Trends Report: 2018
This has been hard to write. We usually put the trends report on our internal project list sometime at the start of Q4 each year and look forward to taking some time to THINK about our industry. In years past, we’ve had to work hard to narrow down our list of trends to watch for the coming year just to keep the word count in check. This year has been… different. We’ve all sat and stared at blinking cursors on blank pages until we’re now up against our self-imposed deadline. We’re staring down the last few weeks of the year and aren’t exactly sure what to say… except for the fact that we know precisely the themes that keep running through our heads, the issues that have both fundamentally changed the way we work and that keep us up at night. We’ve just been hesitant to go there, to cross that line, to put ourselves out there in a way that, as an agency, we usually don’t do.
We live in a changed world. Many of us are struggling with a sort of reality dysmorphia as we see messaging from the very top of society issued day-after-day with the express intent to divide, deride, and deflect. You never know what the next push notification on your phone might herald: a collapse in national policy, a scandal that decimates someone’s career (often rightly so), the rise or fall of an iconic brand, or a tragedy of unfathomable proportion. These aren’t just changing times; they are trying times. Anyone who claims to have maintained solid footing is either not paying attention, lying, or steadfastly committed to an excellent coping strategy.
The turbulence of 2017 has overshadowed much of what we do as communicators. It’s impossible to achieve effective communication without awareness of the environment you are in (good fortune and charm notwithstanding). However, never before has the climate of our nation seeped so much into our ethos as a communications agency. It’s honestly a new day.
This forecast is our vision of what the future holds. In the past, we’ve provided commentary about shifts in photography, logo design, and marketing strategies. Instead, this year we are going to talk about how what is happening in our society is changing how we work. Our words are joined by the thoughts of industry leaders from across the spectrum. Their voices are here to provide a more in-depth look at how the work of communications is evolving. For their time and contribution, we humbly say: thank you.