Trends 2017: The New Normal Is That There Isn’t One

December 19, 2016

trends-final-heroimageIt’s human nature to expect things to stay the same – it’s how our brains cope with complexity. But 2016 showed how faulty that assumption can be, with shift after tectonic shift in how the world is. And not just in the political sphere. The world saw transformational change taking place in sectors as diverse as technology, automotive, food, healthcare, retail and sports.

It will certainly drive change in our own industry. Annual business planning cycles and weekly news cycles are hurtling toward obsolescence. And the conventional ways of engaging target buyers – whether consumer or employee – evolved and will continue to.

If there is a new normal for 2017, it’s that there is no normal. We are being challenged to rethink many of the basic norms on which we operate.

To offer a few guideposts for this unpredictable journey, Ketchum tapped the wisdom of our crowds — across our global network of offices, our expertise leaders in over 30 subject areas and the entrepreneurial young millennial students who make up our Mindfire network.

Where we landed is what you will see on the following pages: the top 17 trends for 2017.

I hope you’ll find our guide not only thought provoking, but action provoking. Because it’s much more interesting to lead change than to just be on the receiving end of it.

Whether these predictions are spot on or not, change is certain to continue and as a result we all have a lot to look forward to in the year ahead.

And if you haven’t seen it, I also invite you take a moment to look back at some of our favorite Ketchum moments from 2016 in our Year in Review Photo Board.

Rob Flaherty is Chairman of Ketchum, the global communications consultancy with 130 offices and affiliates worldwide. He is on the board of the Arthur W. Page Society, the Institute for Public Relations and the advisory board of Room to Read, which focuses on literacy and girls education in developing nations. Follow Rob on Twitter at @flahertyrob.