Hello Trump, Goodbye Press Release - What Trends Will Impact Communications in 2017

t's a new year and a new U.S. political regime. To help businesses maximize opportunities and reduce risk, the10company identifies the top 10 communication trends for 2017 that organizations need to know. The impact of President Trump, getting the most from technology and social media, and the sun setting on the traditional press release are just a few of the themes for the coming year.

  1. Assume you'll get Trumped. It started with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and is not likely to stop. No company wants to be called out by the leader of the free world, no matter which way they lean politically. Smart organizations will be a step ahead and conduct their own risk analysis to determine what they should be doing differently, e.g. more transparency around pricing, and what questions they need to be prepared for. Thoughtful social media plans need to be ready because you never know when your business will become the subject of the next Presidential tweet.
  2. CEOs rebuild trust, one step at a time. With respect for businesses and business leaders at an all-time low, the C-Suite is focused on repairing and enhancing the way the public perceives corporations. The concept of social purpose will take on new meaning and importance. Companies should take advantage and rethink their values and act responsibly - even if government regulations loosen.
  3. Cybersecurity's in the boardroom and it's real. As cyber breaches continue to be a top threat, Boards will consider cybersecurity a key core competency. CEOs move from being advised on the situation to having an active role in their company's cybersecurity protocols and subsequent communications. At least one Fortune 50 CEO is already leading his cybersecurity team in a hands-on way. Communications will partner to help develop the correct strategies for inside and outside threats and both proactive and reactive action plans.
  4. Trusting your gut is back in style. With many thinking that data failed to predict the true outcome of the U.S. elections, corporations' love affair with analytics cools a bit. While big data will still be big, the experience, expertise and intelligence of individuals will also be front and center. Be sure to account for the human factor, and include the best, brightest, and most diverse talent when exploring solutions to problems or identifying new opportunities.
  5. Chatbots go corporate. Artificial intelligence and chatbots infiltrate corporations and become the newest way to inform employees on a range of issues from health benefits to specific company policies. Savvy organizations will understand the range of what's possible, the risks and rewards, and how to use chatbots to enhance engagement.
  6. Divestitures continue at a rapid pace. Splits and selling off assets will become even more prominent as companies strive to be leaner and deliver on shareholder value. Smaller is savvier replaces bigger is better. Communications become vital in articulating the strategies behind the moves to external and internal audiences. Think reverse M&A.
  7. Fake news is real. Political fact abuse will continue around the world, and politicians are not the only victims. Companies are at risk as well. Communications needs to have better tools in place to monitor the entire landscape of social media, analyze what has impact and what doesn't, and when to fight back or not. And, it's a good idea to update internal social media policies...employees could be using social to host fake news.
  8. R.I.P. to the traditional press release. As more companies go direct to key audiences with digital and self-published content, the traditional press release will soon be a thing of the past. When LinkedIn announced its purchase by Microsoft, there was not a press release in sight...not even on their website. Be ready to rethink even hard news announcements.
  9. Twitter experiences the Trump effect. To tweet or not to tweet? That's the question in 2017. With an administration that puts so much emphasis on Twitter, we are likely to see renewed interest from executives who may have been sitting on the sidelines figuring out how it would work for them. At minimum, it can be a quick response mechanism, a way to talk directly to key audiences. Executives will need to ensure their use of Twitter is strategic and not self-indulgent or impulsive.
  10. Livestreaming becomes a CEO platform. Facebook Live has gained traction first with early adopters then with B to C companies. Now it's B to B's turn. And the C-Suite will embrace this technology as a new way to engage with all employees at multiple locations around the world as well as with customers.
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