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Guest Column: Digital revolution has created a tectonic shift across industries: Ranjeev Vij, Zeno India

12-January-2017
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Guest Column: Digital revolution has created a tectonic shift across industries: Ranjeev Vij, Zeno India

Ranjeev Vij, Head of Digital Innovation and Strategy, Zeno India, lists 5 rapidly emerging trends that will dominate Digital PR in 2017.

The digital revolution has created a tectonic shift across industries, visibly altering the fundamentals of the communications industry. Today, with multi-screen, multi-platform access to information and heightened customer expectations, businesses and PR agencies are struggling to grab the attention of their target audience. This coupled with the three-second attention bar has further intensified the complexity of effective consumer engagement in the digital landscape. 

Over the last two years, Digital PR witnessed continued evolution brought about by several factors. The continued penetration of internet, rapidly increasing number of smartphone users and the growing prominence of social media in the lives of common man has revitalised the Digital PR industry like never before.

Influencers Led the Way 

A rundown to the year 2016 affirms that a great value was assigned to Influencer Engagement for its effective and affordable outcomes. It emerged as a widely-subscribed outreach strategy against the conventional approach of print and electronic media. This year witnessed not just celebs but also the everyday consumers emerging as powerful brand ambassadors.

The Multimedia Suite Ruled!

Evidently, the visual/video content marketing went straight up the podium of digital ecosystem this year. With the ever-increasing subscription to Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, brands optimally utilised this trend for promoting their offerings. Infographics, memes, and videos were a monster hit across the social media and instant messaging platforms. In the way ahead, brands will become better at leveraging these tools especially ‘Live’ video platforms, including Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live. The advice for brands is to repurpose live content on other platforms for extended reach and longevity.

The Future: 5 rapidly emerging trends to dominate Digital PR in 2017

  1. Analytics 2.0 to Drive Digital PR

In 2017, we will witness more marketers leveraging data and analytics to measure, optimise and predict content themes and trends. Analytics 2.0 will be the prime focus for brands as their own and competitors’ content marketing efforts grow. This will not just help the creation of branded storytelling to scale new heights of earned and organic reach but will also transform businesses through performance mapping that ties back to business KPIs. The implication for PR agencies is to invest in data scientists and focus on more integrated digital analytics approach.

  1. Audiences Around the World Will Demand Contribution from Leaders                                      

Thought leadership will continue to dominate the arena of consumer engagement. Complemented by Contributor Marketing, the thought leadership drive will onboard more subject experts to create and amplify content. Actionable content authored by recognised specialists will further help funneling leads into the Digital PR’s kitty and build credibility in respective sectors for brands.

  1. Reality Will No More Be Pure. Mixed Reality is Here to Stay!    

Experiential marketing will be used to create more immersive brand experiences. Recently, Malaysia saw great innovation by entertainment channel Fox that enhanced the experience quotient while deepening the on-ground engagement for its viewers. In 2017, we will see more use of such technologies to create brand stunts that will help gaining the attention of today’s constantly connected millennials.

  1. Obituary of Fake News, May Not be

One of the biggest challenges 2016 witnessed was the Fake News, as it gained much public attention during demonetisation. Facebook acknowledged the issue and put an embargo on sites with fake news to use ads, Google changed its algorithm to be made more vulnerable to its spread. While efforts by these giants will discourage the generation of fake news to make a profit from website clicks, this will not die completely. Political parties and fake election news will keep it afloat and continue to be a nuisance for readers. I believe that PR has the moral obligation to bring facts upfront and lead the curb on Fake News.   

  1. Digital Media Buying, No More Media Agencies’ Job

Today’s digital world has blurred the lines between earned storytelling and paid advertising. As native advertising resembles the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed, it gives a feel of the editorial content. According to a survey conducted by Adyoulike, a native advertising platform in the UK, 9 out of 10 PR agencies see native advertising as an opportunity to amplify the reach of earned storytelling. 2016 saw Indian businesses using this form and in 2017 it will grow manifolds. In fact, it will also force the PR agencies to invest in digital media buying talent and capabilities.

(The author is Head of Digital Innovation and Strategy, Zeno India)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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