In our media-saturated culture, trends can sometimes be seen as fleeting and therefore not worthy of investment. But as public relations professionals, it is crucial that we stay on top of trends and integrate them into our work to keep our strategies, media relation efforts and storytelling relevant and effective.
We’ve taken the time to compile a list of the top six trends that we think you should use to your advantage this year.
Climate concern will continue into 2022 with a strong generational skew. Gen Z and Millennials will rightfully prioritize climate over traditional worries Gen X and Baby Boomers faced. Prioritization will lead to faster, bigger emission cuts to help reduce carbon pollution. This year’s sustainability and climate efforts will be led by the younger generations through influencing and social media. Young consumers’ climate concerns will encourage sustainable activities like thrifting and the repurposing of clothing in an effort to limit textile waste. Climate content and environmental activism will continue to flood social platforms.
5. New Communications Platforms
Our current social media platforms are oversaturated with content and users. In the new year, new social platforms are going to emerge that encourage creativity and wellbeing, rather than pressuring users to find that perfect highlight-reel content and chase after likes. Think movements like #MakeInstagramCasualAgain. By leaving behind aesthetically-pleasing perfect feeds, content creators are going to lean towards authentic posting. These new platforms are going to introduce content through media outside of photos and videos and try to recreate the IRL (in real life) experiences we truly crave.
4. Inclusive Marketing
Companies are going to move towards incorporating authentically inclusive marketing. Consumer bases are increasingly diverse and expect more from their brands’ messaging. Younger consumers are holding brands accountable and questioning their focus on supporting diversity and inclusion. Companies will establish key performance metrics for DEI objectives to demonstrate that they are promoting equitable outcomes in all areas of their influence. By participating in the space of their followers in combination with analyzing their metrics to understand what is working for them, companies’ communication will not be one-directional. Instead, it will encourage the breaking of barriers between corporate and human content to help companies follow through on these promises.
3. Shifting the Monetization in Sports
Last year, we saw the creation of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). It took many of us nearly all of 2021 to figure out what an NFT was. NFT sports collectibles are predicted to grow massively, making a considerable mark in revenue perspective and potentially inspiring major sports leagues to dip their toe into the crypto market. In 2022, Deloitte predicts that NFTs will be generating more than $2BN in transactions for sports media, doubling that of 2021.
2. Health in the Age of COVID
Telemedicine will expand to include increased use of remote patient monitoring, digital therapeutics and wearable health tech. The pressure the pandemic put on medical professionals by limiting office visits helped show they can use data responsibly to improve health experiences without compromising the patient’s privacy. In order to harness the full potential of virtual health, the focus will center around achieving quality and value with the integration of in-office visits. Investing more time and resources into virtual health will also improve accessibility to quality health care by streamlining access to doctors and eliminating wait times in the office. Patients expect personalized communication and connectivity, and in 2022 virtual health will improve.
1. Rethinking the Workplace
According to a Toluna consumer trends survey, 88% of US consumers say they believe they should have the right to work remotely if technology and the nature of their work permit it. Despite the stress and uncertainty the pandemic has caused, many have realized the efficiency of working remotely. The disruption of the traditional workplace created a need in people’s lives for privacy and space. The current business landscape will adapt to making flexible work a requisite. Senior staff will encourage unnecessary meetings to be covered over email. Virtual breaks will help combat Zoom fatigue and burnout. In the same vein, business leaders will prioritize emotional wellbeing and recognize mental health by establishing wellness benefits or services.
Despite how difficult it seems to keep up with trends, they are immediately recognizable and have an incredible influence online. While our predictions are certainly not the only trends 2022 is bound to see, this list is a great start to begin thinking about how you can use trends to boost your PR, communications and company strategies to a new level.