“[This] is the year of power to the people,” says Valerie Di Maria, principal of the communications and marketing firm. “Whether you are an impassioned employee or a socially conscious consumer, internal and external audiences are making their voices heard as never before.”
For the10company, this influence is directly tied to today’s heightened scrutiny of corporations and C-suite politics. “The ways companies and leaders behave — or misbehave — have made major headlines in an unprecedented fashion this past year,” they write.
Here are three main takeaways from their report:
1. A company’s culture doesn’t just matter to employees — it matters to consumers, too.
According to the report, companies need to establish, and then stick by, values that prioritize the needs of consumers and employees.
The Google employee walkout over sexual harassment, for instance, was a key example of how these interests align; it highlighted a workplace culture issue and a company politics one, too. Writes thecompany10, “CEOs and boards are deepening their understanding that culture matters, and bad culture can destroy enterprises, even those with strong revenues and profits.”
By paying attention to the views and interests of employees, though, businesses are also paying attention to customers — who increasingly refuse to patronize companies who don’t stick by their values.
“Consumers are feeling especially empowered, and they are seeking more from companies than products to buy,” reads the report. “Younger customers, in particular, are pushing brands to engage politically and socially on real issues, in ways that are often polarizing.”
2. Social media is changing the way companies communicate internally and externally.
“The business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and external-internal breakdowns on social media are no longer clear,” writes thecompany10, who recommends that companies to shed their preconceptions about how to communicate.
In other words, Facebook Live may not just be for a company looking to reach potential customers — it can be used for an employee town hall, too. And if you’re a business software brand that doesn’t normally consider their product visually interesting, don’t count out Instagram stories as a possible place to advertise, suggests thecompany10.
3. Brands are beginning to over-rely on data and measurement.
Though data and analytics are helpful for brands looking to measure the success of a campaign, they can also be a creative hindrance, reads the report.
According to thecompany10, “Who can say exactly why a video or story goes viral? Companies that are too data dependent run the risk of not taking a chance on the next big thing.”
While it’s necessary to keep track of what is and isn’t playing well on the internet, brands shouldn’t only rely on a single project’s metrics to know what may capture an audience’s attention in the future.
Dean Essner is the editorial assistant for PRSA’s publications.