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As 2018 begins, what corporate communication trends are sure to be on the radar of brands who want to remain relevant? Investis's .futurology report covers topics on the minds of communicators aiming to reach new audiences, improve customer service and engage the next generation of employees.

Exploring new realities

When it comes to communication technologies, look for opportunities in augmented reality, virtual reality and wearables to take center stage. As these technologies grow in popularity, watch for the following trends:

  • Augmented reality (AR): Companies may attract higher-caliber talent with AR experiences to give candidates a taste of what it's like to work with them.
  • Virtual reality (VR): VR can transport customers to new destinations where they can discover more about a company's product supply chains or operations.

Embracing real-time tech and automation

Channels like live video streaming, virtual assistants and chatbots are impacting communication in a variety of ways.

  • Live video streaming: Consumers crave brand authenticity. The rise of live video streaming technology allows companies to give the people what they want. Facebook Live illustrates this, as livestreaming videos on Facebook are viewed for much longer than nonlive content. Live 360° video will only cause this phenomenon to grow.
  • Voice search: With virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri becoming increasingly common, voice search is on the rise. By 2020, it's estimated that voice search will make up 50 percent of all search engine queries. So, it's essential for digital communications professionals to include more conversational "long tail" terms in online content. Long-tail terms mimic spoken speech and work better with voice search.
  • Chatbots: From simple chatbots to artificial intelligence-enabled virtual customer assistants (VCAs), bots are changing the way we interact with businesses, from answering customer queries to delivering services.

Going beyond bells and whistles

Keep in mind that even with all these advances, if the core idea behind it doesn't work, the tech used to deliver it won't matter. A poor story told in VR simply immerses your audience in a narrative that's harder to escape. A poor service idea delivered through a voice-enabled chatbot can frustrate potential customers with an unfulfilled promise.

 

While corporate communicators need to keep up with technology, having a strong story never goes out of style.

Michelle Messenger Garrett is an award-winning writer, content creator and public relations consultant with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. Her articles have been featured in Entrepreneur, and she’s a regular contributor to leading PR blogs Ragan’s PR Daily and Muck Rack. Garrett was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica and was recently named to the board of the newly formed National Organization of Women in PR USA. Her blog was recently named a Top Small Business Marketing Blog.

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