Communications crash course: Current trends from A to Z

by | Aug 24, 2015 | Uncategorized

With journalism, advertising, public relations and more, the field of communications is broad and expanding further every day with the introduction of new tools like Periscope, Snapchat and their ilk.

Even in a specifically targeted program like communications, students study everything from advertising and public relations research design to multimedia storytelling. Here, we take a look at 26 popular communications trends that give a sense of just how diverse and multi-talented media professionals must be to tackle the field of communications head-on.

Having engaging ambassadors who will go out of their way to provide recommendations and referrals is one of the best ways to broaden your reach, gain new customers and tell your story.

Big Data
According to McKinsey & Company, big data is the greatest game-changing opportunity for marketing and sales since the Internet went mainstream. Today’s intelligent marketing technologies allow for better customer relationship management.

Cross-Channel Personalization
Cross-channel personalization is all about “connecting the digital dots” and delivering a brand experience that moves with your consumers in a personalized way.

Design Thinking
The five principles of design thinking—empathize, observe, brainstorm, prototype and test—are related to communications in a way that can help you boost the value of your organization or company by improving problem solving skills and creative idea output.

Love them or hate them, emojis are changing the way we communicate. Brands are using these small, cartoon-like images to connect with younger audiences and convey messages in new ways.

Friends and Family
According to Nielson, 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust the personal recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising, proving that family and friends matter when it comes to brand communication.

Growth Hacking
What do Facebook, Dropbox and Twitter all have in common? They all employed growth hacking to attract and build an early following. Growth hacking is a marketing technique that leverages creativity, analytical thinking and social metrics in order to sell products and gain exposure.

In today’s overcrowded, ever-connected and uber-informed marketplace, it pays to be insanely honest. Being honest and transparent can be a powerful way to gain trust and build a loyal following.

Internet of Things
Watches, wearables, coffee pots and cars, we’ve entered an era in which everything can be connected via the Internet. Thanks to sensor technology and the Internet of Things, the expected growth of machine-to-machine connections will have countless effects on our lives and a profound impact on the way we do business.

The lines between journalism and PR are being blurred by brand journalism. This journalistic storytelling focuses on communicating messages that consumers care about. Is it news? Or is it PR? Maybe it’s a little of both.

Crowdfunding is on the rise, and Kickstarter is the king of the pack. Forward-thinking marketers are using crowdfunding tactics to get product validation, create brand advocates and build brands people love.

Marketers are using LinkedIn as a powerhouse online channel to attract sales leads, engage prospects and accelerate conversions that generate revenue.

Mobile Majority
Mobile devices are revolutionizing the way we keep up on current events. According to Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2015, 39 of the top 50 digital news web sites get more traffic from mobile devices than from desktop computers.

Native Advertising
Native ads—a tactic in which ads are meant to mimic editorial content—are less intrusive and offer brands another way to engage with customers by providing relevant content.

Over-The-Top Content
Over-the-top content refers to the delivery of audio, video and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator (MSO)—think Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. It is predicted that subscriptions to OTT services will nearly triple by 2019.

Serial may not have singlehandedly sparked the return of podcasts, but it certainly helped. According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who’ve listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled since 2008.

If you want to get people talking, ask them a question. All customers want to be heard, and questions provide them with an opportunity to use their voice, offer opinions and express feelings.

Ratings and Reviews
From large major brands to small local shops, practically every business can benefit from positive ratings and reviews. Also known as earned media, online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising.

Sweepstakes via Social Media
Looking for a winning strategy that will attract a large social media audience? Launching a sweepstakes or contest via social media is a smart way to engage customers, reach new audiences and generate a buzz about your brand.

Total Market Strategy

With multicultural populations rapidly growing, replacing your “multicultural marketing team” with a total market strategy – via Walmart in 2011 – will make multicultural marketing a focus for everyone at the company.

User-Generated Content
For social media marketers, user-generated content (UGC) is recognized as the fastest and most effective way to generate content and engage brand users. UGC is a relevant, personal, real and powerful way to gain visibility and market your brand.

Video Marketing
The year 2015 has rightfully been dubbed “The Year of Video Marketing.” In less than 30 seconds, a video can provide customers with the information they seek in a quick, engaging format that doesn’t overwhelm them with words.

Wearable Technology
While the concept may seem simple, the potential impact of wearables on our behavior and expectations—as well as our marketing strategies—is far more complex. Imagine all the data that can be collected from technology that is worn nearly 24/7 by your customers.

“X” Marks the Spot (Location-Based Marketing)
The use of beacons is on the rise – from Macy’s to Starwood Hotels – companies are using these in-store devices to connect with shopper’s smartphones and improve their retail experience.

With 1 billion (and counting) users, YouTube has surpassed the popularity of live television. “The Business of YouTube,” an infographic developed by Communications@Syracuse, illustrates YouTube’s growth popularity and profiles some of today’s rising stars.

Generation Z
Move over, Millennials and make way for Generation Z. They are our nation’s most diverse consumers, and our largest population demographic—those born in or after 1995 make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population. As their influence inevitably grows, so will the need for marketers to adapt to engage this audience in new ways.

Guest writer Jenna Dutcher is the Community Relations Manager of the Online Master’s in Communications program, Communications@Syracuse, and current Communications@Syracuse student specializing in Journalism Innovation. Dutcher earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.

Jenna Dutcher


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