Corporate Communicatons

Future Digital Deliverables You Need to Understand for Digital Corporate Communications

Digital technology and new corporate communications formats are constantly evolving, enhancing our lives, businesses and user experiences.

But with so many forms of technology and content delivery, finding the best platforms and deliverables to invest in can be a challenge.

A recently released report titled Futurology: The future of digital communications, revealed some of the fastest growing trends in digital communications.

The report looks at “the devices, channels and influencers shaping, and reshaping, the digital landscape for corporate and B2B communicators”. (Futurology, p.5)

It claims the adoption of new technology, including new content and communications formats, will be imperative in order to gain a firm foothold in the industry and continue to engage and inspire investors and stakeholders into the future.

While there are many proven methods for engaging investors, here are the three key digital drivers that your company should be considering.

Devices

Investors need convenience, functionality and depth of information.

Mobile is still king, but many mobile-web experiences are far from optimised.

As Interactive Investor chief executive Susan Werkner declared when speaking to Nigel Freitas of Technology Behind Business on Sky News, investors need “convenience, functionality and depth of information” and for most investors – that is found on mobile.

The Futurology report found that some audiences are ‘multi-screening’, using different devices for different tasks (Futurology, p.12) so streamlined experiences are a must, as this is what consumers have come to expect. (Futurology, p.10)

Making annual reports interesting, interactive and multi-functional means that investor insights and analytics are more likely to be read, and shared, among key audiences and their networks.

This is also in line with the Futurology report findings that “brands need to consider methods of communication beyond display on traditional screens”. (Futurology: the future of digital communications, p.13)

Channels

Mobile phones keep us all connected, and social media platforms are allowing companies and brands to engage a more wide-reaching audience than ever before.

Using social networks and other digital channels such as YouTube videos and LinkedIn aid in making corporations more visible to the public.

Likewise, creating your own digital channels is possible through online features such as custom designed microsites with a strategic investor focus, apps, podcasts, e-newsletters, funnels and other email capture and list-building techniques, interactive annual reports, and other digital online reports with interactive functions.

Westfield Corporation’s Interactive Shareholder Review 2016 has it all – upbeat music, corporate video, and a handy highlights section showcasing a snapshot of key facts and figures, including the number of Westfield retail outlets and customer visits across its respective sites.

Facebook Live videos are viewed for three times longer than non-live content.

Live video streaming is another channel “encouraging brands to give a fresh, authentic experience that audiences value”, with Facebook Live videos viewed for three times longer than non-live content. (Futurology, p.25) And the quality and variety of video content is set to expand with the 360-degree camera market expected to grow by 34 per cent between 2016 and 2020. (Futurology, p.24)

Not only are non-text content channels becoming more appealing to audiences, they are also more widely accessible.

People process information in a variety of different ways. However, podcasts, photography and videos are engaging and capable of reaching people anywhere, any time, in a manner which is appealing to a large majority of audiences.

Similarly, voice activation is equally accessible, so it is no surprise it is predicted to “become the next major channel alongside web, social and apps”. (Futurology, p.22)

Virtual personal assistants (VPAs) are taking off, with about 24.5 million voice-first devices expected to ship this year”. (Futurology, p.24) One example of this is Amazon’s Alexa, which already has about 7 million users worldwide. This VPA can play music on voice command, read emails, reply to questions or interact with other smart objects. (Futurology, p.31)

Voice-related search is predicted to reach 30 per cent of all online searches by 2020, with ‘long tail’ search terms essential, as opposed to the short, keyword search engine optimisation (SEO) currently in use. (Futurology, p.12)

Influencers

Influencer marketing is an increasingly important part of the marketing mix and will continue to grow.

Influencers are generally individuals or organisations with a large public following relevant to your field, however this term can refer to a range of factors that are driving and changing digital PR.

For instance, micro-influencers are a big part of brand referrals and lead generation. This refers to individuals with a large number of trusted and loyal followers, who use platforms ranging from Snapchat and YouTube, to Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

The Futurology report states that influencer marketing “is an increasingly important part of the marketing mix and will continue to grow”. (Futurology, p.48)

Corporate communicators are part of this mix, having “long understood the reputational upside of positive third-party commentary”. (Futurology, p.48) Identifying and partnering with influencers with a high profile in a relevant field can have a profound effect on introducing new followers, stakeholders and investors to your company.

Their platform are then used as a gateway to your own channels, including data sets, investor social media, or digital communications. Through analysing these sets of information, patterns and trends soon emerge. (Futurology, p.38)

This information can be used to provide direct and targeted messaging customised to individuals and groups. (Futurology, p.15) The big data business analytics market is estimated to grow from $130 billion in 2016 to over $200 billion by 2020, with the banking industry expected to be a big driver of this increase in spending. (Futurology, p.36)

Conclusion

Digital communication technology is a powerful tool, but ultimately, storytelling remains just as important as ever.

The latest data shows us the best technologies and methods of content delivery, but its parting message is essentially to ‘keep it simple’.

Digital communication technology is a powerful tool, but ultimately, storytelling remains just as important as ever.

It is expected that businesses will continue to focus on communicating their stories and key messages “as a point of differentiation”. (Futurology, p.55)

Journalists and corporate communicators will also be pleased to hear that both email and print will continue to be relevant for the foreseeable future.

But, regardless of how IR professionals choose to distribute their core messaging, the report predicts “engaging content will become a more important weapon in the marketer’s arsenal.” (Futurology, p.58)

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