STEM PR predictions for 2024 | Stone Junction



“I think we’ll see continued growth in user-generated content and owned media,” said head of content, Zafar Jamati. “Podcasting for example, is increasingly popular among B2B organisations because it offers another avenue with which to reach their customer bases. Instead of stopping what they are doing to read an article in a magazine, busy executives can listen to a deep dive into a specific area of their industry while commuting or folding laundry.

“In addition, platforms like Substack give companies added freedom to create content that’s not beholden to the editorial threshold of traditional media, i.e. considered newsworthy. Substack gives organisations the opportunity to provide content that’s too niche for mainstream media, but can deliver real value to the reader.

“However, while consumers appreciate the authenticity that owned media provides, it must not come at a cost to credibility. Consumers still want content they can trust, which is journalistically led and abides by all the industry regulations,” added Jamati. “Traditional media remains the best source of reliable, credible information and user-generated content should sit harmoniously alongside it, not replace it.”

Social media sites are growing in popularity as search engines. According to Search Engine Journal, 40 per cent of Gen-Z prefers searching on TikTok or Instagram over Google and 83 per cent of Instagram users say it helps them discover new products and services.

While that might not seem immediately relevant to the B2B world, we’re likely to see the trend spreading to other platforms, such as LinkedIn, with users searching for articles, content and insight there instead of using a search engine. Maximise your brand’s reach by making sure your content is optimised and searchable for on those platforms.

“People are growing tired of pristine, polished content from brands,” said Courtney Cowperthwaite, account director at Stone Junction. “More and more, consumers want to see real life on their media feeds rather than photoshopped, unattainable ideals. This is especially true now that so many of us are reading AI generated content, sometimes unknowingly. Many social media users prefer rough and ready insights from real people they feel they can trust.”

Reflecting the way they use social media in their personal lives, younger consumers increasingly appreciate honesty, authenticity and transparency from the brands they interact with. Ryanair’s Instagram is a great example. By making funny videos about common complaints, the low-cost airline has turned its shortcomings into a widely shared marketing campaign.

“Using people as brand figureheads — Ryanair superimposes eyes and a mouth on the front of its aeroplanes in Instagram videos — rather than products can help companies align with this sentiment,” added Cowperthwaite. “These content heroes can help users connect with a brand more closely.”

“In the last few years there’s been a focus in quiet luxury and elegance in execution, like Burberry’s new trimmed back, serif logo,” said Tom Fallows, mid weight graphic designer at Stone Junction. “But I think now we’re moving towards a period of loud expressionism, where people want to go big, bold, rough and strong. You see this in product photography, which often involves louder, more expressive shots compared to simpler images of a product on a pedestal with a plain background.

“Society often moves in overcorrections, and this expressionism might be a response to the growing use of AI tools. Would AI ever produce something with a blemish unless instructed to? And if it did, would it be a blemish or a purposeful decision? Now, it seems that the way to differentiate yourself is with authenticity, not perfection.

“Of course, AI is a very useful tool,” continued Fallows. “It could be perfect for stock imagery, for example, where users would benefit hugely from the ability to generate the exact kind of (generic) image they want.

“But as with all tools, AI needs to be directed by a trained and learned hand. Without human creativity and the ideas for why you are executing something in a particular way in the first place, you might not get the results you’re looking for.”

Looking to future-proof your brand? Get in touch with one of the experts from this article at, or or visit for more information.


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