by Weber Shandwick Australia

Authenticity and creativity will reign supreme, new audiences will demand attention, and smart agency partnerships that help solve complex problems will evolve the nature of our work in 2019.

These are just some PR predictions from Weber Shandwick Australia’s leadership team. Watch the video below and read on to hear their thoughts about what factors will be impacting clients, campaigns and our industry in 2019.



‘Consumer savviness will put a spotlight on authenticity’

Rachel Vidaic, Senior Vice President and Head of Consumer

In 2019, there will be a real onus on brands to be as authentic as possible. Growing consumer cynicism and savviness means that there’s increasing intrigue in the stories behind the products we’re investing in. Where did they come from? Who made them? What’s their carbon footprint?

There’s a huge opportunity with Generation Z. We’ve spent a long time focusing on millennials but we really need to look at this new generation that is coming up and will ultimately be the most powerful consumer. There’s also a big opportunity to engage with the slashie: people who don’t define themselves by their day jobs alone but also have many interests, passions and hobbies outside of work.

Interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence will become more important than ever before. Given the amount of change that’s been happening in our industry at the moment, the ability to build and nurture meaningful relationships is going to be more important than ever.


‘We’ll need to get comfortable with new territories’

Min Chow, Senior Vice President, Client Experience and General Manager, Melbourne

Our B2B clients are working with a customer base that has evolved to become more dynamic.  What this means for us as B2B communicators is that there is a shift from more traditional communications tactics to delivering campaigns that are driven by genuine insights, innovation and creativity.

Communications professionals like ourselves need to start getting comfortable with moving to new territories. One thing we need to do is start shifting away from a universal, broad targeting of the business decision maker and start really unpacking the profile and personality the individual we’re speaking to. That’s going to better inform us in terms of the campaigns that we deliver, true content and value and push them along the customer journey.


‘Brands that engage through uncertainty will prosper’

Megan Rosier, Executive Vice President, Head of Technology and Corporate

 A key challenge for our clients in 2019 will be the impact of the political turbulence and slowdown we have seen recently, and that ‘unknown’ factor that so many organisations are facing. But we know from previous experience that the brands that keep engaging are those that really resonate.

What we really need to look at is how we encourage our clients to keep engaging through periods of uncertainty, especially with those that matter – be that their own employees (who are often their biggest brand advocates), or the people that can influence their prospects.

We’ve all talked a lot about the importance of data and analytics to inform our campaigns and thinking, but what we haven’t really touched on is the real power of artificial intelligence and blockchain and the opportunities they present, not only to our clients in their own businesses, but to our own profession. That’s an exciting area to play in.


‘Grey will be the new black’

Gareth Finch, Executive Vice President and Head of Healthcare

For healthcare in 2019, I believe that grey is going to be the new black. By that I mean, we can’t treat the over 65+ as one demographic, it’s actually two very different age groups, both of whom act very differently and need to be reached by different communication channels.

We’re starting to see this aging population really come to maturity and the scale of that demographic warrants a lot attention. They want to live healthier so they can do all the things they want to do because they are still living active lives.

Brands need to find the right way to connect with this 65+ demographic and it’s challenging. Innovation, exploration and discovery is key because we have to find the right channels and set new benchmarks.


‘Impact will surpass insight’

Brian Keenan, Senior Vice President, Planning

If I think back to the questions I have been asked from clients in previous years, one year it was all about insights; ‘what’s the human insight driving our work’ Another year it was ‘is this idea going to break through and stand out from other clients’. But the one I think I am going to get most in 2019 is value or return on investment: is the work that we’re doing the most effective use of our effort, our resource and our budget.

I actually feel quite excited about it. It is a huge opportunity for agencies like ours that are investing and educating our people and our clients in the power of analytics, the power of data to supplement our work, not to replace it or devalue the great work we are already doing, but to make it even better.


‘Smart partnerships will solve complex problems’

Ian Rumsby, Chairman

I think as we go into 2019 we’re going to see a lot more consolidation of agencies, but that consolidation is really going to be around partnerships and providing services to clients in a way that perhaps we haven’t experienced before.

Certainly in our experience, clients are coming to us with more complex problems and to be able to resolve those complex problems we need to start piecing together knowledge sets and skill sets that we might not necessarily have solely in our own organisation.

There are more organisations now, and I think we’ll see more in 2019, who are really operating around and incubator philosophy. That means they are bringing together start-ups, organisations and very small companies with a very specific niche function. In our industry for example that might be around behavioural psychology or behavioural science.

So my prediction for 2019 is that we’re going to see a lot more partnerships, a lot more alignment of different organisations coming together, very often non agencies working with agencies, all designed to help resolve client problems.


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