Red Havas, the global Merged Media micro-network specialized in earned, social and experiential storytelling with content and data at the heart, today released its 2021 “Red Sky Predictions” report. Forecasting 10 fundamental trends that will shape the integrated communications and PR landscape post-pandemic, the report represents the collective insights of expert Red Havas communicators from around the globe.
The predictions span the digital and social media space, healthcare and technology, the workplace and travel, each analyzing the communication challenges and opportunities posed by the global pandemic.
“COVID-19 sent many of trends we forecast in previous editions of Red Sky Predictions into overdrive,” said James Wright, global CEO, Red Havas, and global chairman, Havas PR Global Collective. “In modern times no year has been as disruptive or as clarifying. Last year helped us to see more clearly what matters and what doesn’t. What’s possible, what’s vulnerable, what can’t wait a day longer, and what we all stand to lose, as individuals and professionals. Our goal for our predictions this year is to serve as a playbook for communicators to help make sense of the lessons the pandemic has taught us.”
The 2021 Red Sky Predictions are as follows:
- Contactless communications: Expect the future to remain “phyrtual”—a blend of physical and ever-more-satisfying virtual. Once vaccines have been administered to the masses, we’ll get to cherry-pick the things we liked about the lockdown life—i.e., the ease of virtual baby showers or the perks of our work-from-home arrangement—while we give the others a big kiss goodbye.
- The comeback of community: Pre-pandemic, social media had evolved into a place to primarily consume often meaningless content and hash out political differences, playing a sad and decisive role in the polarized nature of society. Now, in spite of concerns about the implications on free speech, it’s made a return to its original purpose—human connection—and will enjoy a new golden age of conversation and community-building.
- In comes the vaccinfluencer: “Get out and get the vaccine” is the new “Get out and vote” for influencers, as they’re being called upon to help lead society to the other side of a global healthcare crisis. Much like influencers were a force for good in the early days of the pandemic—encouraging people to stay home, wash their hands and thank healthcare workers—“vaccinfluencers” will be expected to demonstrate continued safe behaviors, spread public health information and encourage mass vaccination.
- Short form, long form, new form: As the “traditional” rules of content creation lose relevance due to new and disruptive formats, marketers around the globe will go from prioritizing content length and duration to thinking with end goal and experience in mind. Their focus will turn to how they can frame content to fit different channels and formats without being a slave to the supposed limitations of each. What we should be exploring, for example, are new forms of content such as playable content, tappable content, scrollable content, audible content and shoppable content. In December, for example, Walmart piloted in-app, livestreaming shopping on TikTok.
- The 5G factor: A disruptive leap beyond 4G,5G will transform the digital experiences that marketers can create in the virtual world. Merging the realities of physical and virtual, 5G-enabled mobile technology will enable marketers to create live, lifelike, immersive experiences of concerts, sports events and much more.
- The rise of the empowered employee: Employees have recognized the power of their voice—internally and externally—rebalancing the “employment contract” in a time when public expectations and scrutiny of corporate behavior has never been higher.
- Mental muscle matters: Now that behavioral health is part of the mainstream conversation and the global marketplace, companies will take more responsibility for helping their employees nurture it. Both the media and shareholders will be watching closely because a more than ever a healthy workforce is an effective workforce. Look for more media interest and scrutiny, preventive mental fitness and health initiatives, employee engagement programs and personalized technology solutions.
- Travel light, travel right: Travelers will place greater importance on booking vacations that bring their family together safely. When they do go farther afield, they will choose opportunities to repair, replenish and regenerate local communities and natural environments in the places they visit.
- Brand experience becomes sense-ational: 2021 will be the year when experiential comes to its senses—delivering on the promise of activations that embrace the best of the physical and digital worlds to touch more of the senses at once. While voice will continue to explode, smell and taste will become even more prevalent given touch is a sense that will still be limited for the foreseeable future.
- The genomics generation: Breakthroughs in genomics will allow billions of people to live longer and healthier lives. Beyond pure pharma and healthcare companies, genomics will move into sports and nutrition, food and drink, skincare, activewear and beyond. Investors who understand its power on both personalized medicine and consumer health could well make a fortune in the coming years, as marketers become savvy about how to elevate the conversation to media and brands.
View the predictions in full here.
This year’s report was authored by Red Havas staffers from around the world, including James Wright, global CEO of Red Havas & Global Chairman of Havas PR Global Collective; Linda Descano, executive vice president and head of corporate communications and executive visibility, Red Havas U.S.; Davitha Tiller, executive vice president of social and integration, Red Havas U.S.; Rachael Sansom, managing director of Red Havas London; Stacey Gandler, managing director of Red Havas Health; Richard Clarke, executive director of Red Havas London; Mark Campbell, Red Havas’ global head of content; and Alex Erasmus, Red Havas Australia’s head of strategy. Red Havas Australia.
Redsters Ellen Mallernee Barnes, Georgina Thompson and Shailo Rasanyakam also contributed to the report.