Matter of fact – The Smaller, the Bigger

News, Views & Trends from the World of Public Relations

by Ahmad Itani, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations

Heading an agency requires me to consistently practise new trends and innovations in communication, compounding their use to the experience of their prior counterparts. After all, I was there at the cusp of the digital revolution when social media was still a tool exclusively tailored for entertainment purposes and I can remember the exact moment in my timeline when the influencer movement picked up the pace. I foresaw the change in communication standards and felt them take shape in the way an empath would sense the slightest stir in energy. Any professional in my position needs to be able to identify a trend well before it takes form in order to sustain in this ever-changing and dynamic market.

Today’s defining trend in communication has been leading towards concise content creation. Where
copywriters were celebrated for delivering an idea in a poignant way, those masters of the word will
have to make way for an even more direct and briefer form of communication. The writing, as they
say, has been on the walls for the better part of a decade with services like Twitter having laid the
first building block of the succinctly written path, and Instagram for the visual one: audiences want
their information fast, and the sooner you capture their attention, the better.

Dr Carmen Simon, a cognitive neuroscientist and author, says “the brain is not like a computer; it
is looking to conserve cognitive energy.” In short, it prefers to be inert and to gain as much as it
can with the least possible effort. That is precisely what we need in communication: to convey our
message without taxing our audience. Sell our product without haranguing. Prove a point without
a debate.

Long have we in our industry tried to set guidelines around communication and the way we share
ideas, insistent on arguing and debating its ethics and rules. But with every new trend and with
every new generation, these guidelines become more rigid until they start resembling a barricade
that imprisons us within its confines; we must embrace the fact that times are always changing. We
may act as custodians of communication, but it is not us who are defining the way we talk and the
methodologies we employ. On their smartphones and digital devices, the heralds of the
future, the rising generation, will communicate not with words, but through emoticons.