3 key trends impacting comms professionals in 2024

This blog was written by Betsy Brandon, Communication Executive at Elevate Communication.

The change within our industry in just the last 12 months alone has been insurmountable—from the rise of Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual augmented reality platforms to the digitally evolving media landscape—there’s no doubt we are constantly being nimble in the way we approach our communication strategies for clients.   

With the fast-changing world we live in, it’s important to constantly be pulse-checking where people are communicating and how they want to be communicated with; understanding this puzzle piece will create the most impact and success for organisations and their respective industries to cut through the noise and competition. It’s critical to identify this for all stakeholders—from customers to employees to major shareholders. Each public is just as important as each other.   

Elevate staff members Madeline Jones and Betsy Brandon attended the Mumbrella CommsCon 2024 Conference, and this was absolutely one of the key talking points of the day.  

Let’s dive into the top 3 trends impacting communicators for 2024.  

AI-powered tools are here

With almost 90% of online content to be generated via AI by 2026, it wouldn’t be a surprise if almost every workplace has discussed at length how AI will affect their team and industry. Whether we like it or not, AI-powered tools are here to stay.  

From chatbots and virtual assistants to sentiment analysis tools, AI-powered communication technologies offer efficiency, atomisation, and data-driven insights to help enhance customer interactions, streamline workflows, and analyse communication strategies.  

So, what does this look like in everyday communication?  

Keeping in mind ethical boundaries and conversations around regulations still yet to be had, we know that AI uses what we give it to train itself. At Elevate we have a hard and fast rule that we only input information that is freely available on the internet. We never input information that discloses our client’s names, goals, competitors etc. General information only.  

So, how can we use this tool to help rather than hinder us? At Elevate, we are using a suite of AI tools in a variety of ways.  

  • Brainstorm buddy: A support tool in helping to enhance creative ideas and more quickly pinpoint industry research.  
  • Efficiency tool: Quickly summarising online information, drawing top insights, and condensing third-party reports and data, so we can consume a wider variety of information quicker.
  • Visualisation tool: Bringing ideas to life easily and accurately, very useful for mock-ups and creative representations.   

Virtual reality integration

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are not just ‘gamer’ terminologies!   

VR and AR technologies are certainly the new guys on the block. With the increasing prevalence of VR headsets, AR-enabled smartphones, and web-based VR experiences, VR and AR content is becoming more accessible and sought after by a broader audience, not just through specific industries as previously understood.  

As these technologies are becoming more available to the everyday consumer, we are exploring how to integrate VR and AR more into client strategies to engage new and existing audiences in fresh and innovative ways. 

Embracing this head-on can feel risky, which was very clearly noted at CommsCon. However, 171 million people worldwide are using some form of virtual reality, and the number of VR start-ups has increased by 14% in less than a year, according to the 2024 Gitnux Marketdata Report. This tells us that traditional mediums of interactive content are at risk of becoming ‘stale’, and consumers want to explore virtual reality to connect with certain communities.   

Being curious about VR and AR technologies and what it has to offer is key. As communicators, this new technology can allow us to leverage organisations on these platforms to expand their audience base and increase engagement across diverse channels—going above and beyond traditional media outlets and social media platforms. 

As clients navigate the maze of AR and VR technical jargon and overload, we emerge as advocates of clarity and connection.   

Prioritising the user experience and audience perspective ensures that the content we craft—web, interactive, or video—captivates, engages, and resonates with audiences with clarity and purpose. 

As VR becomes more and more prevalent in communication campaigns and experiences, keeping immersive storytelling at the forefront of what we do will always remain imperative, no matter the platform we choose to tell the story. 

Ethical and authentic communication

A key theme from many of the speakers at CommsCon this year was how the media landscape is evolving in 2024 and what this means for ethical and authentic communication.  

In an era of heightened awareness about privacy, misinformation, and social responsibility, ethical and transparent communication is not just paramount—it’s demanded.  

It doesn’t help that our newsrooms are more time-poor than ever due to changing staff levels, closures of regional newsrooms and niche publications, and a requirement to produce stories for multiple platforms, including digital and social media. 

People are spending more time on TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, and other platforms where social interaction, community, and rapid consumption of information are the norm. News sharing via social media, messaging and email has become common practice, involving 28% of Australians, while leading social media platforms for news include Facebook (32%), YouTube (23%), and Instagram (14%) according to Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2023. 

We know that some of our most respected and oldest media institutions are tackling social channels head-on—directing more resources to various platforms. But how do we marry social media, a known breeding ground for misinformation, with the news?  

Australians are consuming news on a variety of platforms, so our stories need to be tailored to consider Instagram, email newsletters, podcasts, and forums. Even though news is being consumed across a diverse spectrum, Australians are still expecting authenticity, honesty, and accountability.   

It means we don’t resolve our media relations to ‘spray and pray’ methods, but take a diligent, holistic view of what you want to achieve.  

Communication professionals can help fellow journalists by building trust through transparent communication practices, including clear messaging, responsible data handling, and genuine engagement with audiences. This approach will go a long way.   

The communication industry has always been an early adopter of new technologies, and it’s up to us to take these tools and demonstrate how they can help us all for the better. We are a curious bunch after all!   

The most important thing to remember is to be authentic, transparent, and balanced—and lean on communication experts always.

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