Top 7 Communications Trends To Follow in 2017

We’ve been talking a lot at Prowly about how trends are coming and going at what feels like a faster rate than ever. That made us think: what can we do to help you stay on top of these new ideas? Today, we present our list of top trends in communication AD 2017, and soon, we are going to publish a rank of trends by PR people we admire.

So, what trends will change the way you work?

GEN Z – a hot topic

Listen to the kids, bro – this is the main thought from Kanye West’s 2015 MTV VMAs speech. Many of us can be surprised that listening to the kids, aka the trendsetters and creators of pop culture, is a revolutionary idea. But here is a future prediction by Myreete Wolford, Assistant Account Executive, Business Development, Ketchum PR: “As the Kylie Jenners of the world break through social feeds and YouTube stars carry more clout than mainstream stars, elevating the Gen Z conversation will be inevitable. The same tech-savvy world we broke into at Cannes Lions is the only world Gen Z has ever known. They’re texting earlier, tweeting faster, coding younger, and it’s time we pay attention to that potential – and maybe even say, »thank you, Kanye,« for paving the way for »the kids« to be heard.”

The power of emotions

2016 was the year of emotions. Is it going to stay with us a little bit longer? At Prowly, we have no doubts – we have even lately updated some of our best features to help you create even more authentic stories in the fastest way. And that’s what PR is all about, isn’t it?

But there is one trick – emotion can be a powerful tool in business (it can build a relationship that can lead to brand loyalty), only if you know how to use it. BTW, remember that book about the importance of emotional connections between consumers and brands (Lovemarks — The Future Beyond Brands) written by Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi? Kevin claims in it that by building respect and inspiring love, “businesses can move the world.” When brands — and branded content, by extension — make strong emotional connections with consumers, the feeling – says Kevin – goes beyond brand loyalty and leaves an indelible mark that cannot be replaced. That’s why this trend won’t die so soon. In fact, our team expects to see a major jump in the number of companies that discuss, measure and design for emotion (check it here). We think that it will also become a hot topic at CX conferences.

Data-driven communication

Besides the new ways of reaching your audience, the digitalization of PR gives us, communications pros, something more – a wide range of intelligent PR software providing customized monitoring and analysis reports, helping with company budgeting and improving the workflow in your team, pitch editing and distribution, and giving you the knowledge about your PR activities. Things like what content got the best results, who opened your emails, what relationship needs to be nurtured, etc. That means that the times, when you said that it is impossible to measure PR in a different way than in AVE, are gone. I know, you use AVE because it’s easy. But it’s also wrong. And your clients already know it. They really are more and more educated. You should be too. In fact, there are at least 30 public relations metrics alternative to AVE. And guess what, now is also the time when we are adding AI to PR measurement & tactics.

Same thing with social media. DMA recently reported that they are still in infancy. But 70% of companies are still not collecting data from social media channels.

Rich media content

More rich media content – video, interactive tools, gamification, etc. As audience tastes and expectations evolve, so will the types of content being created. This kind of campaigns is the most shareable, viral and measurable.The last Cannes Lions contest edition proves it. Just take a look at such case studies like “The Second Scoreboard” (by J. Walter Thompson Costa Rica for Costa Rica’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs), “Stardust” for Bowie (by Belgium’s radio station Studio Brussel), the Intel and Lady Gaga partnership project at the Grammys, or #comeonin (by Sydney Opera House) – you will find all of them here. BTW: McDonald’s is moving heavily into digital and plans to double the amount of content it cranks out this year. “In the last two years, we’ve created approximately 2,500 pieces of marketing content a year,” CMO Deborah Wahl said. And added, that this year, they will create roughly 5,000 pieces of marketing content. What is your plan?

Brand commerce – more touch points with your audience

Today, when your audience doesn’t remember what it means to be offline anymore and access to information about a product got quicker and easier, every point of brand interaction can become a point of transaction. A great example here is brand commerce. Find out here how Slack or MailChimp recently reached for such solutions.

Live Video – a true connection with your audience

How many people use Youtube nowadays? Over one billion. That’s almost one-third of all people on the Internet. What is more, online video now accounts for upwards of 50 percent of all mobile traffic. Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have already integrated some form of video content on their platforms, and that video feature emerged as the central medium for interaction. Brands don’t want to stay behind, and they add it to their online marketing strategy too. For example, Demand Metric interviewed 398 marketing, sales, and business professionals which revealed that 69% had used video marketing and another 31% are planning to. What about live video streaming?

A few days ago, NPR took the cake with a team of more than 20 reporters offering real-time assessments on a live transcript of the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump debate. According to the article on, saw 7,413,000 pageviews from 6,011,000 users, and 22 percent of visitors to the page stayed all the way to the end. Monday was’s highest traffic day ever, with over 5 million visits.

Want more numbers? A recent Brandlive study of 200 executives found that 44% held a live streaming event in 2015 and 39% believe live streaming will be important to their marketing efforts going forward. We tried this too, during Helen Smyth’s (SMB Community Engagement Manager for Facebook) presentation about “Revolution in Communication” . And we’ll surely do it again and again.

VR – the hot new medium for brand storytelling

Less focus on the “wow factor” and more focus on how to use VR, AR, and other technologies throughout public relations and storytelling – this is what you should know about 2017. To put it in simpler terms – when 2016 was the year of tech education, 2017 is rather the year of tech application. According to the latest report by Research and Markets, commercial sector revenue from VR headsets, other VR equipment, VR content, and content creation tools will reach nearly $4.5 billion by 2020, up from just $114 million in 2014. R&M forecasts that one of the highest-potential application markets is marketing and advertising. No wonder. Getting users to experience a brand via a new medium lingers longer in the mind and can help a company truly establish its product in the minds of target audiences. Why VR PR and marketing campaigns are so successful? VR solves the enormous problems marketers have with engagement and awareness. The top Cannes Lions 2016 campaigns are the best examples here. Just see how The Dalí Museum did it.

Experts predict: trends to follow in 2017

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