It is that time of year. A time to reflect on the old and plan for the new. Oftentimes, clients – and consultants – forge ahead thinking about new ways to advance the business, better support employees, and plan for potential pitfalls. However, taking a little time to look back can be helpful in planning for the future and putting the best foot forward in the new year.

For crisis managers, communications professionals, risk assessors, and business leaders past trends may provide a signal for what’s to come in 2018. Will anything from 2017 carry over into 2018? What from 2017 will evolve and pose new challenges in 2018? Here’s a list of three issues that all organizations should keep in mind as 2017 comes to a close. 

A New Political World

President Donald Trump rewrote the book when it comes to a carefully-tongued Commander in Chief. The President is not afraid to say politically unpopular phrases, hurl insults at individuals and organizations, and call out companies and nonprofits. Earlier in the year, APCO recommended some steps to take to prepare for a potential President Trump tweet – this will ring true in 2018 as well. In fact, it is virtually certain that he will stay just as active – if not more active – on Twitter in the new year, posing a risk for many companies and organizations that may be thrust into his spotlight.

An Awakened Public 

For many reasons, we are now operating in a world that has – finally – eschewed hostile work environments, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. This has many implications for companies that will, without a doubt, carry into 2018. Chief among these implications: a need to be prepared and understand how to effectively respond to any complaints of sexual harassment or assault. Every organization must ensure employees understand their policies and every organization must abide by these policies uniformly – no exceptions. Organizations also need to scenario plan and prepare to respond if and when such allegations surface. With a dedicated team that can quickly assess any situation that may arise and decide on how to proceed, organizations will be well suited to respond appropriately and efficiently when needed. 

Facts vs. Fake News

It’s a struggle – how do organizations operate in an environment that is constantly warring over facts, fake news, and conspiracy theories? In 2018, companies will likely continue to play a key role in shaping the public’s perceptions about issues – and facts – that matter. To that end, organizations will have to continue determining when, how, and whether to weigh in on issues. As the 2018 midterms approach and the political environment continues to intensify, companies should intimately understand the issues that matter to their stakeholders and how those expectations impact potential engagement, such as advertainments on specific channels and company communications on certain topics.

One consistent theme throughout each of these issues is that social media is here to stay – and its power is growing. Companies will need to dust off their crisis preparation plans in 2018 and ensure it includes a comprehensive, digital crisis component to effectively manage any crisis that hits in the future.

For more on this subject, please watch the following video:

michael appel
Michael Appel

Michael Appel is an associate director at APCO Worldwide specializing in crisis management and litigation communications. Read More