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How Forrester’s 2022 predictions affect strategic communication and PR

By Emma Burgess

Analyzed through the scope of strategic communication, the guide tells brands how to stand out in light of new trends.


A group meeting.As we continue deeper into 2022 and the business landscape continues to change, Forrester Research released its annual predictions, titled “Disruptive Forces Necessitate Bold Decisions,” stating that “the new normal will be more new than it will be normal.” Forrester’s predictions are already evident in business and technology, so what may 2022 have in store for strategic communication and public relations? Below are several of Forrester’s predictions that hold big implications for the industry and provide


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Consumers see the world as all digital

Forrester reported that 80% of consumers now see the world as all digital, an existing trend that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated. Audiences that were previously more comfortable with traditional communication channels have turned to digital platforms, and 58% of consumers expect companies to adapt their digital resources to accommodate this change. 


For PR, this means if you're not integrated, you’re ancient. As more consumers join the already large demographic with an online presence, digital communication will be the best way to reach your target audience. Content design will be built on grabbing attention in an environment where consumers are bombarded with multiple messages at once. Agencies that don’t offer strong social and web services will sink, and those that do will swim.


Tech execs lead from digital to human-centric technology transformations

This prediction serves as an equalizer for agencies as consumers shift to digital platforms. The once popular “digital transformation” will be swapped for crew investments as 10% of technology executives will prioritize investments to radically expand creativity and innovation.


This change holds a universal meaning that spans across all business professions – humans will never be obsolete. The renewed focus on outcomes over financial results means companies will continue to rely on insights and content creation gained from strategic communication to guide their marketing efforts.


Brands dance and spar with marketplaces

Current data shows 57% of business-to-consumer e-commerce sales flow through marketplaces in the U.S., with this number reaching up to 98% in China’s market. In 2022, Forrester predicts global spending on order management software will grow to more than $1 billion with the trajectory to reach $1.5 billion in 2024.


This increase in spending is a result of combat maneuvers between companies to create a better shopping experience for consumers. Strategic communication can provide valuable insights into the consumer journey, so companies know when to target potential customers with personalized content. PR campaigns will give organizations the opportunity to distinguish themselves on a playing field where consumers experience a brand’s marketing content before they experience the product. Brand voice, advertisement design, and credibility will become a deciding factor between two companies that offer similar usability and customer experience.


B2B marketers accelerate technology investments, with uneven results 

Forrester predicts that 75% of personalized engagement strategies will not meet set ROI goals in 2022, despite 70% of marketers adopting an “always on” digital engagement strategy due to inadequate buyer insights. Because of companies’ failure to meet ROI goals, the demand for agencies that offer metric and insight services will increase in 2022. Organizations will turn to communication services to find and implement the best metrics to measure value, gained through data analytics, buyer personas, and other specialized services.


Bias bounties become bountiful

As communication between an organization and its audiences becomes a two-way street, the use of bias bounties in quality assurance is gaining popularity. Forrester predicts that in 2022 at least 5 large companies will offer bias bounties to the public. 


Strategic communication will play an important role in identifying target audiences and alerting them to available bias bounties. Information will be shared through web and social media channels and utilize paid media, such as sponsored campaigns, to reach consumers.


Brands take bold actions to advance ESG goals

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the impact corporations can have on environmental, social, and governance issues. In 2022, 10 big brands will step in where governments fail to act


Forrester also reported that last year, 48% of adults in the U.S. regularly purchase from brands that align with their personal values, a number expected to surpass 50% this year. Sharing an organization’s ESG efforts with the public will fall to strategic communication, closely linking PR efforts to ROI and allowing for more accurate measurements of a campaign’s value in reaching business goals.


Smart infrastructure growth accelerates

Similar to an increased interest in ESG issues, Forrester predicts we will also see an increase in corporation investment in infrastructure by up to 40%. Strategic communication will play the same role in educating the public how an organization’s investment in infrastructure benefits consumers, utilizing traditional, social, and web media channels to reach audiences. When done effectively, this communication will boost brand loyalty and contribute to an increase in ROI.


Stay ahead of the curve in 2022 with our vodcast, On Top of PR, where Axia Public Relations CEO Jason Mudd, APR, and industry experts address how listeners can give their clients the best in the constantly evolving PR landscape.


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Topics: digital PR, PR tips, online public relations, strategy

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