2017 Trends: Personalization, Participation and Transparency
2017 will be the year of continuing content personalization and further polarization of ideas and entrenchment in the respective positions. In the era of free choice, there will be increasingly more micro trends. Some will choose authenticity, others glamor. Some will rely on data, others on emotions. Since all the formats are becoming quite alike in terms of the ease of consumption and simplicity of language, written texts will aim to help visualize, and films will tell stories. At the same time, communication will more and more be based on emotions. Besides all the happy and positive trends, we will see quite a bit of controversy, especially around brands that have nothing to lose.
A stage for everyone
The marketing industry lives on Snapchat, daily vlogs, native advertising and algorithms. People, however, are looking for things that spark emotions. Original texts are now valued more than ever because the audience is tired of sloppiness content. 2017 will bring the need for bigger editorial budgets and increased spending on promoting the created content.
Content will stop being only “valuable,” because it doesn’t really mean much, but it will need to be relevant to its target audience. Instead of building own communities, a lot of brands will start working with influencers who already have a following. At the same time, we will witness a rise in the willingness of users to participate and in watching people “the way they are.” The global success of YouTube, which became the second most used search engine worldwide (after Google), resulted from the assumption that it’s a stage for everyone to participate and specifically for anyone who was simply looking to have a human experience, to laugh, to share their talents or to learn something.
Brands are developing their own personalities
After a period of trying to befriend users by force, as it was evident on social media, brands are now giving a little space. As Martin Lindstrom said, “You can’t be friends with everyone, and the moment you try, you’re doomed – especially if you are a brand.”
In the world of explicit and open communication of the users, brands also must take some position, like for example, Airbnb, which recently published its Nondiscrimination Policy for guests. “The company does have to take a position,” says Julie Supan who is responsible for marketing strategy at Airbnb. “While Airbnb will say consistently that the hosts are their business—and that is true—the position of the company is toward the guest. It’s about belonging,” continues Supan.
Enter the new generation
On the heels of millennials, whose participation in communication so drastically changed media consumption, slowly enters a new generation that may very well change communication itself. Aware, more inclined to cooperate, logical (even to the point of binary thinking), open to other views, and more sensitive to falseness and true intentions of the speaker.
On the other hand, it’s also a very entrepreneurial generation that’s very straightforward. Over half of its teenagers want to start their own businesses. Maybe it’s a combination of pragmatism and entrepreneurship that make Gen Z much harder-working and geared toward acquiring practical skills. They’re always learning and know how to gain and use their new abilities. It’s from this generation that the next influencers will be recruited.
In the video era, writing is still in high demand
“The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” said Nicola Mendelsohn from Facebook, talking about the future of video. “It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us digest much more information.”
Mendelsohn also added that in the next five years, Facebook would “definitely” be mobile, and would “probably” be “all video.” These words were interpreted as a looming doom for written texts, which is getting old and happily substituted with readily-available, modern images and videos. As Ann Handley noticed in her bestselling book “Everybody writes,” in the atmosphere of Trump versus Clinton, polarization sells – that’s an exaggerated prediction.
Consumption of videos is favored by Facebook, but the stats show that users still enjoy reading even the longer pieces. According to the latest data from the Pew research Center, longer articles attract about the same number of users as the shorter ones, but generate twice the engagement.