Subscriptions, holograms, wizards... brand comms trends for 2019

A Nostradamus-like sideways look at the trends that will shape consumer PR in 2019 and that we should all be keeping a note of as the year progresses.

Questions over content

We’re overdue an honest appraisal of whether all the content we slam down social-network feeds has any impact. Whether digging into overstated audience reach, questioning view-through rates or taking a long, hard look at follower and engagement fraud, the relative worth of social content and influencer-led campaigning as a sales channel will, rightly, be up for healthy debate.

Generation Flex

We will all launch a subscription service of some sort. Socks, dog food, underwear... subscription gin to get over the stress of managing all the subscriptions. You won’t be a proper consumer brand agency if you don’t have one. Greggs-by-post, anyone?

Royal baby mania

A slew of royal baby-related PR campaigns and tactical print ads congratulating the happy couple will drop from March. PRs across the land will be torn between a desire to nail the coverage KPIs for the month and a dim realisation that the brand they’re working on has nothing to do with the occasion. But sod it, coverage numbers are coverage numbers, right?

Holograms are the new crop circles

When I was a whippersnapper in PR, no brainstorm was complete without a crop circle... or putting something on The Fourth Plinth. This year, I predict that, after the sad demise of "sail it down the Thames", "make it into a hologram" will become the go-to for consumer brand agencies everywhere.

Harry Potter-mania

Last year I predicted wizards would take over the world. Sadly, slipping development timelines on mobile AR game Wizards Unite meant that didn’t come true. But it is now firmly slated for 2019, so make sure you have tangential client references to wizards lined up in your annual plans so you can hijack the fun.

Standing up and standing out

Marketers will be pondering what their brand can do to show it truly cares about major global issues. Expect to see the most unlikely of brands touting their credentials as the corporate equivalent of an anti-Trump, LGBTQ-supporting feminist with an environmental conscience and interest in mental-health issues (which all right-thinking brands should be, of course). Let’s just make sure the brands we work with do something genuine. Businesses need to mean what we say on their behalf.

Meaningless introspection about PR will continue

We’re thinking of rebranding as PR Public Relations in 2019. Just to make sure all our bases are covered, and so our team remember what they do every day –it’s so hard to keep them from forgetting what their jobs are if you don’t put it above the door.

James Gordon-MacIntosh is managing partner at Hope&Glory

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