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2016: Predictions for the new year

As consumers get ever more wary about the amount of advertising thrown their way, brands and PRs will have to get even smarter about the way we communicate with them.

We’ll see the industry respond in three main ways. The first will see us starting to take advantage of a genuinely new medium for our industry – Virtual Reality. This will bring an additional dimension to campaigns, bringing concepts and experiences to life above and beyond the on- and off-line dichotomy - but will place increasing demands on agencies’ technical and creative skillsets.

A second trend will see brands go one step further, creating actual physical experiences. We’ve seen isolated examples of this already – think IBM building giant shelters to hide you from the rain, which doubled up as an advert for their new smart cities programme. This is likely to take on far greater significance than the experiential gimmickry we’ve already become used to – with practical and semi-permanent physical presences becoming a core part of brand engagement.

Thirdly, and very positively, we will also see brands forced to relinquish their tight control over their content. Reacting to the demands of their audiences to consume information in the time and place of their choosing, there will be a growing willingness to hand over distribution to third parties. Campaigns will have to live and breathe on the channels they’re designed for and we should begin to see the end of clumsy calls to action or forced visits to external websites.