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2019 PRedictions: The year of the digital rebound

This blog is part of our PRedictions series, a collection of posts from PR and communications leaders offering insights, advice, and opinions on how our industry can grow in 2019. To view our full list of 2019 PRedictions, click here. Charlotte Stoel, Group Client Services Director, Firefly Communications, predicts: 

There’s never a dull moment in the communications industry, and 2018 has certainly been no slouch. This year, we’ve seen the roll-out of GDPR, 1.9bn people tuning in to watch Harry and Meghan getting married and Apple achieving a market cap of $1tn.

In 2019, we’re sure to see:

1.                   Digital Rebound: As trust in major social networks declines, there will be a slow and gentle backlash against digital channels. The ‘online/offline’ division will cease to be important, with the upshot that the online world eventually loses its halo. Consumers will start to realise the value of real, physical interactions rather than social feeds that provide fat rather than protein to their social diets

2.                   Skills for the AI world: This trend cuts across more than just the comms and marketing industry, every industry is impacted by AI in some way. We’ve all come across the drive for ‘soft skills’ – like management, leadership, writing etc, but a new generation of soft skills will emerge that are crucial in the AI world. They represent something robots can’t do and will include emotional intelligence, strategic decision making and ethics

3.                   The funnel is changing: The current sales funnel prioritises transactional relationships but that’s changing rapidly. Brands are winning over customers in micro-moments, or may even lose them that fast, for example on price. The key here is building trust and genuine relationships to foster loyalty - but know that customers won’t always be loyal with so much choice!

On top of this, we’ll undoubtedly see more pressure on the FAANGs from major governments, eSports gaining pace and the continued erosion of the ‘online/offline’ divide. Comms staff certainly won’t be bored!