For the past two decades, we’ve issued a set of trends that we think will be important in the upcoming year. We also like to take a look back at the end of the year to see how we did so that we can refine our process and enhance our accuracy.
With that said, we’ve included the headline for each trend and then provide an overview of how how we think we did for 20222.
- Supply chain issues will be at the forefront of corporate communications. We said that the state of the nation’s supply chain would continue to receive coverage, until it becomes more reliable – and that’s true. Supply chain continued to be an issue in 2022 but it did not dominate the news as much as it did the prior year. Grade: B.
- Infrastructure investments and smart cities will spur sustainable tech. We based this prediction on the expectation that the infrastructure bill would pass in Congress, which it did. The infrastructure bill is spurring electric vehicles (EV) but there’s a lot to be done here so we’d say that prediction was ahead of its time. Grade: C.
- More data and bandwidth will help healthcare, but fitness trackers may not. We think this is true but it was not a big story in 2022. Grade: C.
- Cybersecurity will continue to dominate the media as companies search for solutions. Cybersecurity continues to be a big issue but it did not generate as much business coverage as the prior year. It’s still important but we look at media coverage as validation for our predictions. Grade: C.
- Covid uncertainty amplifies credibility crisis. Unfortunately, this was true — whether there was media coverage of this or not. Credibility is a big issue on the post-Elon Twitter, for example. Grade: A.
- Consumer Price Index and inflation will get a lot of attention. It certainly did. This was a major story trend this year. Grade: A+.
- Because it’s an election year, the media will pay attention to the two Americas separated racially, economically, politically and by access to opportunities and Unfortunately, the increasing polarization of the American people will be something affecting the country for the next few years. Grade: A.
- Big Tech, particularly social media, will continue to relied upon and hated. The fate of Twitter, Meta and the Metaverse, and Section 230, which limits social media platforms’ exposure as platforms — all were big news this year. And will continue to be next year. Grade: A.
- Infrastructure and 5G will be important topics in 2022. We apparently had two predictions about infrastructure for 2022. Infrastructure and 5G will continue to be important but they did not dominate business media coverage in 2022. Grade: C.
- Business magazines will publish fewer print issues. We said, “This won’t get much coverage but PR and marketing functions need to be aware that there will be fewer print issues of major business magazines. Not long ago, new issues might hit before you had a chance to finish the previous issue. Now, there so much time between some issues, you might think your subscription expired to Forbes (used to publish 26 issues, now six), Fortune (24, now 14), Fast Company and (12, now six each) or Bloomberg Businessweek (50, now 45).” We got this right as an issue for PR and journalism even as it didn’t generate any coverage. Grade: B.
- Companies need to evaluate their technology, including security, and real estate needs. This prediction was making the point that hybrid workers were changing office technology requirements and real estate needs. Got this right. Grade: A.
- HR will be seen as a competitive advantage. Employment and workplace trends were absolutely a big story in 2022. And will be in 2023. Grade: A.
- Future of money is increasingly cashless: We said that, “reporters are more likely covering … finance topics including crypto, blockchain, NFTs and FinTechs — even though we think most readers won’t fully understand blockchain and NFTs (us included).” We were totally right about that. Each issue of business publications like Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune and Wired seemed to include an article about those topics, and that was before the FTX meltdown. We also saw an article in early Nov. that looked at the implications of going cashless by looking at a New York City ice cream retailer. This will continue to be a story in 2023. Grade: A+.
- Smart homes devices will finally be able to communicate with devices from other manufacturers. We’re not giving up on this but it was another ahead-of-its-time prediction. Grade: C.
- Electric cars still have a way to go. Actually, we just saw some articles that claimed EVs are going mainstream. We did say, “there aren’t even enough EV charging stations in most cities. It will also be a problem given the current shortage of automotive semiconductors because we will certainly need more of them.” In particular, the Wall St. Journal covered EVs fairly closely. Grade: B.
- Getting around cities will be slower, more complicated. True but we didn’t see much media coverage of this.
- Space will seem a bit further in 2022. This was true until the launch in mid-November of the Artemis 1. So we were wrong about this. Grade: D.
- Automation and robots will be more visible. More visible but not necessarily more business media coverage. Grade: C.
So we did not do so well in 2022. A lot of the trends we identified were ahead of there time, and we expect them to hit over the next few years.
We will issue our annual trends and predictions for 2023 in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.