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Communications Trends to Watch in 2016

MSLGROUP in the UK have compiled the top trends they think will impact marketing and communications throughout 2016.

Ranging from digital design trends through to employee communications, new apps and technology, here are the top 12 predictions for the year ahead.

1. The pixel is dead

On-screen visuals are looking more and more like print quality photographs. 2015 saw the continued rise of flat design and with more retina display devices on the market it also solidified the death of the pixel. Once the average desktop display becomes Retina-grade (like the new iMac) there will be a need for creatives to change approach from a pixel based method of design to a vector based one in order to create designs for higher quality displays. We can see this trend already happening with font-based icons and Google’s Material Design.

2. ‘Boomerang employees’ make a comeback

‘Boomerang employees’ are ones that leave a company only to return later. In a recent study, it was found that 48% of companies had a policy against hiring boomerang employees in the past, but now 76% say they are more accepting of rehiring. This trend is occurring because professionals are switching jobs more often, plus the access to talent through technology is greater than ever before. The benefits of rehiring former employees are that they are already familiar with the company, therefore they don’t require as much training and will have a different perspective.

3. Estimote: Shopping just got personal

Estimote is a system that uses nearfield communications (NFC) and Bluetooth to ping alerts to your smartphone from small beacons. It has all sorts of uses, such as pushing special offers to shoppers or telling consumers if a particular size of clothing is in stock. Alternatively the beautifully designed beacons can be used to ensure you never misplace your keys again!

Communications Trends to Watch in 2016

4. Live In Five app: Periscope – on steroids

A bit like Periscope, the relatively new Live In Five app allows you to broadcast live streams from events and locations. However, the big USP that Live In Five offers is that it exists within YouTube rather than its own, closed ecosystem of a specialist app. This could change the way event marketers work in 2016 and beyond.

5. Twitter Moments: Social media’s biggest gamechanger in 2016?

After its launch in the UK this week Moments – previously known as Project Lightning, courtesy of the icon that will accompany it – curates your Twitter feed to pull out the best, most-shared content and present it to you in an easily accessible way. It effectively turns your social network into a traditional news provider.

Find out more about Moments in MSLGROUP UK’s recent blog.

Communications Trends to Watch in 2016-1

6. Sharing economy: Which industry is next?

The sharing economy could be the biggest game-changer yet in 2016. Airbnb is probably the highest-profile so far, in the way it’s changed the face of travel and tourism, but the likes of car insurance disrupter Guevara could be even bigger. A group of friends will all pay into a pot that’s are used to settle any claims for them that year. When you renew, you only top up what’s been taken out so, if there are no accidents, you only pay the servicing cost. Could Guevara start chipping into this massive market, which traditionally gets a bad rap from consumers?

7. Will Facebook Events kill off Eventbrite and Yelp?

Facebook is looking to own the Events category by rolling out visually stunning, eye-catching social media versions of event invitations that could spell the end for the likes of Yelp and Eventbrite. Facebook Events has been updated to reach even more people and networks, so “related events” and “events happening nearby” will start popping up in users’ news feeds, along with the soon-to-be tested Facebook Events Discovery feature.

Read more about this prediction for 2016 here.

8. Death of the employee performance review

As a method of surveying a workforce, the big annual employee performance review is becoming more and more outdated by the year. Lots of big companies have already ditched the system in favour of more informal and empowering conversations, Gap being one of them. This is part of another trend for 2016 – the increased digitization of the employee experience. Whether it’s learning and development apps like Expedia’s GLO, which has increased the perception of L&D to 97%, or something simple like video CVs online, major changes are afoot.

9. The rise of Deep Neural Networks

Information might be everything but what’s the point in creating and collecting vast amounts of data if it takes ages to process and understand it? 2016 will see advances in machine learning, specifically Deep Neutral Networks, so smart algorithms and machine learning will help take the load off processing and interrogating data. The result? Quicker insights and the ability to react to them in real time.

Read more about this trend here.

Communications Trends to Watch in 2016-2

10. Supercharged Bluetooth

Bluetooth is set to make good on the promise of the ‘Internet of Things’ in 2016. The near-field communications (NFC) standard will support longer ranges and faster connection speeds without upping power consumption. It’ll also add mesh networking to better connect smart objects, meaning more connected things at home and work without adding to set-up and coverage woes.

Read more about this trend here.

11. Genuine PR measurement becomes a reality

We’ve been talking about ‘how to measure PR’ for long enough, but 2016 is going to be the first year that this genuinely becomes a reality. We’re on the brink of methodologies that allow us to measure the impact of relevant earned content across brands’ target audiences. An ever-increasing emphasis on the subject of PR measurement will only speed up this process so creative and media agencies can better demonstrate their value to clients.

Communications Trends to Watch in 2016-3

12. Healthcare: Wearable tech for GPs and IoT

The healthcare industry is in the midst of an overhaul, thanks to the ‘internet of things’. There’s a whole host of uses, but most revolve around wearable tech for patients that alert GPs to potential problems earlier than ever. Whether that’s automatic monitors for diabetics or others that track the overuse of inhalers, IOT has the potential to completely change the healthcare landscape.

Read more about this trend here.

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