10 global trends in the field of communications

Dr. sc. comm. Olga Kazaka
Partner at A. W. Olsen & Partners, Assistant Professor, University of Latvia

The topmost event of the year in the field of public relations is the presentation of the most significant international public relations award, the IPRA Golden World Awards. The winners of this prize are recognized as the most advanced communicators. This year, hundreds of communication campaigns from 64 countries throughout the world were submitted to the competition. Interestingly, only 44% of the winners came from Europe, including the campaign by Latvian communication agency “A. W. Olsen & Partners”.

Here are the most noticeable current trends in the field of communications that permeated this year’s campaigns.

1. Fight for Trust

A number of campaigns focused on trust. In many countries, people lose confidence in government, local authorities, organizations and the media. In addition, more and more organizations are being forced to integrate the fight against misinformation into their communication strategy.

2. Opinion Leaders

Not only the organizations but also opinion leaders play an increasingly important role in the struggle for trust, helping from outside to convey messages to specific groups by sharing some of their authority with the organization. And they may not always be the influencers in social networks: there may be campaigns in which a doctor, clergyman or musician will be the ideal opinion leader.

3. Expanding the Boundaries of Public Relations 

Nowadays, public relations can affect not only the reputation of organizations but also their financial performance. In addition, organizations are increasingly seeking to change their habits and views through communication tools rather than simply informing the widest possible audience.

4. More Emphasis on Social Responsibility

This year, the number of socially focused and corporate social responsibility focused campaigns has increased more than ever. Seemingly, sustainable development has come into fashion. It is now important for organizations to match words with deeds – to be socially responsible, not only in their campaigns but in practice as well.

5. Spotlight on Women 

There has been a significant growth in number of communication campaigns that raise women’s rights issues and encourage them to become more active in a variety of fields, including entrepreneurship.

6. Augmented Realities

The number of campaigns using digital solutions to communicate the message more effectively to the audience has increased rapidly. Alongside existing social media, augmented and virtual reality is actively used, especially when it comes to realistically conveying unusual feelings to the audience, for example to understand how a person suffering from a disease feels. In addition, the audience is actively engaged in communication through apps with game elements.

7. Artificial Intelligence

Communication campaigns are also increasingly using artificial intelligence to help analyse big data as well as interact with audiences, such as responding promptly to customer standard questions.

8. Simply about Complicated Issues

Another task that communicators actively tackle every day is how to explain complicated issues in simple terms to a wide audience. An essential rule for today’s communicators, who are fighting for the valuable attention of their audience: the simpler and clearer the better.

9. How to Measure Communication?

The criteria for the efficiency of communication are being improved. On the one hand, there is an increasing amount of data available that allows for more accurate measurements. On the other hand, boundaries between so-called owned, earned and paid channels are blurred. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for communicators to look for methods to analyse the various indices that will help them understand as accurately as possible what the campaign has achieved.

10. Universality

The need to be able to raise and scale issues that are relevant and universal to the wider public has also been added to the important approach of “thinking globally, acting locally”. Increasingly, more effective solutions are being sought, bringing the subject across borders.

In interactionwith the strongest communications experts at the 2019 IPRA Golden World Awardsin Yerevan, I have come to the conclusion that, regardless of fashion trends, campaigns that can evoke audience emotions and empower organizations are now the most efficient.