Last year was all about our fear of artificial intelligence (AI) taking our jobs and bots are certainly on the rise in communications. Newspapers are already using AI and I’m intrigued to see how it will be taken up in the growing conversation that internal comms has become. Digital platforms have opened up a wider conversation offering great listening tools with the possibility for communicators to create fresh, open dialogue. There’s no escaping technology, so now’s the time to add AI to our toolkit.   Christina Salzano, editor

I’m excited about an algorithm update – which is the least sexy sentence you’ll hear in 2018. But Facebook is changing its algorithms to quell the excess ‘engagement bait’. In my personal life, this will mean my Facebook feed will hopefully no longer be filled with ‘like this if you’re a TRUE Scorpio’ and ‘you won’t believe what this child actor looks like NOW’. But professionally, it means brands are going to have to work harder to engage their audiences. In a war against clickbait, perhaps those organisations will have to return to doing something rather old fashioned that, at AB, we know a little about: telling great stories.   Simon Ward, editor

This year I’m excited to follow the continued developments in the voice assistant arena, which is set to become even more competitive with Apple entering the same smart speaker space as established players Amazon (Echo products) and Google (Google Home products). The release of the HomePod in early 2018 follows Apple’s attempts to make Siri easier to integrate with other smart products, bringing it more in line with Alexa and Google Assistant. The increased competition bodes well for increased convenience, while also making our smart homes and offices more safe and secure.   John Phillips, operations manager

Some say employee communications is under threat due to the convergence of internal and external disciplines. Others say IC has never been more important – in a tough, competitive marketplace, only organisations with the most energised, collaborative and united workforces will survive. Both are true. As internal communicators, we need to foster a more joined-up approach with our friends in marketing, media relations and investor relations. The drive for transparency and authenticity will encourage greater convergence between internal and external communications. But those working in IC have much to gain from this closer union. What happens internally has never been more important and interesting to the world outside. Now is the time to exploit our privileged position at the heart of our organisations.   Katie Macaulay, managing director

I’m going to embrace the on going rise of digital. I love print, but it’s exciting to see what can be done with content when it’s wholly digital, particularly in the opportunities it presents. I hope that by the end of the year I might be shooting videos on my phone as well as doing sit down interviews with notepad and pen, so I have a mix in the way I tell stories.   Lucy Clapham, reporter

I’m excited about the new trend for more responsible social media. I’ve just signed up to something called counter.social, which is a similar service to Twitter only with a zero-tolerance policy for abusive posts. Hate groups, bots, troll farms and users from certain democracy-threatening countries are also blocked. Hopefully it will be a success in its own right, inspire something better, or push Facebook and Twitter into doing more to get their houses in order.   Oliver Frankham, senior reporter

I think 2018 will see us focus more on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and workplace culture, with a specific focus on how employee engagement plays a role in corporate reputation. Some of this will be about getting back to the basics of communication and human connection – no doubt supported by digital platforms. As communicators, we need to ensure we understand the motivation and drivers of our workforce to create campaigns, stories and channels that drive the business forwards and I’m excited to see us focussing on some of these elements this year.   Jenni Field, senior consultant

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