during 2013.
Social reputation sparkles
All things social will officially transition from their old ‘just for kids’ reputation to a well-earned position as drivers of strategic objectives. From crowd-sourcing to recruiting, selling to engagement — social strategy will be a first order of business.
Direct consumer engagement trumps media relations
PR has long evolved beyond being a synonym for media relations. In the rise of social media such as Facebook, blogging platforms, Twitter, YouTube and other sharable content networks, clients decreased traditional media spends in favor of creative campaigns that engage directly with consumers. We predict more brands than ever will embrace the opportunity to tell their own stories and share value-added content through their own online communication assets.
Visual marketing continues explosive growth
Images took center-stage this year, led by the visual superstar Pinterest. More than being a pretty face (or product shot), visuals showed their dramatic power to increase stakeholder engagement, linking up with goals from driving e-commerce sales to influencing voter sentiments during the presidential campaign. ‘Show, don’t tell’ will move from a novelty best practice to the norm, with the most consistent and creative brands claiming leadership positions in the marketplace.
Content marketing adds value
Content = currency online. We expect the content brands develop will shift toward providing value to consumers and away from traditional advertising messages. Brands will consider what their stakeholders are interested in and need, and how they can speak to that need. Making this shift will require brands to look to their values to connect to the right interests — health, wellness, art, community. Where does the brand fit in the social landscape? What should it talk about other than itself?
Marketers look beyond Facebook for community development
As Facebook continues to monetize its platform, online community managers will look for new ways to engage consumers. We predict Facebook will remain the leading player in social strategy, but brands, especially smaller companies, will grow frustrated with decreased fan engagement and dependence on paid features. This frustration will drive innovation, leading to hyper-creative community-building tactics and new brand communities.
While Internet users can start blogs, build websites or create Facebook pages, the tools do little without the know-how to use them. We expect an increase in partnerships between business and PR pros to use tools to achieve business results.