Written by Alex Knight 

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!”

This is simply one of the best and most delightfully quotable quotes in movie history, but looking at quotes and films like this can reveal more than one might think.

As we all know, there are lots of obvious changes taking hold of communications. Print is in decline, there is the rise of social, the ever growing influence of influencers, the importance of image based communications – particularly for the younger generations, the rise of bots and automation, and even the popularisation of live broadcasting. Channels are definitely changing.

Recently I attended an event around the corner in Old Street put on by Glug Events. The theme of the evening was trends in the creative industries and I’ve been mulling over some of what was said.

One point which resonated particularly with me is that the speed at which trends develop will only get faster. Better connectivity means things catch on quicker. Brands are under more pressure to make a connection more quickly and effectively with their audiences.

For this reason, brands need foresight. Failing to notice trends essentially means you won’t be prepared for the future.

Yet, it’s more difficult to predict what might catch on – the sheer pace of technological advancement is seeing to that! Brands need to look at the bigger picture. Take a step back and look more deeply at the underlying causes for a trend.

This can help us to figure out where things are heading.

For example, looking at classic sci-fi films like Back to the Future can in fact be a very revealing method of analysing the popular ambitions and anxieties of society. In the 60s and 70s, films such as 2001 A Space Oddity and Star Wars reveal a trend whereby people were obsessed with space travel, something which can be attributed to the Cold War’s space race.

With this came the start of an obsession with things like futuristic vehicles, robots and holograms you could hold in your hand – with this information you might have predicted the electric car, Amazon’s Echo or the iPhone.

Think beyond the obvious. Take a step back and look at the bigger narratives which inform you about what direction society is moving. What do people want? What do businesses need? What is driving those changes?

From a comms perspective, the type of information and the way we are receiving it is changing rapidly, so businesses need to try and make predictions into what channels are going to be most effective down the line.

“Influencers? Where we’re going we don’t need influencers!” Unlikely. But food for thought!

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