A lot has happened in 2020 and we thought it would be helpful to share some insights from the public relations industry. Yes, the PR industry has made its way into a new digital era with new strategies and tools, but this past year was punctuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, social movements and activism, and of course – the 2020 US Presidential Election. Simply put, the old way of public relations is gone forever, and professionals must now tackle each challenge with forward thinking ideas.
Here’s our roundup of some PR industry analysis this year that we enjoyed:
“Much has been made of the need for companies to articulate their support for society at this time. And there is no question that PR people are well placed to navigate that specific challenge. But as brands step back from overt selling, their marketing work has come to be heavily focused on making people feel comfortable with the new normal.”
“There is now a freedom to come up with ideas that wouldn’t have been considered earlier this year. Clients are totally re-ordering their priorities. They are looking to PR firms to understand their brand and because we’re fast, we are attuned to the news.”
“With Covid-19, events and outbound sales have had to adjust and make way as companies shift their budgets toward digital. Companies that are doing OK — or better — during this time need to keep their press cycling, and the most effective way to do that is by reaching customers where they are right now: online.”
“Brands are demanding more. Their budgets are being squeezed and they need greater reporting in the form of tangible returns on their investment. This isn’t anything new, but it will invariably accelerate the need for PR practitioners to assume much of the functions more commonly associated with digital agencies (amplification and SEO, for example) in the same way that these agencies have increasingly been introducing a PR element to their service offering.”
“Crisis comms has been extremely challenging this year, and it’s poised to become even more so in 2021,” said Jennifer Granston, who is head of insights at Zignal Labs. “For one thing, the multiple overlapping issues that made crisis communications so hard this year—COVID-19, climate change, social justice and elections—are not going away. But as if that weren’t enough, brands will also be reckoning with issues like vaccination, return to work, economic recovery, policy issues, and a much greater percent of these issues being discussed online versus in traditional outlets. The disinformation crisis will continue, and we will see more sophisticated attempts to undermine the truth and create confusion.”
PR Industry: Where do we go from here?
Anyone that tells you they know what’s coming next for the PR industry is fibbing! Yes, as noted above there are several trends worth paying attention to, but the biggest lesson from 2020 is this: approach corporate communications in a way that’s open-minded and transparent, and be ready to adapt. This ethos is what FischTank PR builds its media relations and marketing programs around, and if you want to talk about how our process gets results – we’re here to listen.