As 2015 draws to a close, Australia's organisations can relax, unwind and then turn their attention to the trends that will define corporate affairs communication in 2016.
While they are often in a constant state of development, Hotwire PR believes there are a range of trends that are likely to be of particular value to businesses in the new year.
Unsurprisingly, there's a continued focus on communication in the virtual world, with social media having well and truly established itself as a platform that organisations can't afford to ignore. Not only are social platforms disrupting conventional communications channels, they're also already replacing other digital alternatives.
The future is digital
Hotwire PR confirmed social media's position as a vital part of any communications strategy. Each of the trends it identified as being important to 2016 have a tie to digital practices, reinforcing the idea that the future of communication remains online.
One of the key trends made possible through digital channels and data analysis is, as Hotwire PR describes it, "the death of the millennial". This demographic, which PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) describes as people born between 1980 and 1990, has been the focus of a range of studies, with many firms believing it embodies different communication preferences to previous generations.
With PwC finding that 41 per cent of these people prefer electronic communication to face-to-face alternatives, many companies have adjusted their strategies to target this demographic accordingly.
However, Hotwire PR's "death of the millennial" means could see organisations refine this focus further. According to the firm, as millennials are a sizeable demographic, one of the key trends in 2016 will involve businesses narrowing their target audiences even further.
The firm is predicting organisations will group target audiences by shared values rather than age or gender.
The power is with the audience
The report also confirmed another trend that has been gaining traction over the past 12 months but will come to the fore in 2016. Now, the audience has just as much power over the content it receives as those who distribute it.
Hotwire PR used the rise of adblock software as a key example of how the public are shaping the content they are exposed to. With this software, people are able to block advertising content on their phones and other devices, meaning many organisations are creating content that is never viewed by the intended recipients.
As technology continues to define the way people interact with communications from organisations, these professionals need to ensure they're reacting effectively, or they run the risk of creating content that is ignored by the target audience.