As we approach the end of the year, the Gravitate PR team has developed its own predictions on where we see the state of technology public relations faring next year as a guide for companies looking to begin their PR programs or those hoping to make meaningful adjustments to ongoing efforts.
Staying on top of hot issues and topics are a cornerstone of our work with clients–in fact, part of our job consists of predicting what’s next as we guide their programs–and so we wanted to share our research and insights.
How accurate will these be? Who knows. In the same way few people would have predicted Nvidia becoming the world’s seventh trillion-dollar company in 2023, the future is impossible to guess with 100% certainty. But, it’ll be interesting to look back in 12 months’ time on what trends transform our industry.
And, since we have just mentioned the growth that Nvidia saw on the back of the AI boom,we have written a separate post focused on predictions for AI here.
A tougher economic climate this year meant that many companies emphasized short-term, performance marketing initiatives instead of brand marketing programs. For many businesses, this approach seemed logical given the multiple forecasts of an impending recession–cut costs as much as possible, focus on driving leads and closing deals as efficiently as possible to insulate from any downturn.
But that approach–throttling down brand marketing in favor of short-term revenue goals, has implications in the long term for a company’s viability, and we’re already seeing companies double down on bringing back brand marketing and communications programs. For example, fast fashion brand Asos announced that brand marketing will be a cornerstone in its urgent rescue plan to reverse declining sales.
This year, the tech industry has been plagued by widespread layoffs, with more than 270,000 US tech workers losing their jobs since the start of 2022, a rollback of corporate diversity, equality, inclusion & belonging commitments, and a nosedive in trust levels primarily driven by concerns about Big Tech and its disproportionate power and influence. As companies seek to stand out against stiff competition, highlight what makes them unique, and focus on steady, purposeful growth, brand marketing and communications initiatives will inherently play a central role.
It’s no coincidence that Merriam-Webster's word of the year is “authentic,” particularly in a world where consumers feel obliged to question the veracity of every bit of content or news they consume. The rise of bots and AI around the world means that the line between what’s real and what’s not is becoming increasingly hard to determine.
Because of this, it’ll put greater pressure on brands to ensure that the messages and narratives they present are authentic–whether by overtly disclosing that the content has been developed by a person and not a bot, or by backing up any claims through undisputable data, and publically following through with their statements or commitments.
Given the increased skepticism and scrutiny toward brands, data-driven storytelling will be even more crucial to supporting a brand’s messages and perspectives. Over the years, we’ve seen companies heavily focus on data – whether that’s from within their technology platforms or from commissioned research – and often, blending that with third-party insights. But using the data in an impactful way is key – to ensure that it’s not self-serving, too obvious, too complicated, or is overlooked because it’s not maximized across media channels and across the business.
At Gravitate, we’ve been designing data-driven storytelling programs from the ground up for years. This includes creating the methodology, partnering with market research firms to put the research into the field, analyzing proprietary client data and external information, distilling the most compelling insights, crafting corporate materials and leading an integrated marketing communications push to launch.
Over the years the lines between earned, owned, shared and paid media have converged–and brands need to ensure that they approach their marketing communications programs through an integrated and holistic lens to maximize reach and impact to their brand.
This year, LinkedIn hit a milestone of 1 billion users, and it’s vastly expanded over the years to be more than a job platform. For example, many journalists from traditional media publications such as Fortune, Business Insider, and Wired have joined LinkedIn to form LinkedIn News, which boasts over 250 team members responsible for creating, curating and cultivating news for users around the world. LinkedIn not only has its own series of news digests, videos and podcasts, but has become a place for companies to launch their own newsletters and updates given the widespread usage and engagement on the platform.
Meanwhile, traditional publications have also continued to adapt their business models, including blurring the lines between earned and paid media. Forbes is well known for its fee-based Technology Council article opportunities, and other paid opportunities include CNBC’s Technology Executive Council and Fast Company’s Impact Council.
This year, more than 1,000 tech companies have laid off more than 270,000 workers–from small upstarts to global tech titans. While layoffs are still occurring as we hit publish on this post, next year we can expect the all-encompassing nature of technological advancements will fuel a solid resurgence, and not just in hot sectors such as AI. Rather, we can expect innovations in critical industries such as education, future-of-work focused tech, healthcare, cybersecurity, semiconductors, and many others.
While venture capital investments have been more muted compared to previous years due to market uncertainty and a shift in investor preferences, a more focused approach will also allow a variety of innovative and important technologies to flourish. Additionally, the strength of Arm’s IPO this year could spur other tech and tech-forward companies to finally go public, or–at the very least–provide confidence to other successful overseas brands continuing to feel more bullish in their plans to grow and scale.
What do you think of the above predictions – agree or disagree?