This year, we had ChatGPT, UAW, the meltdown of crypto and conviction of Sam Bankman-Fried, plus epic hijinks in the U.S. House of Representatives, not to mention all those legal headaches for a former POTUS.  

As 2023 rounds out and we gear up for another 365 days around the sun, we’re bracing for more unpredictability and volatility.  

Here’s a look at the issues we’re preparing our clients for in the 12 months ahead: 

Politics. The country is still shaking off the after-effects of 2020, but we’re back at it with another national election cycle in 2024. With chaos reining supreme in the GOP and the Democrats continuing to question President Biden’s viability, the election will continue to dominate the headlines.  

Closer to home in Illinois, the March primary means to hold off expecting on anything substantive happening in Springfield on until later in the spring session to spare vulnerable members from taking difficult votes.  Chicago politics continue to be a hot cauldron of controversy, from the migrant crisis to public safety issues. 

Climate. We’re watching this issue closely for our energy clients. Renewable projects have become the new third-rail in some communities that remain suspect of climate change and leery of international investors in U.S. domestic infrastructure projects. Developers and manufacturers will continue to have to walk a fine line politically to bring their visions to life.  

Labor. Unions scored major victories in 2023. Look for the ripple effects of the UAW stare-down with the top automakers to take shape in other industries, and start to spot employers who were taking notes on “what not to do.”  

AI. Don’t be too quick to ask ChatGPT for the cliff’s notes version. Already, we’re seeing epic takedowns of media titans like Sports Illustrated, Gannett, and too many more to list. 

Look for regulators and business leaders continue to grapple with how to set the guardrails that unlock the potential of this transformative technology while also learning the lessons of past tech leaps that over-indexed on innovation instead of consumer protection. (Looking at you, social media platforms.) 

Institutional (Mis)Trust. In recent years, studies showed customers increasingly expected brands to side with a cause and air their social values. But those audiences are growing more skeptical and more inclined to question corporate causes. If your company is going to take a stand on a substantial environmental or social issue, be prepared to back up what you’re saying with action. As in, walk the walk. Don’t make grand promises without backing them up with proof points. 

Owned Media. For all of the above, it’s harder and harder to get your news out into the ether, and often, just downright risky. Organizations are turning to telling their own stories to reach audiences in a new way.  

We’re certainly seeing that at CBL, with more and more of our clients opting for streaming videos on non-traditional platforms and other owned content platforms to reach targeted audiences who matter to the issues we’re advocating for.  

Bottom line?  

Better rest up over the holidays, because 2024 promises to be another busy, chaotic year.  

This article was written by President Natalie Bauer Luce. Natalie is a seasoned communications and public affairs strategist with extensive experience in government, law, media, politics and business.