Within the past month, Elon Musk has taken the helm of Twitter, the Meta stock price has plummeted and mass layoffs across the tech industry have been announced. As career partners for communications professionals, our Prospect team has had many conversations with communications specialists who are struggling not only to stay on top of the near-daily developments, but to distill the changes into recommendations for the companies they advise.
To help decode the impact of a fast-evolving digital media landscape, Prospect partnered with Sandpiper to host a breakfast roundtable with Rob van Alphen, Sandpiper’s Director of Strategy and Innovation. Held on Wednesday, 16th November at the Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore, the roundtable was attended by more than 15 in-house professionals.
Throughout the discussion, Rob shared a summary of the major digital trends, shifting consumer habits and the top takeaways for communicators. Our key takeaways include:
1. Visual search is on the rise
Online search is rapidly moving towards visual, especially among younger consumers. Google search is adapting to this shift with Instagram and TikTok posts frequently appearing at the top of search engine results.
According to Sandpiper, this trend highlights the importance of understanding your audience and, accordingly, prioritising visual content within your content strategy. Videos and images not only have the potential to cement a company’s search engine visibility, but also enables companies to engage with target audiences on a wider variety of platforms.
2. Rise of misinformation
There is a continued and growing distrust in traditional institutions including news publishers, corporations, NGOs and brands. From trolls taking advantage of the Twitter ‘blue tick’ to impersonate big brands, to AI content generators that literally put their own words into the mouths of spokespeople who have never said them.
Sandpiper predicts that the future will not be about fact-checking what is fake but rather, proving what is real. And an important way to do this is to establish trust.
3. Experts are trusted
There has been a steady rise in communication from real authorities and subject matter experts. Whereas the legitimacy of intermediaries is declining, original sources such as researchers, clinics and regulatory bodies are increasingly being sought out by consumers.
To solidify the perception of trustworthiness, Sandpiper suggests that corporations explore how subject matter experts within their company or in partner organisations can best be positioned.
4. Specialists are in demand
There is an ongoing demand for specialists for agency and in-house roles in Asia Pacific. According to attendees, the specific skill sets required for these positions include data analytics, adaptable writing skills with the ability to pivot to suit different platforms, audiences and topics, social media prowess, and the capability to develop visual and written content. Above all, they look for candidates who understand the industry sector, write with clarity of thought, and produce communication assets that can both inspire and aspire.
Ultimately, all communicators are grappling with balancing what companies want to say, what stakeholders want to hear, and what search engines want to show.
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