Crystal Ball Gazing

The Public Relations and communications business is evolving and evolving at a faster pace than most others, owing to the ‘e-world’ that has made information accessible, interactive and engaging.

Over the last 17 years, since I stepped into this profession, many changes, mostly positive, have worked well towards metamorphosing this business.  With 2017 coming to a close, 2018 seems to promise a ‘New World Order’.  The New World will allow for a quicker, smarter and transparent information flow.

I believe that brands will fast adapt to this new world order.  So, here are some of the notable changes one should look for in 2018 and readily embrace:

Brand Reputation – These words will no longer be catch phrases that find their place only in ‘pitch’ presentations. Come the New World Order, brand reputation will become an ‘asset’, in fact, ‘a performing asset’. Brand Reputation will become the ‘new’ currency of 2018. Marketers will work on this ‘cash cow’ and milk it well enough in their fight for the consumer mind space and the market shelf space.

As PR practitioners, this is good news! Building brand reputation will also see companies using ‘owned’ channels, much more than ever! I believe that brands will begin to communicate from their ‘own’ spaces – owned blogs, owned newsrooms, owned social media platforms will become increasingly vocal and managing them will remain the key to building the reputation of the brand.

Brand Messaging – Over the last 12 months, social media has been fueled with negative trolls and anti-positive stories over many political and social debates. The coming months will witness the change in the manner in which brands converse with their audiences.

Consumers want to hear ‘good messages’ which are authentic, credible and social. Keeping in line with this insight, brands will begin to package their message with ‘good social intent’. Positive messages and association with issues that have far reaching impact such as climatic changes, human rights, education, health and gender will dominate brand messaging in the future.

Brand Personality – Brands will become more personal. Knowing Your Customer (KYC) and therefore bringing personalised content through social and digital media will allow brands to ‘engage’ with their customers, rather than just being ‘informative’.

Personalised and customised communication will soon become the order of the New World. Technology will be the driver. Communication based on real-time data will help in weaving this piece together and building a strong foundation for the brand.

Communication in the B2B space will also undergo change. Associating brands with industry experts and strong case studies will make communications in this space interesting. Be it B2B or B2C, communications will be driven by two basic aspects- listening and telling.

Social media listening will become the key to gaining consumer insights. While story telling will keep the engagement alive.

2018 will be a year with lots of story telling and lots of intense listening, so gear up and sharpen your senses as we are in the business of building – building brands and trust. Buildings that have a strong foundation are those that can survive for longer than the rest. It is our responsibility to build brands through trust and credibility.

Bhavna Singh
At OPPI Bhavna works on multi- stakeholder advocacy & communications programmes including Government, regulatory authorities, the pharma industry and the media. Her online campaigns; patient communication and comprehensive industry led publications have won recognitions both in India and globally.

A recipient of many awards, Bhavna was most recently named among the 40 under Forty- Class of 207 by Reputation Today. OPPI’s 50 years commemorative publication – 'The Colour of White' received the Asia Pacific Communications Awards, 2017, under the publication category. Bhavna has also been recognised by World Global Diversity & Inclusion Congress and World HRD Congress as Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader -2017 and is a winner of BAM Award for using Innovative Media Vehicles in healthcare Communications- 2017.

Her key competencies include Brand Communications & Public Relations. She takes to writing as an important medium for communicating her thoughts. Gender diversity is an issue that she feels strongly about and has written and spoken about this at various public platforms.

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