2020 has started, and we need to act
By Sandro Rego
Every year starts like this: we follow old traditions and try to set out goals for the new year. This is also the time to stay connected to market trends. There are several lists. Many based on market guessing, without any basis, or those that enlighten the path we are going to take. My intention here is to discuss what we can expect for the coming year from my point of view of the Portuguese communication market.
Since it is no news for anyone, the communication area will continue to undergo a profound transformation. In Portugal, this movement is increasingly intense. If companies want to strengthen their image, retain current customers and win new ones, they will increasingly need to anticipate the facts. The focus of the new year will be on brands, whether of products or institutional.
For the new year, I list three fundamental points that will be even more relevant in 2020: 1) The need for companies and their executives to take a position on social issues; 2) The adoption of causes consistent with the business to build and strengthen the brand and, finally, 3) Redouble the attention with fake news.
“Greta Effect”: Companies and their main executives must take a position related to social issues and become de facto activists. Brands must define their vision and commitment to issues related to the environment and sustainability more intensely. The speech needs to be consistent with the practice and concrete measures – from the change of packaging to the adoption of new logistical modes – will need to be presented to society.
Social impact: Companies need to identify, assume, and practice their purpose. Those who have not yet done this exercise or have not yet identified it will remain on the path. Communication professionals must play a leading role in this matter. It is worth noting that brands with legitimate social engagement are more valued than those that do not. In addition to senior management and key executives, the HR areas can be great allies in this process, given that the movement will benefit the entire organization and its stakeholders.
Deep fakes: Communication professionals should take a more vigilant attitude towards the increase in fake news and other forms of disinformation this year. The trend is that more and more organizations will be affected by fake news in 2020. So it’s time to develop or strengthen systems or tools to identify and respond to fake news in the shortest possible time. The goal here is to minimize crises. And in 2020, deep fake videos pose new threats to corporate reputation. Free or low-cost video editing tools to produce counterfeits are becoming widely available.
Remember that trends mean nothing if you don’t use them to improve what you do and, consequently, the society and the world we live in. So, reflect on these trends, take them to your teams, share, and discuss them, always. But above all, it is time to act. May 2020 be a sensational year for everyone, and may the communication area gain even more relevance in the Portuguese market.
Sandro Rego is CEO of Priori, a communications agency in Portugal dedicated to social impact causes and projects. He was general manager of FleishmanHillard agency and communications executive at Banco Safra, Boticário Group, Bunge, and Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN). He was “Communicator of the Year” at the Aberje 2014 Award. He currently lives in Portugal and is the editor of BRpr’s “Also in Portuguese” section.
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