Five communications trends set to shape 2019

2019 is a big year for India. It’s election year. It’s all about winning people by employing the most convincing communication campaign. Now more than ever, the words of Abraham Lincoln resonate loudly,

In this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed.”

It would be a fair to assume that a large part of public sentiment is influenced by communications.

Be it advocacy-led elections at a larger level or communications-driven business goals at an organisational level, here are some of the trends to look forward to in 2019:

  1. Communication becomes emotional and personal: Storytelling, as a powerful communications tool, will be deployed extensively. Stories will become more emotional and customised. Connecting emotionally to build trust and relationships will take the form of personalised conversations that will enhance engagements. Traditional press releases will be soon be replaced with conversations and appealing narratives. With the future looking more at instant gratification, simpler, shorter and focused messaging will drive communications.
  2. Communication becomes measurable: More qualitative measures such as demographics and quality of engagement will take priority. Perception analyses, new social media monitoring platforms, and deeper market research will aid in developing content. The emergence of a completely different measurability matrix will tailor-make communication campaigns that are guided by a well-defined target audience and a clearly focused set of communication goals.
  3. Communication becomes more of listening: Most often we forget that a big part of communications is listening. This year, organisations will invest increased resources in social listening. Qualitative research like focus groups and message testing will add value in deciphering the effectiveness and impact of your communication.
  4. Communication becomes digital: One of the biggest opportunities of digital communication is to bring to the world an opportunity to share news as it happens. If we look at the top 100 brands in the world, 95% have an Instagram and Twitter account.  According to an EY Social Media Marketing: India Trends Study 2016, Periscope users view around 21 million minutes of livestream footage every 24 hours while snapchat users watch a collective 10 billion videos a day on the app. As a communicator, these will be the next two platforms to explore.
  5. Communications becomes visual: Communication is becoming increasingly pictographic and visual. Research indicates that 90% of the information that sticks in our brains is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and it’s also true that 93% of our communication is non-verbal. It is of no surprise that today’s fastest growing social media platforms are visual-based. This number is increasing and 84% of communication will become visual-based too.

2019 will most evidently be a year of collaboration. Advocacy will require to manage and integrate the complex mix of technological, regulatory, social, economic and environmental demands. The greater goal of strategic communication will continue to recognise influence as a strategic asset. Driving influence through a potent combination of impactful stories and effective storytelling will make 2019 a year of engaged discourse for organisations to listen and learn and widen their influence.

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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