In 2018, there’s no room for anything other than authenticity

FleishmanHillard's Jenna Orme considers how 2017 has set the tone for a more authentic year to come.

2017 was the year of upping the ante. Consumers, employees and entire sectors alike have become savvier. We have a heightened awareness of marketing efforts and are increasingly cynical about everything around us.

We already know Amazon is a game changer

As an industry, we need to work smarter and prioritise authenticity. This is what gets noticed – being disingenuous has never been riskier. As we approach 2018, the winners will be those who listen, watch and act in line with consumers’ true values.

Be prepared

Technology is advancing and the importance of cyber security and preparedness is more critical than ever before. Particularly as Australia’s mandatory data breach notification scheme will take effect in February 2018 following the passage of the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016.

Organisations will have a legal obligation to notify all affected parties – including customers – when their information has been breached, but only if the breach is likely to result in serious harm. This has the potential to have a detrimental effect if it’s not well managed. Media attention will heighten next year. Preparation is key. Don’t let your company be someone else’s case study on ‘what not to do’.

Savvy and getting savvier

The highly anticipated launch of Amazon in Australia was so interesting to watch. Australians didn’t simply welcome the new platform with open arms just because it’s been a success around the world. We analysed, reviewed, compared and interrogated everything it had to offer.

While not everything is competitively priced, it’s a game changer for the retail sector. It’s easy to sell on Amazon, but it takes a robust strategy and new way of thinking about merchandising and content to be successful. As many brands partner up with Amazon, we’re likely to see a shift in how they approach their marketing and communications. Competition will be fierce and with it, the speed at which brands need to engage and react with media and consumers.

Bring back the authentic

We want real, genuine and honest interactions. We’ve seen this in the rise of live content. Instastories, YouTube live stream and Facebook Live have taken off this year and are set to only get bigger. The days of heavily curated messaging and forced branding are gone.

Live communication platforms are a closer reflection of real life and that’s what people want. We need to change and adapt to the ways we’re producing content and ensure our number one priority is authenticity.

Stand out from the crowd

We will continue to see the rise of social influencers, however the Five Ws are more important than ever. Consumers are too switched on these days and will see straight through an influencer partnership if the relevance isn’t there. Quality over quantity is imperative.

Influencers who wholeheartedly believe in what they’re representing go above and beyond. Content automatically becomes far more authentic, genuine and believable. These influencers stick out from the crowd. In a world where social influence makes a difference, do your homework, don’t just throw money at the situation – it won’t work.

Your team is everything

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
– Richard Branson

I sit firmly in the Branson camp – 2017 has been a massive year, 2018 won’t be any different. Make sure you reward, recognise and remunerate your team. Encourage people to take the downtime when they can.

The Christmas break will allow people to put pens down and come back rested and rejuvenated for the year ahead. Don’t take people for granted and don’t ever lose touch otherwise things will crumble. There’s too much competition out there not to care about your team.

There’s always a sense of intrigue as we enter into a new year. It will be interesting to see what 2018 brings. Our landscape continues to change, the way in which we communicate continues to evolve and watching new global platforms like Amazon and Bitcoin shake things up is somewhat refreshing. 2017 has set the tone for a more authentic future.

Jenna Orme is general manager of FleishmanHillard



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