iSentia recently launched its Comms Agenda 2021 in which communication professionals across more than 21 industries and 14 countries were surveyed about the future of the communication profession post-pandemic. The research aimed to “shed some light on the challenges and opportunities for the communications profession” and see what might be on the agenda (hopefully post pandemic) over the next 12 months.
The main themes were a greater emphasis on strategy, increased focus on empathy, re-allocation of communications resources internally and improved use of data.
Strategy, empathy and internal communications are all things we’ve blogged about or referenced recently in our Palin Communications content (see our video on empathy in communications here). So it’s good to know we’ve sensed some of these trends emerging.
The Palin Communications team has definitely seen clients re-allocating resources or finding extra budget for internal communications as the employer/employee relationship comes more sharply into focus because of COVID-19.
These trends definitely have implications for the skill sets that communicators will need to have in order to prosper in the future.
Having a strong sense of strategy is always important. But, before you can develop integrated strategies around earned, owned, paid and shared media, you need to understand what each these channels can do.
You can’t build a strategy if you don’t know what each of the tools is best designed for. Indeed, you need to have actually used the tools before you can provide any level of valuable strategic insight.
From the survey, one in four respondents say they are going to be “reviewing our communications channels mix” – which is admirable so long as the team that has final responsibility for the review understands what all the different channels are best designed to do.
Brand reputation tops the list of future priorities and certainly there are opportunities to re-shape what people think of specific industries and brands. I’ve said previously that the fallout from the pandemic represents a huge opportunity for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. So long as their response is framed around solutions, innovations and support for the less fortunate.
When communicators were asked the areas of communications they would most like to advance through the use of new technology and tools in the coming year, the top ranking priority was employee engagement. It’s almost like the technology and platforms that have been used to communicate with customers, consumers, allies and external stakeholders in recent years haven’t really been calibrated to support employee engagement.
But that is now clearly in the process of changing.
Again as an agency we’ve been challenged by many clients to find more innovative ways to orientate new employees, share existing resources with them, reward them, engage them and educate them. As an example, platforms that have been traditionally viewed as more relevant to an external audience – like LinkedIn – have been put to great use as part of employee engagement projects.
If LinkedIn is going to be a preferred platform, then it will be important to understand the tools and add-ons that help bring work-focused content to life. Consultants better know about Sprinklr, live stream videos, 5 in 1 imagery, augmented reality and a heap of others.
The all company emails are no longer going to cut it as an effective internal communications channel.
Professional communicators were also asked what media types will become critical to the success of their communication strategy in the next 12 months?
Social media came out on top.
So get ready Australian pharma companies. Especially those of you still pointing to “risk” as a reason not be involved in social media. Because remember, the risks associated with developing a cohesive, considered social media strategy are dwarfed by the risks that come with letting the world leave you behind.