The spotlight turns inward: Investing in creative internal communications

In 2024, the spotlight is turning inward for brands and businesses as they look to elevate and enhance their internal communication strategies.

Leaders are acutely aware of the need to cultivate a strong internal culture and are making substantial investments in identifying and fortifying internal programs and initiatives. Their success hinges on a thoughtful approach to rollout strategy. The challenges faced with an internal audience mirror those that marketers face with an external campaign’s audience: capturing attention, driving behaviour change, and fostering genuine interest. Top marketing minds and brand experts are going to be tasked to apply their external campaign strategies internally to captivate and engage employees, especially in the aftermath of the Great Resignation period. 

Expect a surge in creativity across the board; whether it’s a unique and memorable invitation to an upcoming company-wide meeting, a surprising and clever reminder to tune in to a new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) speaker series, or a compelling internal campaign that keeps diligence around cyber security top of mind. As businesses navigate this shift, we’ll also see the desire to create unique visual identities for them. This will be an interesting challenge for designers and brand experts to thoughtfully navigate.

Use video as if you were in 1929

It’s no coincidence that you’re seeing more and more video content. Every entity online is trying to grab your attention. Video is the tool of choice, generously stimulating your senses beyond a simple image or block of text.

Video is on the rise and is likely to explode in popularity with the advent of artificial intelligence. We can create, manipulate, and transform moving images with a simple line of text and a click.

While artificial intelligence shines in its ease and efficiency, it does overshadow the sense of authenticity. Ironically, this phenomenon opens the door to an almost century-old form of broadcasting that is now distinguished by its integrity and veracity: live broadcasting.

There’s something visceral about the idea of witnessing information unfold before our eyes for the first time, simultaneously. This interaction creates a bond of trust, unlike a message that is pre-recorded, definitive and rebroadcast.

Inviting your audience to experience a live event involves risk, spontaneity, and excitement, but it also creates a reciprocal, personal, and memorable bond.

The term “in real time” has never been so meaningful.

The closing of dozens of local newspapers 

The Canadian local news landscape is facing a “perfect storm” that challenges traditional revenue models. Over the past three years, local news publishers have been forced to keep pace with industry and market expectations, transitioning from a pure CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) model to a hybrid of CPM and subscription-based revenue model, which offers tremendous complexities and investment requirements for publishers.

Big Tech giants, like Google and Meta, are adding to these challenges, drawing essential advertising dollars away from local publishers due to their attractive return on investment (ROI) and measurable results. This competition is causing a fundamental change in how advertisers see value in media spending.

The decrease in ad revenue is forcing many local newsrooms to strategically reduce operations, aligning costs with the shrinking revenue base. As the competition for Canadian audiences intensifies, this retrenchment becomes a survival strategy. Unfortunately, the outlook for 2024 suggests a continuation, if not an acceleration, of this trend. The implications are profound: fewer local news sources to cover community-focused stories, a gap that national and global publishers are unlikely to fill, potentially leading to a less informed public on local issues outside of larger urban markets in Canada.

From “girl math” to medical advice: The transformative influence of TikTok on Gen Z and PR practices


Has lingo like “girl math”, “rizz” or “canon events” entered your recent conversations? If you answered yes, the pervasiveness of TikTok clearly isn’t lost on you. Whether you enjoy the platform or not, there’s no denying it’s become the cultural zeitgeist. With one quarter of adult Gen Zers spending over an hour on TikTok daily, it’s changing the mindsets, behaviours, and purchasing decisions of this generation and influencing who they rely on for entertainment and trusted information. It may surprise you to learn that the majority of this cohort relies on TikTok over Google for search queries, including for medical advice.

In 2024, TikTok will continue to gain momentum in its popularity, usage, and influence, and will continue to significantly reshape how PR practitioners have historically defined the influence of traditional “word-of-mouth”. As PR experts, we’ll remain well positioned to counsel our clients on how they can strategically and authentically leverage the platform to reach both Gen Z and millennial demographics, while remaining true to their brand.

Brand ambassadors: Promoting authenticity and trust


Influencer marketing has seen a surge in long-term brand partnerships or brand ambassadors.

Consumers trust influencer recommendations over traditional advertising channels. In fact, 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations over any other form of advertising. Now, more brands recognize the power of this approach and are looking to establish enduring, authentic connections with their audience through ambassadors.

This concept extends beyond one-off campaigns, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between brand and influencer. Brands become a trusted part of an influencer’s content, while influencers maintain authenticity with their audience by consistently endorsing a brand they believe in.

In more practical terms, long-term partnerships can reduce the administrative burden of identifying and negotiating with content creators whose brand alignment is compatible. Brand ambassador programs can also go beyond online content creation. For example, Lululemon boasts a long-standing ambassador program where their local brand ambassadors host events, offer training, and engage with their local community—providing an authentic and local connection to the brand and products.

This trend marks a departure from one-off, transactional partnerships and emphasizes the importance of building trust and credibility over time while satisfying consumers’ desire for authenticity.

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From the shifting social media landscape in Canada to strategic planning, each trend offers valuable perspectives for navigating online interactions in an ever-evolving digital era.