10 February 2022 / in UK Blog

 

Cision Leaders Discuss Current and Future Industry Trends

 

How have the events of the last few years changed the role of PR, marketing and communications teams? How does social media continue to impact the consumer brand experience? What are the new and emerging trends brands need to prepare for now in order to capitalize on them later?

These were just a few of the questions addressed by some of Cision’s top executives recently as part of a recent report from our colleagues in Germany. Read on to hear Cision’s Abel Clark, CEO, Giles Palmer, Chief Growth Officer, and Nadin Vernon, Vice President EMEA & LatAm - Head of Analysis, reflect on the industry developments over the last few years, and the opportunities they hope to take advantage of in the year ahead.

Abel Clark, CEO, Cision

How do you evaluate 2021 in terms of PR, communication, social media and marketing?
We’re in an ongoing transition to a digital-first, consumer-driven world. The widespread adoption of social media and digital channels by consumers means brands and organizations have to be where their consumers are and engage on their terms – in a timely and personalized manner.

In 2020, the onset of COVID necessitated the rapid transition from physical to virtual, and we saw an acceleration of many digital trends that were already underway. We also were reminded of the critical role that PR and comms plays in the C-suite.

In 2021, as we adapted our lives to these new realities, we saw more of the impact and the implications of this shift. All aspects of enterprise functions are becoming social driven, and it is mission critical that brands can engage and respond at the speed of social, and in a coordinated manner. Not only must PR, marketing and social come together but they need to be tightly coordinated with service and sales to ensure a consistent customer experience and a positive brand reputation.

What surprised you most in 2021 in your field - positively or negatively? The rate of growth of individual content creators and the vast influence they now wield in consumer perception and behaviors.

Which development(s) will dominate 2022 in the field of communications, marketing and social media?
In 2022, we will more clearly see the vast potential, and the limitations, of AI. We will better appreciate and understand the unique and powerful partnership that AI and human expertise can build together to develop more impactful, consumer-focused strategies that enrich brand experience and reputation.

What do you want to be more involved with in 2022?
Advancing the discussion on copyright and privacy. And I hope that we will be able to spend much more time together in person.

Giles Palmer, Chief Growth Officer, Cision

How do you evaluate 2021 in terms of PR, communication, social media and marketing?
The pandemic has accelerated trends that were already well underway. Particularly, the mass adoption of e-commerce. In the online world, there are no high streets to wander down and browse. How we do this now is either driven by what we search for or, increasingly, what is put in front of us within the big platforms.

The blending of ads and content is a huge opportunity for brands wanting to maximize return on ad spend (ROAS) to create copy that is compelling. Furthermore, the increasing ability to understand target buying personas using social media (to help craft messages), and then target them with sophisticated ad targeting, is a huge differentiating factor in the success of online commerce.

The link to PR and comms in general here is the rise of the influencer economy; individuals who are part of and very influential within the target buying group co-create content and publish it in their own channels.

This evolution toward more targeted, more online, more content-orientated commerce is well underway, but will continue and reshape our collective commercial experience.

What surprised you most in 2021 in your field - positively or negatively
The heating up of the privacy battle and, in particular, the strong stance Apple is taking both in words and deeds.

Which development(s) will dominate 2022 in the field of communications, marketing and social media?
Creator-generated content (in particular video) and how brands work with them on the big platforms (in particular TikTok).

What do you want to be more involved with in 2022?
Privacy conversations. There are benefits as well as drawbacks to sharing content. We need to have a balanced, transparent, informed conversation which elevates the discussion away from the specific interests of the big players. This is too important to be a circus performance between Apple and Facebook.

Nadin Vernon, Vice President EMEA & LATAM - Head of Analysis, Cision Insights

How do you evaluate 2021 in terms of PR, communication, social media and marketing?
2021 was marked by change across media landscape and content. Communicators turned to smaller, localised niche media to reach their target audiences and increasingly included user-generated content (especially in short video format) as part of their evaluation. Consumer intelligence continued to gain traction and is now integral to providing a holistic view of brand reputation.

What surprised you most in 2021 in your field - positively or negatively?
The pandemic forced us all to critically examine our lifestyle choices and ways of working. I’m fascinated by our ability to be creative in this new environment. Embracing change is one thing, seizing opportunities to find new ways of doing things represents a growth mindset which I highly value.

Which development(s) will dominate 2022 in the field of communications, marketing and social media? 
ESG topics have already been a key theme in 2021. Consumers, investors and regulators are increasingly scrutinising how companies conduct themselves in relation to environmental, social and governance issues. Stakeholders express clear expectations for businesses to be held accountable and demonstrate authenticity. Talking the talk is no longer enough and any strategic plans must be put into practice.

What do you want to be more involved with in 2022? 
Over the last two years there has been constant talk of returning to normality. In the meantime, it has become clear that we’re operating in a new normal which is here to stay. A 100% return to office is unlikely and face-to-face events will increasingly serve as communication experiences, both internally and externally. Our job in this hybrid world is to facilitate meaningful connections by equally and simultaneously engaging virtual and in-person collaborators.

 

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