As we begin to scribble appointments in the 2012 diary, how do you feel about the year ahead? None of this hovering over a crystal ball nonsense (what is Mystic Meg up to these days?), we’ve listened to our clients and monitored recent developments to come up with what we think will be the trends to watch out for in 2012. Based on these predictions, 2012 will turn out to be a triumphant year for sharing, authenticity, the “everyman/woman” and more. Let’s take a look:
1. Pitch restraint: agencies and consultancies will take greater care when pitching their services; post-Bell Pottinger, they are more likely to think twice before making any sweeping, hyperbolic statements (dark arts, anyone?).
2. Hyper-personal PR: visibility into things like online sentiment is improving with the availability of more sophisticated analysis tools. PR will use this insight to deliver more targeted, one-to-one content to individuals. Alternatively, smart, quick opportunism – especially on Twitter – will increase.
3. What’s mine is yours: the future is bright for curation platforms like Pinterest, Evernote or bo.lt, which allow you to collect, edit and share information and data. We see this relatively new phenomenon becoming a key, digital tool for brands and individuals wanting to share, share, share.
4. Reviewing the reviewers: consumers are wisely watching where every penny is spent and scouring third-party reviews is the norm. In 2012, the key will be authenticity: consumers will no longer put up with blatantly paid-for endorsement, and will even question hyper-negative reviews that smack of rant versus reality. It places a greater burden on the individual consumer, but is also a huge opportunity for technology to harness opinions in new and more transparent ways.
5. Digital couch potatoes, unite! With YouTube set to launch scheduled programming and the debut of Google TV, increasingly, TV fans will engage with brands via telly-on-demand. This is already happening to a degree (see BBC i-Player, 4 On-Demand); the key difference being that it will integrate intelligent search and product placement – giving brands the power to target you with more relevant offers and the ability to buy at the click of a button through your TV screen.
6. Happy campaigning: Times are tough. Morale-boosting campaigns, in which the general public play a central role, will reach fever pitch in 2012. Also – prompted by the popularity of flashmobs, campaigns like Dove’s Real Beauty, and irreverent responses to viral sensations like Awkward Family Photos.com – companies will increasingly encourage real people to use their communications assets as a platform for positive self-expression.
7. Olympics fatigue? The event will offer rich content ideas and pitches for PRs and clients, with every aspect offering up timely and competitive opportunities for businesses. The trick will be in keeping it original and creative!