Report: Social Influencers, VR, AR Top PR Trends

Report: Social Influencers, VR, AR Top PR Trends
January 13, 2017

With each New Year comes new trends for PR and marketing to conquer. Here are a few takeaways on what to expect in 2017—and what communication managers should focus on to make it work for their brands.


The year of “influencer” marketing


2017 is going to be a monumental year; eMarketer predicts it to be the first year that digital advertising dollars will surpass TV budgets. How will brand managers accomplish this? “Influencer” marketing.


A recent survey revealed 84 percent of marketers plan on executing at least one marketing campaign with influential social media users during the next 12 months.


In Edelman Digital’s 2017 trend report, the agency breaks these online powerhouses into two categories: mass “influencers,” which have several million followers, and “micro-influencers,” with 1,000 to100,000 followers.


Edelman gives the following tips to brands regarding mass influencers:

· As brand managers pursue social media users with several million subscribers, it’s important to align organizational values to that of the “influencer.”

· Deals with online powerhouses should be presented with incremental promotion packages inclusive of earned media strategies, paid media support and (in some cases) event appearances.

· Legal complexities will increase, and as talent agents get more involved, make sure usage, exclusivity and content ownership are key elements of partnership contracts.


“With the right execution, [“influencer” marketing] will become one of the most effective and measurable digital tactics with the ability to deliver brand awareness, sales lift and direct sales distribution,” the report states.


Before you allocate a budget to pay for a mass “influencer,” consider using a those with smaller or more niche followings. Those social media users are known to have higher engagement and more influence over their audience. Forbes had this to say about their power in brand campaigns:

In return, a brand receives intangible benefits like authenticity, a unique point of view, deeper storytelling and the potential of reaching a more tailored audience.


Immersive video content will rule


In 2016, we saw a breakthrough in virtual reality and augmented reality. PR and marketing pros can expect to see more advancements as brand managers begin to roll out immersive video content with interactive capabilities.


With at home virtual reality still in its beginner stage, the high cost of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift is likely going to keep the majority of consumers experiencing VR outside their homes.


High-traffic areas such as theme parks and shopping malls have already begun to experiment with VR booths. Airports, shopping centers, movie theatres and major landmarks are likely to jump on this trend with VR pop-up booths or experiential marketing exhibits.


Here are Edelman’s tips on how brand managers should respond to VR:

· Fully educate yourself on VR to be seen as forward thinking.

· Considering leveraging virtual reality at conferences and industry trade shows.

· Consider using pop-up VR installations at high-frequency foot-traffic locations.


Social networks are beginning to see the value of embracing the VR and AR trends. Snap and Facebook are already heavily invested in both.


Already ahead of the game is Snap. The rising platform introduced wearables—called Spectacles—in November. Spectacles take 10-second videos and enable the wearer to upload them directly to their Snapchat account.


Adweek predicted Spectacles will result in an increase in positive PR and media coverage through “influencer” content:

Some brands will anticipate this opportunity, and may even put in place campaigns to encourage influencers to share Spectacles videos with relevant reporters and bloggers. In time, seeing these videos on TV news segments, primetime shows or online articles will be as prevalent as noticing YouTube clips, tweets or Facebook posts.


Adweek suggested that many brand managers—including those with little or no prior success with video campaigns—will take advantage of Spectacles marketing opportunities:

Whether brands arm employees with Spectacles to offer their followers a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the company or encourage customers to generate Spectacles content, Snap Inc.’s newest piece of hardware makes the viewer feel like they’re part of the action in a way that no other medium can achieve.


You can review Edelman’s full report here.

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