Relevance, transparency and trust: success in 2017

Press Release – Senate SHJ

SenateSHJ has published its annual predictions for the issues and trends that will shape the year ahead. It forecasts further transformational change for organisations and entire sectors in 2017. SenateSHJ chief executive Neil Green says the big challenge …MEDIA RELEASE


Relevance, transparency and trust: the cornerstones of success in 2017

SenateSHJ has published its annual predictions for the issues and trends that will shape the year ahead. It forecasts further transformational change for organisations and entire sectors in 2017.
SenateSHJ chief executive Neil Green says the big challenge for leaders in 2017 will be to maintain relevance in a time of accelerating change.

“Whatever sector people work in, it is likely it will be shaken up and transformed in the course of this year. Organisations will evolve in a way that will continue to disrupt previous behaviours, and they will be placed under more pressure as they manage that change.

“We see the accelerating change of 2017 taking five main forms – our ‘Future Five’:

“First is the concept of “post-truth” – something we identified in last year’s predictions. This year, the persistence of this phenomenon increases pressure on leaders and institutions to make clear connections in an increasingly truthless world.

“Our second factor offsets this post-truth reality, and that is values and ethics. There is a strong desire for our leaders and our institutions to engage transparently and authentically. This year businesses and governments need to work increasingly hard to plug the trust deficit with the majority of the communities they serve.

“Our final three factors express the modern paradox: the rise of self-obsession, played out against an increase in collaboration and tribalism. The leaders and institutions that succeed in 2017 will be those that recognise and can work ethically within this context.

“The 2017 Future Five shows that we will not get a rest from change this year, and our successful leaders and businesses will be those that can respond to change, stay relevant, maintain transparency and engagement, while also responding to people’s desire for tailored and truncated content.

“In our 2016 predictions we said authenticity was the ‘it’ word for the year, and that people would be seeking real stories from real people. Two very different scenarios played out last year proving the importance of ‘keeping it real’.

“Immediately following the Kaikoura earthquake in New Zealand, we saw well-prepared organisations positively and directly engage with their staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, and demonstrate their values and commitment to customer service, which in turn built on the reputation of their brand.

“On the flip side, Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 crisis and its perceived ad hoc communication response to the exploding and burning of its smartphones will result in significant costs for the company. Not only have there already been significant costs to recall and replace the phones, there is also an unknown cost to the company’s other products and its reputation globally,” says Neil Green.

Click here for SenateSHJ’s Future Five predictions for 2017, or watch the video.

SenateSHJ Future Five 2017

1. Post-truth politics is the new norm – Individual empowerment has seen power transferred from corporations to consumers, from politicians to voters, and from ‘elites’ to the common person. Messaging needs to “span the divides” by being clear, simple, visual, and tangible in order to capture attention.

2. Values and ethics win the hearts of customers – Customers are seeking trust in organisations whose values and behaviours resonate with their own. Values and ethics will become an increasing driver for customer and staff engagement – their emotional response will become the new truth.

3. Enter the era of self(ie) obsession – Today everyone has a voice (and images). This trend continues to drive behaviour in 2017. The ‘me’ culture has proliferated, meaning anyone, and everyone, can be a journalist, editor, and publisher; playing a key role in the ‘new media’. Understanding the importance of choosing the right time to engage with audiences will be crucial. The trick is to communicate in the right context to create valuable online engagement.

4. Collaboration for survival – Collaboration will continue in 2017 as consumers seek holistic solutions to their needs. Organisations and businesses will need to do this to find innovative ways to manage change, and to meet customers’ expectations. Organisations need to effectively engage with stakeholders to create shared value, building trust and reputation with the new entity, and harness the positive social impacts.

5. Rise of the tribe – The ‘rise of the tribe’ and community engagement will become even more prevalent as society fragments into groupings or ‘tribes’ they trust. This will create an ‘echo chamber’ of opinions and sources in the traditional, digital and social media forums for an unfiltered view on day-to-day life that is relatable and relevant.

Noting the influence of new technologies
As people seek an emotional response or connection to their world, so too are we seeing the boom of new and growth technologies such as virtual reality and out-of-home media. These powerful technologies have the ability to change the way we live in more exciting and impactful ways. However, it is important for businesses to be able to see beyond the hype of new gadgets and assess where this technology can add to and enhance experiences for our audience, rather than create a world of imposed social isolation.

We also need to understand the impact of combining biometric data and computer power. When big data systems know individuals well, power shifts to algorithms – they will identify what makes you laugh / sad / angry and can target you relentlessly (without forgetting anything).

Unprecedented data processing power will soon have the potential to understand humans better than we understand ourselves which in turn creates many opportunities and challenges.


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