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2016 PRedictions from Flack Me
By: Mike Bush
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Regular readers of this column understand that I recently came to the conclusion that making predictions is easy…but making accurate predictions is maybe a little harder (there’s a reason I don’t work on Wall Street). So this year, rather than making my own predictions and basically ending the year feeling like the Emperor in his fancy new attire, I’ve asked some of Flack Me’s contributors to share their thoughts on what 2016 might well bring.

Jeannine Wheeler predicts that PR will get more social, more authentic, and more user generated:
With 44% of millennials trusting experienced consumers over brands (according to Bazaarvoice), PRs have some work to do to leverage this trend. They will do well to work with their clients to create programs that prioritize content their consumers prefer to see, which includes ratings, reviews, questions and social posts actually written by consumers sharing their honest opinions – good and bad. Integrating this Consumer Generated Content into marketing initiatives is a major trend for 2016, and one PRs need to understand and manage.
Shawn Paul Wood thinks this is the year that finally look up and deliver on the promise of integrated communications:
The battle between digital PR and traditional PR is rapidly coming to a head. All those agencies that choose to think of this life we chose like "PR and social media" will be either acquired, disbanded, or left in the dust. We must consider communications holistically and integrated. Without that mindset across all communications agencies, the clients will never win. And neither will we.
Doug Bedell shares a pair of predictions, one that seems a bit like a gimme and one that has ramifications that stretch far beyond PR (but that could be a foundational study to how communications shape the next generations):
This might seem self-evident to all, but my prediction for 2016 is that it will produce an unusually divisive presidential election process, one that will be unusually difficult to endure.
We’re likely to decide whether Muslims are good people or not. I truly hope the Muslims win out.
As for me, well, here we go:
We’ll continue to see the proliferation of OTT video, including better access to sports packages and (finally) the elimination of blackouts.
Crisis comms will be a massive driver of PR business, especially in the tech space. Analysts are predicting something crazy like 20 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the year 2020. Most of these devices lack proper security. 2016 will have an awful lot of PR driven (non?) apologies for devices and hacks that have been perpetrated by hackers.
At least one major publication will be fined by the FTC for an inappropriate use of Native Advertising. The fine will be unreasonable.
There it is. I'm choosing solidarity over bravado, and plan to be here in 12 months to discuss who was most right and who borrowed a play from my predictions-playbook.

Thanks for reading throughout 2015, and I hope 2016 is a phenomenal year for you.

Happy New Year.

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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