2021 Public Relations Trends and Strategies to Watch After the Pandemic
In his book Crystallizing Public Opinion, Edward Bernays proposed the idea of two-way communication between brands and the general public. Did he have any idea how this idea would evolve to cause such a seismic shift in public relations and marketing strategies?
The audience's ability to express themselves was severely constrained by traditional media channels including radio, television, and print. Brands were able to get their messages across without having to worry about what the general population thought.
As time went on, new ways for audiences to interact with media emerged, including the internet as a new means of communication. A century later, though, Bernays' two-way communication had become a reality.
The new millennium's technology gives the general population a loud voice. It's simple and fast to bring up customer service issues via emails, phone calls, messages, and chatbots. Sending an email makes it easy for both sides to communicate. Think about how long it would take to get an answer if this were a postal letter.
Modern public relations techniques allow customers to express their feelings. Individuals can use social media to provide feedback. Brands work with their most passionate and outspoken customers to improve their goods by making them more user-centric.
What changes have you seen in public relations during the last year? In numerous ways. But what have we gained if not knowledge? Working from home has become the norm for many people. Companies are realizing that their online presence is the most important factor in attracting new clients. Everything has changed.
Now, instead of providing any material, you must produce the finest content possible in order to keep up with (or surpass) the competition. Now that everything can be sold online, digital marketing and virtual representation have become the primary means by which brands promote themselves to customers.
Public relations businesses should keep these six PR trends in mind when they design a digital marketing strategy for 2021.
While companies should still aim to be at the top of consumers' minds with their PR campaigns, staying relevant has become even more critical in today's market. It's imperative that every piece of PR content connects to today's hot topics and cultural mindset.
Briefly stated: Don't be deaf to subtle cues.
Although the term "cancel culture" has become overused in today's business world, it still applies to public relations. Every business and brand must be culturally relevant, which involves keeping up with current events and incorporating cultural values into the way your firm is portrayed online. Consumers are increasingly choosing companies that share their values and do good work, according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young. Focus on what you can offer and how you fit into the global story rather than letting your firm fall behind. This includes everything from personal to business decisions, as well as brands and corporations as well as individual leaders.
Personal branding is more crucial than ever before because it is the initial point of contact for consumers, prospects, and coworkers alike. People want to be able to meet face-to-face with each other during a pandemic.
Every business owner and CEO must have an online presence in the same way that the firm as a whole does. Here's why: it's your company's footprint, and it reveals the human side of your brand.
To be a digital leader, you must cultivate connections online. This involves developing a personal brand with which people can engage on a variety of online channels. When a company's team of leaders is continuously visible online and provides useful content to the industry, it will thrive even more.
Customers are more curious about the people behind the brands they deal with, especially when in-person interactions become increasingly rare. This entails emphasizing open and transparent values, social efforts, and customer concerns.
Customers are more likely to look for your brand when you teach them how to build it and keep it consistent across all platforms. Press releases will be less important in 2021 when it comes to public relations. Public relations strategy now necessitates a comprehensive view of a business, spanning everything from social media marketing to classic PR strategies.
PR relies on branding since it serves as a proactive defense against damage to a company's reputation. The "cancel culture" phenomenon affects brands in particular, as we've already discussed. A company's distinctive traits, principles, and employees can be showcased in PR campaigns to help build strong branding.
Practically speaking, this facilitates connection with the media, especially journalists who frequently conduct web research on companies before writing about them. If your branding is powerful and your message is consistent across all channels, the media will be more likely to cover it.
Sponsored content and influencer marketing might act as "evangelists" for your company. These B2B influencers will help your company reach the relevant customers. PR strategies in 2021 will place less emphasis on marketing to a broad audience and more emphasis on marketing to a narrower segment of the population.
Increasingly, customers rely on word-of-mouth recommendations when making purchases. Because influencers may be trusted by their audiences, influencer marketing is the greatest method to adapt PR strategies to this new worldview.
In this case, thought leadership is crucial since it raises awareness of your brand or business and fosters relationships. Connecting with a thought leader in your industry and implementing an influencer marketing strategy will raise brand recognition and enhance your brand's trustworthiness even if the thought leader is not employed by your firm.
In 2021, establishing relationships with the media will be less important than cultivating relationships with other players in your market.
Companies must change their traditional PR methods because the old ones no longer work. It's a digital-first world when it comes to marketing, and organizations can reach the correct audience by "meeting" them in different ways.
Instead of relying just on the media, brands must create digital experiences that meet their stakeholders where they are, because stakeholders exist and interact in a variety of ways (depending on who you ask). Press releases and social media posts would be sent to the media by traditional PR strategists in the hopes of gaining attention. In order to be a successful public relations strategist, you must go beyond the media and connect with your audience on the platforms they already use.
It might be advertisements, podcasts, infographics, remote summits, Twitter discussions, or even Clubhouse rooms, depending on how the experience is delivered digitally.
While companies and brands attempt to generate thought leadership and a strong digital presence, they're also constructing a message that helps them attract the top employees in their field.
Stephanie Chavez, our CMO, has seen a tendency among clients: they want to attract and retain the best personnel.
