Flow Communications

As a communications professional, with a responsibility to keep my finger (or a whole hand, depending on the day) on the pulse of the ever-changing communications landscape, I monitor the ways that audiences consume content.

In the past year, I have also witnessed a shift among corporate professionals in my field in how they approach content development. It is quite interesting to see how emerging technology trends are turbocharging our work processes.

In terms of insights, this is what I have to share from both a personal and professional perspective as a content specialist at Flow Communications ...

The evolving role of writers in the AI era

There is a shift in the way copy is written for marketing or communications. Traditional mastery of words is now being augmented – and in some cases, overshadowed – by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

There’s an undeniable sense of apprehension among some businesses and writers, stemming from the concern that AI might render human creativity obsolete.

However, I welcome the demise of the writer’s traditional approach to content and embrace this evolutionary leap for humankind. This technology, rather than diminishing the value of human creativity, is proving to be a new canvas for content exploration and experimentation.

At Flow, we have the opportunity to engage with AI, which often helps us to get into our writing groove.

AI, however, still has a long way to go in matching the nuanced, clever writing that comes from human imagination.

Video content can extend audience reach

There’s a growing necessity for clients to invest more in video content, especially to captivate and engage younger audiences. For the sake of this discussion, let’s set aside the constraints of mobile data costs and focus on the immense potential of video in delivering substantial messages to the youth.

My professional journey recently took me to KwaZulu-Natal, where I had the honour of documenting the life and work of a grass mat weaver, Gogo Jetty Zulu, for a book for the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, a Flow client. Gogo Jetty is a custodian of indigenous knowledge, who dedicates her time to teaching the art of ukuluka (grass mat weaving) to the younger generation in her community.

For this printed book project to reach a wider audience, however, I believe it would benefit from harnessing digital media, specifically mini-documentaries. Capturing Gogo Jetty’s work in video format would preserve her indigenous knowledge and make it much more flexible and accessible for today’s tech-savvy youth.

Shifts in communications channels

Platforms specialising in video, such as TikTok, have become dominant communications channels, especially among younger audiences.

There’s also growing demand for content that’s directly relevant and beneficial to the audience’s lives. People are seeking tangible rewards and engagements, like competitions and giveaways, which offer immediate value for spending time with your content.

Further, there’s increasing appreciation for platforms that allow for honest, unfiltered opinions, as seen in the popularity of podcasts like Virtual Mkhukhu, Podcast and Chill with MacG, and the Penuel Show. These platforms not only provide entertainment but also make room for meaningful discussions on current affairs, inviting participation from anyone, no matter how unpopular their opinions might be.

The year ahead: anticipations and trends

Looking forward to 2024, I’m excited about a couple of things:

  • AI growth: the evolution of AI is fascinating. Large language model applications and natural language processing platforms such as ChatGPT and Google Bard have expanded from simply processing text prompts to assisting with visual data, revolutionising how we use information for creative expression. For instance, imagine you’re visiting Sandton and snap a photo of the iconic Nelson Mandela statue. Prior to 2023, you’d be quite content with just posting it with the #SandtonCity hashtag and calling it a day. But now, AI allows you to show off a bit more. The AI can not only identify good old Madiba but also provide additional information about the statue’s history, significance, the artist and maybe even gossip about what uTata was thinking in that statue pose

  • Rogue mode in gaming: more and more, games are embracing rogue mode, encouraging players to explore beyond the main storyline. This trend unlocks a new door of possibilities when it comes to gaming quests, and I’m keen to see how it impacts gaming narratives and player engagement. At Flow we have begun experimenting with gamification elements to increase engagement with client content

comments powered by Disqus