New Tech and Thought Leadership

​​In part two of a series on future trends, the CAANZ PR, Social Media and Experiential Committee gives its insights into what 2017 holds for the industry.

VR boon for brands – Mark Pickering, Director & Creative Strategist, Brand Spanking.

It is boom time for the VR industry globally. Samsung, HTC and Sony are all marketing their VR headsets; Facebook’s Oculus Rift is in the mix and taking on early players; and Apple is similarly looking to VR/AR technology. VR is about to explode into the mainstream.

It was everywhere at Cannes last year, as the technology and its potential was showcased to the marcomms industry. The challenge is now with agencies to harness this new technology and bring it to bear for brands, telling stories and creating compelling experiences for consumers.

The broadcast channels are in place, with VR content hosting widely available on numerous social sites, including Facebook and YouTube, as well as traditional media sites, such as The New York Times. Now, your unique piece of immersive VR content has the potential to reach a truly worldwide audience. This means the reach and overall impact of a brand experience can be rapidly extended.

For brands, it’s an incredible opportunity for consumers to immerse themselves in products in a unique and engaging fashion; feeling and experiencing every aspect. Brand experiences are rapidly advancing, and VR is going to be crucial to this evolution. Agencies and brands, both big and small, need to be ready to embrace the future.


Thought leadership as an SEO driver Katharine Broughton, Director, Beat.

It’s hard to pick a stand-out PR trend for 2017. Data, digital, earned media, paid media, influencers and content – none of it is new, yet it’s moving fast and furiously, with PR consistently needing to adapt to the changing world. Where once it was all about gaining earned media exposure in traditional media channels, now content and influencers are the buzz.

With the plethora of content available, companies and brands need to stand out – credibility and authenticity are more important than ever before. And we need to think more about positioning a brand or company as a thought-leader. However, more than ever, that voice has to be credible: people want to connect to a brand and want a leader they can trust. One way to establish this connection is to create content that showcases authority. Lead with unique insights, data and expertise to deliver thought leadership content that is high quality and thought provoking, while positioning you as an industry leader. As your thought leadership grows, monitor your audience, understand what they value, why they trust you and deliver the highest quality content possible.

Develop trust in your brand so that stories emerge from the people inside the company; word of mouth conversations around the water cooler that lead with authority, that resonate across digital platforms. Done well, your thought leadership has the potential to be a new SEO driver.


Content by AI – Gina McKinnon, Director, FUSE A fascinating trend this year is the emergence of AI journalism. Recent technological advances mean that AI can now write readable, flowing copy, and churn out repetitive articles faster than most humans. At the Rio Olympic Games last year, an AI robot produced up to 58 articles per day for a Chinese publication, making it arguably the most prolific AI reporter yet. Companies such as Narrativa and Narrative Science are already using data to create human quality text-based content, and in a not too distant future AI may create content alongside human writers, managed by tech-savvy editors.

Leading organisations such as Deloitte and MasterCard Worldwide are using advanced natural language generation (Advanced NLG) to transform their data into narratives. For these businesses NLG replaces manual analysis and interpretation and communicates insights to their employees and customers.

We’re already seeing a significant shift in the way some New Zealand businesses operate, with a wave of new companies using intelligent software applications to engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. Others, however, are still using traditional segmented marketing and ‘personas’ or rules-based technology, now considered outdated in the new age of machine-learning.

In this new generation of intelligent marketing only the fittest companies will survive by driving growth through personalised responsive engagement and using data to its full potential.