Back to the Future...2020 already!

With Christmas lights flickering on almost every street and mince pies offered with your morning coffee, we are fast approaching the end of 2019, and indeed the end of the decade.

Even saying '2020' feels futuristic, like it’s not actually next January but sometime far into the future where we are all flitting around like the Jetsons. However, with so many industries disrupted, and technology taking us to both exciting, and at times daunting new places, a new decade is indeed upon us. Creating engaging communications is all about staying relevant to an ever evolving audience, so keeping an eye on current and future trends is important to the team here at Firehouse….as times they are a changing!

So, as we wish you a happy festive period and send you our best for the new decade, we thought we’d share some trends and behaviours we feel will have an impact on internal communications in the year to come…

Creativity is key

Gen Zeders are the most creatively savvy generation to date, having been exposed to multiple social media, digital creative tools and online platforms. As a society, the way we receive information has evolved and our use of these platforms has changed our expectations of user generated content – production values are high, even for the amateur creator. As a society, we have become accustomed to receiving information dynamically, in short sharp bursts with a single core message. While it may look easy, in reality there is more to it than meets the eye. Don’t be fooled by thinking a selfie stick and an iPhone will cut the mustard.

Empowering colleagues to use their personality, creativity and enthusiasm to help communicate information, values, purpose through storytelling is a very powerful tool. Peer to peer interaction when produced in the right way creates compelling content that people want to watch rather than have to watch. Quality is still important, and we all know the downfalls of user generated footage, but there are techniques which enable the amateur bar to be raised while still retaining the ‘home grown’ feel.

We’ll be talking about the company vlogger in our next article.


Do you follow a thought leader? Perhaps there is someone on social media whose content you watch, as their opinion matters. Take note of what inspires you and why. While there will always be a focus on top down communications, you may also have a need for a strategy from the ground up. A culture of success is one where all members of staff feel valued and heard. Do you have a distinctive way of delivering key messages to a diverse workplace, could you implement an ‘influencer’ strategy to better engage?

Keep it Human

Technology maybe moving forward at the speed of light, but no one likes to feel like they are communicating with a robot. So how do you create a connection between what you need to communicate and what will be meaningful to your audience? To understand this, we must first look at how connection works. Emotional connection that is. Brene Brown puts it beautifully: ‘I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.’

You need to connect with your audience on an emotional level, to ensure that your message resonates with who you are speaking to. That’s where good storytelling comes in. Facts and figures deliver rational information, but by attaching emotion, we create content that will ‘stick’ in the hearts and minds of our audience.

Less noise, more impact

When creating content of any kind, it’s important to look at its purpose. As a general rule it’s good to look at the information you are trying to communicate and make sure you have a balanced way of delivering it. A quick way to do this is to follow the 4 rules of engagement: defining the purpose of what you are trying to create.

Is it your aim to educate, inspire, entertain or inform? Using these simple rules as an anchor will help you to create balanced content to keep your audience engaged.

On the run

It’s important to remember that mobile is where most people access internal social media platforms such as Workplace, Yammer and other sites, so a few practical tips:

  • Have you included subtitles, in case there are those who want to watch it on the bus? Or on the shop floor?

  • Can you make your content episodic – short, sharp and often is best.

  • Have your created consistency with the style of delivery?

If you’d like to advice on how to creatively deliver your message in 2020, the team at Firehouse would love to talk.

Until then, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.