Monday, December 16, 2013

Track Record for Predictions for 2013, Part I

For more than a dozen years, Birnbach Communicates has compiled an annual list of media trends for its clients, who operate across a range of industries, including technology, financial software and services, unified communications, storage, security, biotech, healthcare, clean tech, senior services, consumer, social networking, nonprofit and education sectors.

In 2013, there were some big new stories that were not suprising – like Obamacare – and some that were totally suprising – i.e., twerking, the election of a new Pope, and Twitter going public. (We know we've lumped those three together but we do not mean to give equal weight to them.)

The trends and topics we identify help the agency work with its clients to work more effectively with reporters, producers, bloggers and other influencers. We also look at the way topics are being covered by media and in social media, and at how those stories are told. We continue to see that the way stories can and should be told is continuing to shift.

Here's our annual report card of how we did with our 2013 predictions:

  • The story still matters.  No question that story and messages continue to matter, even in an age of 140 characters. Companies may still not consistently tell their stories visually (using still photos, videos and infographics) but at least many are trying. We also said the information companies want to communicate must be customer-focused, and that is increasingly true in 2013, and will continue in 2014. Grade: A.
  • Corporate values and personality matter. We said that “in 2013 and beyond, social media will multiply the impact of values and corporate personality. Companies need to be prepared to communicate not just their selling proposition but also their values and personality as they engage with customers via social media. Social media expert Paul Gillin validated this in a recent column, “The Power of Trust,” in which he made the point: “Marketers who understand this power are in a position to build bonds with their audiences that transcend market cycles because those bonds are based on shared values and interests.” Grade: A.
  • Social media is relevant for B2B companies. We said 2013 would be the year that B2B companies realized they needed a social media strategy, too.  This was validated by a company that brought us in three years ago, asking for insights on their media strategy. When we told them they should consider social media, they sniffed, and said their engineering customers would not use social media to help them with their jobs. This summer, they called us back and asked about enhancing their social media strategy. Grade: A.
We'll post more tomorrow.

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