Brands must take a stand as well as innovate, says Grayling in its six comms themes for 2018

The Bristol office of international PR agency Grayling has unveiled the trends it says every communications professional will need to know this year.

The six themes, which focus on brand values, urban influence, interactive story living and disruptive marketing, were presented to an audience of more than 40 communications and marketing experts from across the region at an exclusive breakfast.

Held at Bristol’s Arnolfini art gallery last week, the gathering delved into the game-changing tech, social media innovations and socio-political shifts driving the #6into18 forecasts. 

It was led by Grayling’s San Francisco-based global head of strategic services Jon Meakin, pictured, who described its #6into18 as a collection of key trends all communicators should embrace in 2018. 

Head of Grayling Bristol Richard Chapman said: “We were thrilled to welcome so many of the South West’s top communicators to our #6into18 event as we explored the six key trends that are driving innovation across the global communications industry. 

“It is crucial we now take a step back and consider how we can best harness these trends and get ahead of the curve in 2018.”

The #6into18 breakfast are:

1.     Take a stand

The lines between business, politics and culture are ever more blurred and organisations can no longer sit on the fence as consumers demand clarity, commitment and action, and diversity is the order of the day.

2.     Urban vision

Marketers focus on global super cities and their fast-growing affluent populations, anchoring their brands in iconic spaces and engaging directly with culturally-savvy audiences that can reach and influence others.

3.     Story time

From advertising serials and Instagram stories to fictional classics and mixed reality experiences, brands are using narratives in new ways to capture attention and build a loyal following.

4.     Test and learn

As the pace of change gets faster, organisations of all sizes assume a start-up mentality and crowdsourced ideas and rapid innovation are the order of the day with live testing and beta operations increasingly normal.

5.     Brand-play

Everything is marketing as smart organisations drive purpose and personality through each customer interaction, delivering the unexpected and turning the mundane into a game to activate and reward customers.

6.     Attention Economy

Platform fatigue and algorithm-driven news stream clutter will see marketers looking for cut-through opportunities in far flung, virgin corners of the internet. From Airbnb to Kickstarter, as long as it accepts content then it’s fair game. 

To learn more about Grayling’s #6into18 trends, visit:

To receive a copy of the presentation, contact Richard Chapman on

Grayling is part of the Huntsworth group of public relations firms. Clients of its Bristol office include Marks & Spencer, Bath Spa University and HSBC.

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