The rise of fake news has made ‘the authentic’ all the more valuable. Savvy consumers don’t want to be spoon-fed platitudes; they want to see what makes a brand tick. Sincerity helps drive trust, and the public expects to see brands that express themselves honestly without hiding their vulnerabilities.
According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report, there is a distinct lack of trust for governments and media among the general population. As per the report, 73% worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon; there is particularly low trust in social media in Europe and North America. Brand communication strategies must take into consideration this lack of trust by offering authentic content that resonates with target audiences.
Authentic communication requires knowing what a brand stands for, then clearly and consistently delivering that message to the market. Brands should leverage social media, surveys, focus groups, points-of-sale, and other tools to better understand customers, then appeal to their values and the causes they support.
Technology / data
Technological advances mean the level of data now produced on a daily basis will change the way we work forever. The challenge — and, indeed, the opportunity — is figuring out how to use that data in the most effective and efficient way. While the concern over robotics stealing the jobs of humans is a real one, there are also new roles being created as a result of technology. The UAE’s RTA, for example, now hires data scientists to assist with traffic management at particularly busy periods.
The younger generation, perhaps surprisingly, has a love/hate relationship with technology, according to Deloitte. While 71%of millennials feel positive about their personal use of digital devices and social media, more than half responded that, on balance, social media does them more harm than good. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of millennials said they would be physically healthier if they reduced the time spent on social media, and 6 in 10 said it would make them happier people.
Cybersecurity is also a major issue. Only 14%of millennials strongly agree that the benefits of technology outweigh the risks associated with sharing personal data, 79%are concerned they’ll be victims of online fraud, and a quarter of millennials have halted consumer relationships because of companies’ inability to protect data.
By understanding the issues, the communication industry can turn challenges into opportunities, working with brands to keep them one step ahead of the ever-evolving modern world.
This article was first published in Communicate online.
Sarah Longbottom is Director of Strategy & Planning at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me