Virtual Reality, Elections and Engagement: Looking ahead to 2016

Crystal Ball. Predictions for 2016

Looking ahead to 2016, Crystal Ball
The late, great David Carr of the New York Times was gazing into a crystal ball in 2014 when he wrote about the return of the email newsletter. The newsletter hit the big time in 2015 thanks to high profile examples like Kobe Bryant’s retirement statement in The Players’ Tribune and Jennifer Lawrence discussing the pay gap in Hollywood on Lena Dunham’s newsletter Lenny .

Mail Chimp’s Tiny Letter and similar services are cutting the noise from social media and Wild, Wild West comment sections of blogs to create a more intimate connection with a receptive audience. These short, largely curatorial newsletters allow celebrities, journalists and brands to retain editorial autonomy and no advertising or metrics pressure to generate clicks (yet…stay tuned in 2016).

Thinking about Carr’s prediction coming to life this year lead me to ask the Stanton Communications team what they think will be the biggest trends for communications, marketing, media and public affairs in 2016.

Jeff Urbanchuk

”On a public affairs front, Congress will be gridlocked leading into election year and President Obama will legislate via regulation. Just like 2015.”

Taylor Leaming

“I predict that there will be a bigger push for real-time communications, such as Snapchat, Periscope, and others. Thanks to our “fear of missing out” we will see more consumers and companies take to mediums that will allow them to be a part of an experience, as opposed to reading about it.”

Amy Bowman

“Just a couple months ago, the New York Times introduced NYT VR, treading into new territory when it comes to storytelling. I predict we’re going to see more applications of VR within the media, be it newspapers, television, magazines, or other channels. This VR frontier creates a ripe opportunity for PR practitioners to flex their creative muscles and capture the hearts and minds of their audiences. Just a cautionary note for all communicators, compliments of Michael Oreskes, N.P.R. news chief and former Times editor: “Our stories can’t be virtually true. They must be fully real.”

Elynsey Price

Mobile optimization took off in 2015 and will play even more of a role for PR professionals in 2016. With increased audiences accessing content from their phones (social media, websites, etc.), professionals must understand the ways this channel can be utilized and create appropriate content to successfully increase and influence engagement.”

Cara Greene

In 2016, we will continue to see more visuals incorporated, especially with video. I also think the use of advertising equivalency value as a form of measurement will continue to slow.”

Joseph Contrino

“In 2016, I believe the focus will be on mobile, social and digital media. These platforms are evolving at a rapid pace. I also think 2016 will bring even more engagement with fans, audiences and consumers. Engagement shows significant results, and we love results!”

Sarah Litton

“Corporate communication leaders will be closely monitoring to what extent the anti-establishment tone dominating the most successful presidential primary campaigns will also figure into the general election.”

There are, of course, the things no one will see coming like Edward Snowden joining Twitter or a pivot from “no comment” in high profile business scandals and those can often be the trends that make the biggest impact on how we practice public relations. What predictions do you have for 2016?

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