Welcome to 2022. The Year of Communicating Purposefully.

The year is off to a high-energy start. We have absorbed the predictions and we’re already getting our own feel for how this year will go.

The short story? There is no “back to normal.” If you’re still clinging to that hope, this is as good a time as any to grab the uncertainty by the horns and make something new of it.

What will rule the year?

The top issues concerning the public this year? The predictions tend to agree on a few things: COVID-19 health concerns and uncertainty. Inflation, staff and supply shortages. Climate and extreme weather events. Travel and event cancellations. Continuing progress toward equity. In the U.S., mid-term elections.

Most people around the world, though, are optimistic and expect conditions to improve in 2022. Inspiringly, 75% promised to take action to make things better in their own lives or for those around them.

Everyone tends to agree even our concrete world will keep changing its face. The line dividing the digital world from our offline lives no longer exists. Fashion, restaurants, concerts and currency are among the tangible life experiences that will evolve.

How will consumers respond?

In the face of all this change, consumers are short of patience and demanding to be heard – customer service, and people getting what they think they paid for, will be dealbreakers. That means it’s even more important to communicate clearly about what you’re selling as a sign of respect. “Trust can’t be a communications strategy.

We, the buying public, are looking for feel-good experiences – simple joys, comfortable-yet-stylish clothes, food that tastes good and media that makes us smile. (Our office gift exchange was all over this – blankets, mugs and hot drinks were flying!)

“My story will only move you if you can open up your heart.”

As communicators, we have to consider these expectations. If our audience is worried about gas and grocery prices, but they are looking for a good laugh, we need to give that to them – preferably when they’re not reviewing their credit card bills.

Elizabeth Wathuti proved this with her opening remarks at COP26 in Glasgow last October. She talked about agonizing and “soul-searching” for the right words to stress the urgency of climate change. Then she realized her listeners’ state of mind had everything to do with how her message lands – so she led the entire global climate conference in “a moment of compassionate silence for the billions of people who are not here with us today, whose stories are not being heard and whose suffering is not being felt.”

That moment became a reference point for other speakers throughout the two-week conference.

This is a powerful example of the widespread cognitive bias that challenges us. With humanity and creativity we can overcome it.

Our trend is to boldly connect with audiences’ core desires – with bright colors; clear, simple messages; touchpoints that make recipients feel something.

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Trends and predictions are based on research from Ipsos, Forrester and Qualtrics, and commentary in major news publications… and the observations of our incisive strategic communicators.

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