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

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.

About Rob Flaherty

Rob Flaherty is Chairman of Ketchum, a top-five, global PR firm, and member of Ketchum's 19-member Global Leadership Council that guides the strategy, client service and performance of the agency. Since joining Ketchum in 1989, Flaherty has been involved in all aspects of the firm’s business, including having successfully led its largest office, one of its global practices and several of its largest client engagements. As a client counselor, Rob specializes in corporate positioning and issues management. He has helped companies prepare for and respond to challenging situations ranging from product liability and airline accidents to data breaches and antitrust litigation. He also has played a lead role in growing the firm’s client base. Flaherty became President of the agency in 2008, CEO in 2012 and today, as Chairman, is one of the industry’s most sought-after client counselors. Flaherty was named Global PR Leader of the Year in 2016 by the International Communications Consultancy Organization (ICCO). Follow Rob on Twitter at @flahertyrob.