9 PR Trends To Watch For In 2019

Happy New Year from Clyde Group! We connected with colleagues, clients and other industry experts to draw lessons on what happened in 2018 and, more importantly, to predict what is coming our way. Here are nine communications and public affairs trends we expect to see this year.

1. Presume nothing

“Oh, predictions are a dangerous business! I gave them up in 2016. That said, I think that 2019 will be the year in which the extent and nature of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia come into the clearest focus, presuming that Mueller addresses that subject in a report (I think he will) that becomes public (I think it will, at least in part). My one note of caution: presume nothing about the findings.”

— Shane Harris, Intelligence and National Security Reporter at The Washington Post

2. Do fewer things better

“I remember when people were saying we should give up websites and do all our outreach through social media. That idea is safely dead and gone, after Facebook’s annus horribilis. For 2019, we have to focus on basics — engaging relevant audiences in conversations rather than campaigns, and listening. Take a data-driven approach to audience, and tailor content and outreach efforts to reach the right people at the right time. My 2019 resolution: do fewer things better.”

— Jim Rosenberg, SVP and Chief Communications Officer at Accion

3. Protect our data

“A trend we may see are new products that help consumers who care about their privacy and data analyze what different tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are hoovering up about them and offer innovative ways to track and put up roadblocks to their data’s usage. The same could come regarding legacy companies in corporate America like Wells Fargo and Equifax that have had huge customer account scandals or major data breaches and cyber intrusions.”

— Daniel Lippman, co-author of POLITICO Playbook and reporter at POLITICO

4. Escape the echo chamber

“Access to family planning is such a fundamental puzzle piece to addressing huge pressing issues such as climate change, gender equality and global conflict. But we need to get out of echo chambers on social media to reach new audiences to seek more innovative responses. For us, success would be getting big corporations to see how our mission supports their own too.”

— Amy English, Digital Communications and Development Director at Pathfinder International

5. Democrats will consolidate

“The Democratic field will quickly consolidate to five camps: 1) Next Gen Rock Stars (Harris, O’Rourke, Booker, Garcetti), 2) the Left Guard (Sanders, Warren), 3) Old Faithful (Biden), 4) Billionaire Outsiders (Bloomberg, Steyer), and 5) Team Diversity (Harris, Gillibrand, Booker). The last three standing will have solid footholds in at least two camps. I anticipate the field will shrink dramatically after the early California primary and the final ticket will have at least one member of Team Diversity.”

— Erik Huey, President at Platinum Advisors DC

6. Voters may surprise

“I think by the time we are through, a lot of assumptions are going to be upended — people are going to be surprised by how Democratic primary voters across the country think and vote. The only thing I’m really sure of is that it’s not going to be boring.”

— Molly Hensley-Clancy, Political Reporter at Buzzfeed News

7. Brands will continue to step up

“If the 2018 surge of brand activism and corporate social responsibility has taught us anything, it’s that complete neutrality, or worse, passivity is becoming less and less of an option. Especially for brands struggling to win over persnickety consumers. It’s all too easy to become obsolete and insignificant among the clamor. Overall, it’s clear that communications and advertising has undergone a fundamental change and shifts in consumers attitudes and, consequently, brand strategies will color how political groups, corporations and nonprofits speak and relate to the public for the foreseeable future.”

— Olivia White, Content Specialist at Clyde Group

8. Tongues will sharpen

“The ‘Trumpification’ of political discourse continues: more and more politicians — on both sides of the aisle — will use sharper, more outlandish language and seek to bypass traditional media by using personal platforms that allow them to take their message directly to voters.”

— Geoff Vetter, Director of Public Affairs at Clyde Group

9. Trends will shift

“Social paralysis will harden like scar tissue. App daters will run out of fresh meat. Amtrak will discover millennials and reinvent itself.”

— Carol Joynt, Author of “Innocent Spouse” published by Crown

No matter what the new year has to bring, Clyde Group is here to help you navigate it all.

Welcome to 2019!