Communication Essentials - Five things you’re going to hear a lot about this year.

In January I posted on LinkedIn five things you’re going to hear a lot about this year. I was going to say ‘get sick of’ this year…but you know how LinkedIn can be. Its sense of humor comes and goes.

But, to that point…it hasn't been that long since that post and I ask you…are you sick of our first topic (Artificial Intelligence) yet?

And to show how trends accelerate in a short time, there are two recent stories that are proving just how important our third topic is. (That was quick, no?). The first is about the Surgeon General’s warning around teens on social. The second is a civil lawsuit against the larger social platforms for their impact on the mental health of youth.

  1. Surgeon General says 13 is ‘too early’ to join social media
  2. Seattle public schools’ lawsuit against media giants like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook faces uncertain legal road

So the picks are off to a good start. But at this rate I may have to update for the second half of the year. See what you think and let me know what I missed. Or maybe you have a guess for what the fifth will be?

  1. Artificial Intelligence. This is an easy one. We ended 2022 talking about ChatGPT, which most definitely sped up the conversation we were all having/going to have anyway. As part of that conversation we have to ask: where do we fit with AI? If it seems inevitable that we will all be using it in some form, how do you approach this as an opportunity v. a threat?
  2. Recession(?). Will there? Won’t there? Will it be a slowcession? Are we worrying about nothing? Are we not worrying enough? Regardless of the answer(s), the fact is enough people are talking about it that we have to keep this on the radar. It won’t be hard to do because we will continue to hear about it, daily. But what can we do and why does that matter? Because if it does happen…or if it doesn’t…your customers need to know why and how they can’t live without you. No, not so you can keep selling. It’s so you don’t have to sell your value beyond the product. This is the opportunity to create separation from competitors and alternative suppliers that want to compete on price or who claim equality when it comes to quality. The value you provide goes far beyond the product in the box – which will go far beyond whatever form a (possible) recession takes.
  3. Sincere social. Part of this is being driven by the fact we understand how social media is used (manipulated?) now. Part of this is tied to the fact that the idea of ‘social’ isn’t going anyway. It’s not dead. It’s just evolved. The good news? We aren’t as consumed with looking a certain way. The bad news? Anything goes.
  4. Personal branding. It’s time to put the personal in personal branding. While companies are gearing up for increased spending on AI technology, it will be more important than ever to stand out as a true resource to customers. This will be challenging to grasp at first as not all organizations see the value that comes with soft skills and intangibles. But the fact is customers are more informed and confident in their ability to ‘buy’ than at any other time – so ‘what’ you are offering is much more than a product. The question is, do you customers know what that is? The harder question is…do you?
  5. TBD. No, this isn’t a placeholder. It’s a reminder that no matter how many I list…or anyone else lists…something is going to come along that we will all be obsessing and talking about. This is less about what that might be…and more about the need to stay flexible while staying focused. It’s almost like you have to live in multiple realities in today’s business environment. We know it’s coming…let’s just make sure we have built a strong enough foundation to sustain whatever IT is.