Communication is the foundation of everything. In the professional world, it can make or break a company, a culture, the bank. Sure, the workplace of the future may look considerably different because of technology, but modern marketers continue to recognize that nothing can replace the human – or emotional – touch.
Hard v. Soft Skills: Technology and the Human Touch
It’s no secret that we are slightly biased when we say communication is important. It’s what we do here at 3C Comms. Beyond that, though, the arts and studies of communication, language, connections and relationships among people and brands – these are all critical elements that help a business demonstrate its value, deliver on the bold promises it makes in its marketing messages, and engage or interact more effectively with its target audiences.
As we pored over a recent study released by Cognizant, “21 Jobs of the Future: a guide to getting and staying employed over the next 10 years,” it inspired us to think more deeply about our own industry and the people we serve as communication experts, consultants, and trainers. Moreover, what’s next for our clients and customers?
The question behind the question of whether communication will still be valuable in a post-digital work world is: isn’t communication more about creating dialogue between parties as a means of building and strengthening relationships?
The more we read about technology and its facility to “connect” people with each other, with places, resources, and information on a global scale – instantly – with the simple touch of a screen or click of a button, we can’t help but wonder what the next generation has in store for the workforce. Fortunately, communication skills are widely transferable, if not altogether future-proof.
Here are five key areas to focus on and look out for – communication “industries,” if you will, that we predict will align with as many or more potential career paths in the future if you’re a great communicator…
4 Communication Career Paths of the Future
1. Brand Advocacy
In our vision for the future, Brand Advocacy goes well beyond today’s planting of unpaid or commission-hungry “ambassadors” into key spaces as replacements or augmentation for in-house “community managers” to gain clicks, likes, or in-app purchases. This key communication area will focus instead on earnest nurturing of organic communities that will have evolved from what we now call customer fandom. This path will challenge you to engage directly with the veritable subcultures that share deep affinity and loyalty to global brands.
2. Customer Success
We’re already seeing departments and factions of the same name emerge across a variety of industries, especially in technology where “solutions” has replaced “software” and “programs” in many brands’ lexicons. In the future, the concept and global commitment to customer success will only become more prominent in business over the coming years. Likewise, communication will continue to be an integral part of making customer success work.
3. Storytelling Strategy & Strategic Storytelling
Business storytelling is a hot market right now and getting warmer as leaders acknowledge the importance of story in sharing their brand mission with the world and executing on that mission across digital, physical, and transactional spaces alike. Knowing just what to say, when, and to whom (by focusing on the audience and leading with the benefits) will soon be a fully-integrated function of any business.
4. Forensic Communication
Think of this as a field that specializes in reconciling what was once true with what is now true. Just like with forensic accounting or forensic science, forensic communication will uncover answers to today’s most challenging questions, in part, by examining the past. It’s equal parts “what was the WHOLE story then?” and “what story/stories can be uncovered based on the data we have now?”
Once “going paperless” is an antiquated phrase, which isn’t too far down the road, a forensic communicator can help liaise between old/analog/print messaging and the digital story in front of them. This will be a key function for helping businesses plan future messages for legacy audiences in ways that will preserve and enhance customer trust, loyalty, and ultimately buying behavior.
From where we stand, the future looks bright – full of opportunities and possibilities if you’re an effective communicator.
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