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2024: A Digital Communications Odyssey

Antonia Phillips | 16.01.2024

While 2023 was the year that we saw Threads, X, the Vision Pro, generative AI, Girl Dinner, and the resurgence of the Roman Empire, the outrageously futuristic-sounding year of 2024 is now upon us, and we’re all thinking about what digital transformations we will be seeing next. We look at some predictions for the year, from a PR and communications agency perspective.    

Expect a Digital Element in All RFPs: As financial and professional services organisations embrace the full impact of digital communications and multi-channel campaigns, the inclusion of a digital element in briefs and RFPs is becoming the norm rather than the exception. It is also becoming increasingly common to see “digital-only” proposals, which do away with traditional media relations altogether. While traditional media is not going anywhere for a long time, this shift underscores the importance of digital as a core competency for any PR and communications agency.   

Generational Shifts in the Workplace: As much as the media still likes to talk about Millennials frittering all their money on iced coffee and avocado toast, the truth of the matter is that this generation just isn’t that young anymore (as a Millennial I can say this). The oldest Millennials are 43 years old and occupy increasingly senior roles at work. As these digitally literate millennials ascend to senior leadership positions, we will see a transformation in communication styles, preferences, and technologies within the workplace and in the wider business world. Millennials, having grown up in the digital age, bring a natural fluency in digital and social media, and as such agencies will need to ensure they are always a step ahead and able to provide consultancy in an increasingly online comms world.   

Maximising Budgets and Output in Unpredictable Times: Let’s face it, the past few years have been trying and unpredictable (to put it mildly), and naturally clients are looking to maximise the use of budgets. Digital communication emerges as a valuable tool in achieving this goal as the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and accuracy of reporting of activity on online platforms make them an attractive option for businesses looking to maintain productivity and connectivity while navigating economic challenges. Embracing digital solutions becomes not only a necessity but a strategic value-add during uncertain economic times.  

Web 3.0:  The rapid advancement of technology is ushering in the era of Web 3.0, the metaverse, and groundbreaking innovations in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality. These technologies are poised to revolutionise the way we communicate, collaborate, and experience digital interactions. As these technologies gain momentum, businesses and their agencies must stay ahead of the curve to leverage their potential for more engaging and impactful communication strategies.  

The Ride and Rise of Content Creators: Content creators (otherwise known as key opinion leaders and influencers) are wielding an increasingly influential role in shaping digital communication. The global influencer market has more than doubled since 2019, and in 2022 it was valued at a jaw-dropping $16.4 billion, research by Statista shows. Whether through social media, streaming platforms, or other digital channels, these creators are driving trends, shaping narratives, and influencing thoughts and behaviours. Businesses are recognising the power of collaboration with content creators to amplify their messages and engage with diverse audiences. As this trend continues, the ability to harness the creativity and authenticity of content creators and key opinion leaders will become a pivotal aspect of successful digital communication strategies.  

The (Sort Of) Globalisation of Campaigns: The interconnected nature of our world – and the ability to reach a vast and global audience – is bringing both opportunities and challenges for digital communication. It’s important to realise that just because digital communications are in theory no longer tied to region-specific audiences, creating effective cross-cultural campaigns that resonate with all audiences, worldwide, becomes a new (and potentially impossible) puzzle to solve. Creating a one-size-fits-all social or media campaign, while tempting, will fall flat. Digital campaigns that facilitate real-time communication, translation services, and culturally sensitive content creation will be essential in navigating the complexities of an international audience.   

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned over the previous years, we have no idea what is around the corner – and what new inventions or technological advancements are going to be available to us by the start of 2025. It’s truly exciting, and by embracing digital transformation in communication strategies, adapting to the preferences of digitally literate leadership teams, and leveraging emerging technologies, we can ensure that the communications programmes of our financial and professional services clients will thrive in this ever-evolving digital era.   

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