Does this have any bearing on 2021 PR strategy? People, on the other hand, want to work for the greatest companies, the ones with well-known executives, the ones that are revolutionizing their field. Brand messages must show top talent that the organization is where they want to be in order to attract them. Successful brand positioning brings in customers as well as other industry players, thus it's a logical effect of PR or good PR (and potential talent to acquire).
We're more aware of our surroundings now that we're in 2020. As a result, people are more attuned to the nuances of daily life, society, and the natural world. According to EY, 67% of customers would consider social responsibility while making a purchase. Brands that show a commitment to health, the environment, or the community will appeal to customers.
Consumers favor brands that are honest and authentic, according to EY's findings.
People are also making the switch to shopping at small, independently owned businesses rather than big box stores. Brands that share people's beliefs and ethics have a stronger emotional bond with them. After the 'Black Lives Matter Movement,' brands must be mission-driven and ethical.
Sixty-six percent of consumers feel that protests and other activities will influence brands to take a position on social issues.
Is it important to you to put your efforts into environmental, social, and ethical causes in order to succeed in your public relations campaign?
Instagram Reels, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and Pinterest have all seen a surge in popularity among the general population, spurring PR agencies to take an interest in them. Bite-sized content is more popular on these platforms than long-form content.
Brands gain a foothold in the hearts of their target audience by posting short videos on platforms like Reels and Tik Tok.
Pinterest users love quick DIY projects, fashion advice, and tasty recipes, so it's no surprise that these topics are popular. These soundbites are well-received by the audience because they are short and sweet.
However, Kristin Johnson, VP of Sprout Social's content and communications, proposes that you take a break from using social media to promote your products and companies. Your users are already inundated with important information. In this way, an advertising approach may deter them.
Instead, engage your audience in natural conversations and genuine interactions. Allow yourself to be listened to on social media and stop yelling at people. In the year 2021, empathic listening and value-based dialogues may be the most important parts of your public relations approach.
Podcasts have been running strong for a few years now. Podcasts are no longer the exclusive domain of major media, companies, or corporations, thanks to the availability of free platforms and live sessions.
A study conducted by Edison, a media research firm, found a YoY increase of 16 percent in podcast listeners. Podcast listeners increased from 23 million in 2019 to 27 million in 2020, thanks to the popularity of smart speakers.
Gamification and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) have had a significant impact on public relations. Everyone likes gamified stuff. Your customers adore AR and VR material that has been digitally boosted for their viewing pleasure. All because they're enjoyable to see and keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
'Try and purchase' features are big business for many cosmetics retailers. Furniture, furnishing, and home décor companies like IKEA have augmented reality (AR) apps that allow customers to see their products in their homes.
Similarly, 84% of customers have made purchases after watching promotional movies. While verbose content bores the zing-crazy audience, videos hold them captive.
In 2020, government contact tracking with personal data will be standard practice. There would be far less secrecy between customers and brands if they didn't hesitate to divulge their location and other demographic information. According to EY, 53% of customers are willing to share their personal data with healthcare providers in order to locate infection hotspots.
Businesses have a better opportunity of interacting with customers now that data sharing is more open and transparent. As a result, web analytics would take center stage, with conversion and sales serving as the primary KPI objectives. On the other hand, openness necessitates stewardship of the data. Personalizing the shopping experience for your customers is more important than spamming them with irrelevant adverts. Are you ready to use the data in the proper way?
A pandemic in 2020 will cause a recession despite marketers' faith in influencer marketing's improved return on investment (ROI). Celebrities and influencers are expensive, and with the pipeline drying up due to the shutdown, brands were unable to incur large sums.
Take advantage of micro- and nano-influencers while they're still in your favor. Falsehood is a major issue that has pushed grandstanding to the background. A brand's right image is brought out via Brandstanding, which is subtle but effective.
Compared to celebrities, regular bloggers and social heroes with a tiny following base can generate greater engagement. 82% of your audience is engaged with micro-influencers. A 7x increase in engagement should be enough to get you interested in connecting with emerging micro-influencers.
Authentic and niche influencers have a better chance of being found now that social media sites are keeping an eye out for phony ones.
In 2021 PR will be required to lead organizations to demonstrate authenticity, contribute to articulating and expressing the mission of organizations, and then convey this to the internal and external publics. Customer playbook driven by purpose must be adopted to show actual intent.
Agencies must come up with a focused PR approach to deliver value for money to their clients by changing the media landscape dramatically and changing news consumption patterns quickly. Because ROI in Public Relations services is not easily quantified and budgets are strict, a focused PR plan will help both sides win. To have a focused PR strategy indicates two things: focusing on thinking leadership and experience in each subject and/or focusing on any campaign and media coverage.
After all, PR is about linking people with brands by telling stories, so we must adjust the tale to reflect what people want and what they need! This suggests that an emphasis on brand or corporate values is an intense trend in 2021 PR (and meaningful actions that align with those values).
It is known as the "Modern PR Guide." Modern P Relationships are no more characterized by a brazenly advocating the generation of a building block for a brand, event or product. Efficient PR today is built on trust and supported by truly outstanding content.