“The secret to building a successful track record for marketing communications is to keep up with international trends while leveraging local expertise to implement country-specific strategies and tactics that are tailored to local audiences,” says public relations expert Madelain Roscher, CEO of PR Worx.
Roscher notes that the industry has undergone several fundamental changes over the past two decades.
“When I first founded PR Worx, public relations was still largely focused on media relations and press releases. Today, media relations and press releases are still just as important, but we’ve also seen the explosion of social and digital media, which has fundamentally changed the way in which organisations are able to communicate and interact with their audiences,” she says.
“Digitisation especially has accelerated over the past two years, and looking forward, there are several new trends that businesses need to embrace to stay relevant.”
With this in mind, here are Roscher’s top four marketing and communications trends for brands in 2023:
Data is the new gold. But to safeguard your consumers’ privacy as well as your company’s reputation, you need to implement a clear data policy.
However, this policy isn’t just about technology: it’s about making the right choices about how you collect, store and access information.
In other words, your data strategy is an ethical plan of what to do with your company’s data that considers not just the capabilities of your organisation, but the concerns of your customers as well.
Meteoric advancements in technology have seen AI solutions play an increasingly prominent role in everyday marketing and communications activities.
As one example, AI-powered online tool Copy.ai is quickly transforming copywriting, generating high-quality content on a variety of topics at the click of a button.
Likewise, companies are increasingly making use of AI automation to create omnichannel brand experiences, and unique channels eliminating the need for multiple-point solutions.
AI is also built for scale, speed and security to analyse vast swathes of data on consumer behaviour to generate predictive insights on the potential success of your advertising or communications.
Videos have become ubiquitous in today’s online world, boosted by the rise of Facebook stories, Instagram reels, Youtube and TikTok. According to the Digital 2022: South Africa Report, for example, nearly 96% of local internet users watch online video content every week.
User-generated videos have soared in popularity, as according to Hootsuite, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to watch user-generated content than brand-created content.
User-generated content is brand-focused, original videos created by customers and consumers who share it on their own social media platforms. It includes how-to and demonstration videos, product unboxings, and testimonials or reviews.
As these reels are not created by the brands themselves, they are often seen as more authentic, relatable, and trustworthy by online audiences. User-generated videos have far greater influence over purchasing behaviour, effectively providing personal recommendations, tips, and brand insights from friends and family. Managed effectively, these can be powerful marketing tools for your brand.
To avoid your target audience mindlessly scrolling past your content on social media or your website, consider creating dynamic, interactive content that stimulates active engagement and creates memorable, unique brand experiences. Examples include augmented reality shopping, scrollytelling and interactive videos.
“The good news for brands is that interactive content needn’t be expensive and that the content can often be reused in multiple ways on different platforms,” says Roscher.
“So, by going the extra mile to grab your audience’s attention, you will quickly see the effects of your effort on your conversion numbers and your bottom line,” she concludes.