Six Trends Defining Marketing and Communications in 2022

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  • #predictions
  • B2B
  • brands
  • Communications
  • content
  • influencers
  • Marketing
  • Metaverse
  • PR
  • Social media
  • Tik Tok
  • trust
Happy New Year!

Well, at least we hope so.  Against the backdrop of COVID-19’s continued persistence, the existential threat of climate change and the return of The Masked Singer, we need reasons to be cheerful.

That’s why the Nielsen McAllister team has assembled our predictions on six trends defining marketing and communications in 2022.  Will we all spend the year living in the Metaverse?  Or will we get out and about and, y’know, meet some actual humans?

Here, then, is our collective wisdom.  Thanks to Bob, Simon W, Molly, Rhiannon and Richard for contributing.  A special mention to Jack, too, whose thoughts aren’t included here because they span off into a separate blog… (coming soon!)

The primacy of content in marketing

Simon W: The need for quality content will continue, becoming even more valuable in our interconnected and online world. Ensuring articles, blogs, social posts, brochures and press releases to name but a few, are interesting and engaging should always remain a focus. This will enable communications to be maximised across the multitude of different platforms and deliver better value for money for businesses as they target their messaging more effectively.

Bob: Whatever the medium, content that is engaging, creative, well-written and well-presented will remain critical in ensuring the right messages reach the right targets.

Simon K: As Google gets ever more sophisticated, it inches closer to finding the ideal balance between PR and SEO disciplines.  Until now, online content has either been a) incredibly well optimised but horrendously clickbait-y; or b) absolutely brilliant but completely ignored.  But with the advent of Google’s EAT algorithm – which prioritises Expertise, Authority and Trust – quality writing is back in vogue.  Add a dash of data analysis to sharpen the focus, and you’ll find your audience.

Into the meta-verse?

Richard: In the world of PR, and indeed the wider world of commerce, the move toward ‘virtuality’ with continue to gather pace and torque.  Hail ‘Metabook’! The metaverse and ‘internetality’ clearly opens up new vistas and advantages if properly managed.  It does, however, if unmonitored, allow for an increase in deception via AI/AR misuse. I feel that business folk (in truth, probably everyone) will feel a greater need for Reality not to be entirely Artificial.

Molly: I think that the metaverse is a strong possibility, and a very interesting avenue for big brands to explore when the time comes. But I have to say, I don’t think it will be established in the next year. I reckon 2024.

The human connection

Bob: Even in today’s predominantly digital world and assuming we can finally get the better of Covid next year, I believe face to face contact will be back in fashion in 2022 as people come to realise the value and benefits of engagement beyond the computer screen. Similarly, while the media landscape will continue to change, print will still have a role to play.

Molly: Look at the recent and ongoing success that brands like Aldi and Ryanair have seen through funny/relatable content on social media. I’m expecting to see more of a push for businesses (especially B2C) to humanize their social media presence. This could be with migrating to TikTok, starting ‘beef’ with other brands, or even in some cases letting the personality of the individual social media manager come through in their content.

Trust me, I’m a brand

Richard: Trust is a key pillar in PR.  Both clients and their audiences seek honesty and transparency as much as coverage and sales.  The projection of NMPR as a skilled firm with the human touch will stand us in good stead for continued growth. “The People Behind the PR”

Rhiannon: PR has never been more important in these uncertain times with news of more lockdowns, supply chain shortages, climate crisis, recession, and cultural upheavals flooding our feeds. Positive brand images and community spirit will play a major role in driving businesses forward. Greater focus on ethical, environmental and community involvement will showcase businesses working together for a greater good and dominate media campaigns to win the hearts and minds of consumers.

Molly: With the pandemic slowly allowing people back into the world again, I think there will be a change in what consumers want from brands. In my opinion, the question from customers has changed. It’s no longer ‘How can this brand’s product make my like easier and more efficient?’  Instead, it’s ‘How can this brand’s product make my life better?’ Brands will have to change their message to accommodate people’s new outlook on life in a post-pandemic world.

Under the influence

Rhiannon: The term “influencer marketing” often conjures images of an ex-Love Island contestant selling protein powder or scented candles. This may be accurate in the B2C world, but this is not the only place this increasingly popular strategy works. Adding B2B influencers into the marketing mix is becoming an important marketing tactic.  Upcoming trends include the rise of micro-influencers, an increase in industry specific thought leaders and even the rise of employee influencers. Getting B2B influencers to share or advocate a product, service, solution, or company can create awareness among customers and prospects, nurture interest, and improve their propensity to buy. In theory it makes perfect sense. People buy from people. Thus, if we can get human beings to carry our marketing water on behalf of the company, not only do costs go down, but persuasiveness goes up.

Molly: Influencer marketing will change drastically. I expect that the ever-increasing awareness for mental health and people being ‘called out’ for photoshop and filters, will shift influencers to being more focused on being ‘perfectly imperfect’ over the usual unattainable dream life.

Mix and match your marketing

Molly: I think the ‘hybrid experience’ will be very popular in 2022. Using QR codes as business cards, augmented reality, printing tweets as billboard ads. I think combining your online and your offline channels will be common practice among even the more old-fashioned businesses.

Rhiannon: Gone are the days when families would huddle together in front of the TV to watch the same programmes. Today, family members are more likely to be binging box sets alone, whilst snacking on short social media video clips. The short form video specifically is a trend which is having a moment – and will continue to do so in 2022. The boom of TikTok might be largely to thank. Its users watch everything from funny cat videos to lip syncs that its users create and share on their phones. It has become an outlet for collective expression, now a communication mode of choice for younger generations. Instagram reels and YouTube shorts have quickly jumped on the band wagon.  These shifts in consumptions habits for quick but engaging content will continue to have huge implications for marketers. Gone are the days of ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategies for videos – create a video ad and place in across the web.  Now, we must tailor each approach uniquely to each site, especially if brands want to crack the desirable Gen Z audience who dominate these platforms.

Simon K: It sounds like the stuff of dystopian sci-fi, but neuromarketing is gathering pace as the go-to strategy for brands wanting to find out what consumers want.  What they really, really want.  By scanning brain patterns, monitoring blood flow and tracking eye movements, neuromarketing allows brands to tap into the deepest recesses of the consumer’s psyche.  And, as a result, bring some zig-a-zig-ah to their communications.

And finally…

Because, clearly, not everybody can take the brief seriously.

Bob: England won’t win the World Cup; the UK won’t win the Eurovision Song Contest; I won’t win the lottery.

Richard: 2022 will be the year when, for the first time, over 50% of every open outlet on the high street in the UK will be a coffee shop, a nail bar, or a charity shop.

Simon W: At the end of next year, we will have a roundup of 2022 and a look forward into the marketing and communications trends of 2023. Everyone loves a prediction and a trend you know!

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