Brand communications: My predictions for 2018

With 2018 now in full swing, here are my predictions for the biggest PR trends and opportunities to keep on top of as the year progresses.

Gordon-MacIntosh: the world of influencer marketing will continue to reshape in 2018
Gordon-MacIntosh: the world of influencer marketing will continue to reshape in 2018

Here are three media trends and three opportunities for brands to get themselves noticed in 2018 – alongside a roll-of-the-dice PR fashion trend I’m happy to be judged on at the end of the year...

The power of editorial

The established media owners’ posturing as bastions of trust will be rewarded with greater power. Editorial still has power to shape debates. If 2016 tested the influence of mainstream media brands and 2017 saw them bounce back, 2018 will be the year they consolidate their ability to shape cultures.

The pre-eminence of brand experience

Brands will continue to manifest themselves in real life. The demand for brand experiences is coming as much from consumers as from brands. We live in the ‘experience economy’ – where ever-greater numbers of us want ‘content’ to feed our social personas.

The influence of influencers

The world of influencer marketing will continue to reshape in 2018. As more reports emerge of questionable practices (albeit from a tiny minority),we’ll all question the impact of influencers. Three trends converge: influencer supply has started to catch up with demand; brands are demanding those advocating products do so on a more exclusive basis; and influencers want to foster longer-term relationships.

AR and Potter-mania

Remember the Pokémon GO! phenomenon as the public embraced AR gaming and every brand jumped on the bandwagon? Prepare for it all to happen again as Niantic releases a Harry Potter title using many of the same principles. Start thinking about your brand hijacks now.

The rise of the robots

If you want to tap into the zeitgeist for a brand in 2018, robots and AI are two places to go. Self-driving this, robot-operated that; next year will see us all working out how to get automation into our campaigns for clients.

A right royal knees-up

We’ve got the wedding of the year to look forward to and a new baby on the way. From wedding ring retailers to wedding planners to teddy bear manufacturers, there will be plenty of tactical opportunities for brands to join in with the royal fun.

What’s the new skinny?

To howls of protest from those in trendy east-end agencies the skinny jean will finally see the end of its pre-eminence. What a healthy proportion of the PR industry will turn to as a result, who can tell? But mark my words, men in jeggings will be a thing of the past. And not before time, too.

James Gordon-MacIntosh is managing partner at Hope&Glory

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