How societal developments influence your communications approach in 2023

December 19, 2022

Communications is always evolving. Which social trends should you take into account in the coming year? These are six tips from six of the Omnicom PR Group NL specialists:

1. Reputation management: strengthen your reputation with ESG
The reputation builder of the moment is of course ESG (environment, social and governance). “Doing good for the world has never had such a positive impact on a company’s financial results,” says Business Director Reputation Management, Marjolein Rigter. “It is therefore important to make an effort in the field of ESG and demonstrate it. This is an opportunity you should not miss. But,” she adds, “vague long-term promises, on the other hand, represent a major reputational risk. The same applies to the use of ESG terms, such as zero-emission and carbon neutral, where the meaning or definition isn’t clear. NGOs, the Advertising Code Committee and activist stakeholders are alert to this and address companies publicly.”

Doing good for the world has never had such a positive impact on a company’s financial results.

Marjolein Rigter

2. Employee engagement: invest in a strong company culture
In view of the glaring staff shortage, it is now a challenge for companies to not only attract staff, but also to retain them. “What makes this even more difficult is that, partly due to COVID, we have increasingly started working remotely,” says Business Director and Head of Employee Engagement & Change, Nathalie Soeteman. “Because employees see and speak to their colleagues less often, they feel less connected to the company they work for. This is especially true for people who started a new job during the pandemic. That is why it is crucial to invest in a strong corporate identity and to ensure that employees feel connected to the company culture.” This also applies if the recession continues: “Increasing work pressure and greater job insecurity can negatively affect employee productivity and engagement. Right now it is therefore important that employees feel at home at work and feel connected to the cultural values of the organization they work for.”

3. Creative strategy: data loses to authenticity
In recent years, data has become an increasingly important basis for the creative strategy within marketing and communications. As a result, there was inadvertently an increasing focus on short-term results. Because of this short-termism, there was less and less room to work on the long-term reputation of the organization. But there is a tipping point. More and more organizations strengthen their reputation by clearly communicating their view of and commitment to society. “Authenticity used to be a form of communication, but now it is a condition to bind new generations to you,” says Creative Strategy Director, Joost van Liemt. “Not data, but the societal point of view that the organization takes is now the basis for the creative strategy.”

Authenticity used to be a form of communication, but now it is a condition to bind new generations to you.

Joost van Liemt

4. Public affairs: no sustainability, no influence
No matter how distinctive you are in the field of marketing and communications, if sustainability is not part of your policy, you will get nowhere in 2023. Climate action is more urgent than ever. Companies are therefore increasingly judged on the environmental impact they have. “A company that only thinks about its profit will no longer enter The Hague and risks its position of influence,” says Business Director Public Affairs, Jacques Bettelheim. “By taking sustainable steps as a company, you actually increase your influence.”

5. Social & digital strategy: a new way of social media participation
As an organization or leader on social media, you cannot ignore current societal challenges, such as the climate crisis and inflation, if you want to remain credible, relevant and in contact with your target group. “After years of overload of commercial content, users need a different, more human and authentic sound,” says Head of Social, Digital and Innovation, Chéline Ruhof-de Vries. According to her, this need for authenticity is also reflected in the success of the app BeReal, which asks you at an unexpected moment to take an ‘honest’ photo with your back and front camera at the same time. “More platforms and users will adopt the BeReal feature in 2023,” predicts Ruhof-de Vries. The new social media app is already being used by 30 percent of young people in the Netherlands and Instagram is currently working on its own variant, called IG Candid. “A name that, as far as I’m concerned, refers to what BeReal’s approach also offers, namely candid camera fun,” says Ruhof-de Vries. “After all, we all look for entertainment and distraction as soon as we open our social media apps.”

6. Health industry: reputation of healthcare is under a magnifying glass
It’s not news to anyone that healthcare systems and companies are under pressure. There is a threat of shortage of medicines and personnel in the sector and there is the constant threat of a new pandemic. How do we ensure that healthcare remains good and accessible in the future? This is a question that preoccupies healthcare leaders on a daily basis. “Not only them, but also politicians and journalists, who are looking more critically at how healthcare companies fulfill their role,” says Business Director Health & Wellness, Daniëlle Friskes. “It is therefore more important than ever that healthcare institutions have their communication to the various stakeholders in place and can tell a good story to the media.”


Reach out to our team for tailored advice on how these trends can be applied to your business.


2023 Social & Digital communication trends in Europe

What are the eight Social & Digital communication trends for 2023 and how can they be used by brands? Check out this trend report created by the Social & Digital leadership team from our Omnicom PR Group network across Europe.

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80 major brands in the Netherlands are failing to meet key consumer expectations. To remain relevant, brands need to show more of what they actually do for our society and the climate. This is evident according to Omnicom PR Group’s Authenticity Gap research presented today.