For marketers, the new year brings a new challenge and opportunity to deliver buzzworthy campaigns that will push the needle and drive brands forward. The following are top 10 marketing and public relations trends of 2015:
1. Influencers will continue to be the new celebrity spokespeople. In Dec. 2014, Kendall Jenner was selected as the face of Estee Lauder not only because she is an in-demand and hugely recognized model, but because she represents a digital following of over 32-million and speaks to a new, fresh audience. Influencers will continue to be the face of brands, with their digital following being a major consideration.
2. Authentic content marketing will rule. Marketing efforts will focus on targeting consumers by lifestyle versus obvious product placement. For example, HotelTonight, a mobile booking app for last-minute travel, markets based on appealing to travellers' needs and lifestyles, authentically demonstrating how their service brings ease to the travel experience.
3. Social media strategies will be deliberate. If you are deliberate, intentional and strategic with your intentions, your results will be greater. Now more than ever we have the tools and understanding to reach our target audiences through the right platforms and messaging. Always think where your audience is and what they care about – for example, there is a different demographic on Facebook versus Instagram. This understanding will help brands create authentic and strategic alignments and engagements through the right platforms.
4. A shift from an online presence to online brand. If you are on a social media platform, you are a brand – you need to think and behave like one. We're finding that some social media stars are carrying more voice than brands that have been around for decades. A perfect example is Jen Selter, an American fitness model and online sensation that has 5-million followers on Instagram compared to Adidas' 2.7-million followers. you.
5. Image-centric content will remain king. Videos, photos and infographics are forms of content audiences are looking for. In our busy world, most people don't have time for 30-second commercials. Brands will be challenged to find ways to deliver their content concisely and visually. I recently watched an Oreo Vine video – in 6 seconds they convinced me to go and buy their cookies in the nearest store.
6. Mobile-friendly content and user experience will be at the forefront. According to a recent report from Google, over half of Canadians are using smartphones. This sends a very clear message to brands: If users can't access your content easily on their mobile devices, you will most likely lose them. Good user experiences often lead to transactions, which is a bottom line for most brands.
7. Marketing and PR will become borderless. It's no longer only about North American relationships, it's about global relationships. Because of the internet and social media, the world has become a smaller place. For a company, it's about who and what has the most influence and makes sense for the brand regardless of geographical borders. When you search "Best Fashion Websites" you're told that the Coveteur is perceived as a U.S. blog, when in fact, it was founded in Canada – but does that matter? What matters for brands is that it's perceived as the top.
8. International digital influencer programs will continue to lead the way. With a borderless understanding, Canadian brands will benefit from the high audience reach of global online sensations, using them for targeted campaigns, while still working with their agency to integrate that into a localized plan. The right strategic partner, one who connects with a brand or product authentically, will allow brands to tap into an engaged audience to obtain trackable program results, measuring successes through engagement, website referrals and sales – on a global scale.
9. Print newspapers and magazines will be appreciated even more. The more I use technology, the more I realize that I miss the experience of flipping through pages. Because of this, I predict an increase in magazine and newspaper sales in 2015. An iPad, ideal for social media, following breaking news and checking weather updates, cannot substitute the emotional connection with holding a stack of print newspapers in your hands.
10. Integration of paid, owned and earned media. It's not about advertising versus PR versus digital, it's about all of these programs coming together to create a 360-degree integrated approach. Newspapers and magazines will be doing more custom content and the line between earned and paid media will be blurred. All programs and efforts integrated together have a power of creating a synergistic effect and bringing optimal results.
Natasha Koifman is the founder of NKPR, a full-service public relations, marketing, digital and talent agency, consistently challenged to innovate in order to deliver results that are meaningful for our clients and that will drive their brands forward.