Ronn TorossianRonn Torossian

As the old year comes to an end, it’s always a good time to evaluate where things stand, what works well, what doesn’t, what will continue being used, and even what’s on the rise. Here are some of the trends certain to continue as well as increase in 2016 and possibly beyond.

Establishing leaders in a business as leaders in the industry or niche

Some people call this “thought leadership.” Effective PR considers bringing information about company leaders to the forefront and establishing them as leaders in their field. When that transition is made, brands not only bring a great product, but they also bring someone considered to be one of the top in the industry. If a consumer wants to buy a security system, and they read an article and interview with the CEO of such a company – demonstrating his expertise in the field – then the reader likely will check out the service to see if it fits their needs. Especially if the article was in a well-respected publication like the Wall Street Journal.

Becoming a thought leader also allows the person to remain current in their niche, as they face opportunities to comment about trends and developments in the interviews they give.

Promoting and increasing great content

Great content is still king! With it, brands grow naturally and build loyal customers in the process. Offering fans the information they need to make life easier, DIY efforts better or bring a few smiles to their faces, then brands build a reputation of being helpful, friendly, and not just about making a buck or selling a product all the time. In essence, brands and their people become more like family to their customers, and people love to support their friends and family’s efforts toward success.

Pre-crisis planning and Online Reputation Management (ORM)

These are actually two different trends, but they are also two sides of the same coin. With pre-crisis planning, there is much done in preparation for if that disaster strikes. Taking the time to imagine the worst and how each scenario should best be handled. Preparing people, products, and information in advance is one side of pre-crisis planning. Consultation with a good crisis management PR firm can be a way to start that process.

ORM offers a way to prepare the company and employees so they know what to do if a crisis happens, but better still, to know what to do, how to act, and what to say to prevent a crisis in the first place. If there is someone complaining about your brand online, it’s an opportunity to turn their opinion around – reach out and create a dialog to discover the problems and find a solution to make the complainer into a fan.

Big Data

Big data is not going away, if a company is not yet on board with it, they should budget for it in 2016. Bring it into a company one department at a time and find what works best for a brand, then take what you’ve learned to incorporate it into another department, and so on until you have it working for you in numerous ways. It’s not just about sales either, you may find it useful in monitoring utility bills, lowering insurance costs, even creating more productive schedules for your employees. With big data – the main limits are in a company’s ability to see how much it can do to help.

More mobile

This is not news. People are using their cell phones more and more to connect with the internet – for social media, for shopping, for search engines – virtually everything they have done on their laptops and desktop computers, they are now doing on their smartphones. With people all over the world using them, totaling billions of users, making sure your efforts online are all mobile-friendly may make the difference between success and failure. If you share content or run an ad, make sure you know how it looks on that small screen and is easy to use there, or you may have wasted your time and effort.

Social media ads and other paid-for promotion

Some agencies report that more than 50% of B2B companies already use social media ads, and as they do so, they have gained more experience with what works in their industries. Making paid-for promotions increasingly effective. And since these ads tend to be relatively cheap, as compared with running an ad in a print magazine or newspaper, their popularity will continue increasing for at least the next year or so – probably much longer.

What we also know is that Public Relations will have a great year in 2016.

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Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public Relations. 5WPR is headquartered in NYC with offices in Denver and Los Angeles.