“The only constant in life is change” – a quote from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus that I don’t think anyone could disagree with, especially after the past couple of years which have involved what feels like a decade of changes within a short space of time.
There has been significant forced change for a lot of industries through the pandemic, which has required many to adapt their way of working and in some circumstances pivot their offering to survive. Some manufacturers that typically produced aeroplane parts turned to making ventilators for hospitals to suit where the demand was placed, pubs and restaurants began offering a takeaway service that they didn’t previously, PT’s moved their coaching and workouts online and the list goes on.
But what changes and trends has the PR industry seen?
The rise of empathy and authenticity
Audiences today gravitate more towards brands that offer considerate, valuable and meaningful communications. An example of a brand that has been successful at captivating its audience with an authentic voice is Brewdog. It recently celebrated the launch of its world’s only carbon negative larger by offering everyone in the UK a free 4 pack of the new larger, also promising to plant one extra tree for each pack claimed. Brewdog creatively spread this message through its social feeds with a post that started: ‘2021 sucks so far’ and shared a video providing a clear and authentic explanation behind its goals of this launch, a clever and raw way of promoting its product, communicating its message and getting across its core values as a company.
Finding new ways of communicating
Get creative – while there is so much information readily available to audiences its even more important that organisations allow themselves to stand out from the crowd. During the pandemic, physical events were made impossible which saw organisations get creative with webinars, online events, videos and podcasts. Those that provided interesting and authentic communication found they achieved higher engagement. Audiences became fatigued with online meetings and were therefore more selective with what they chose to interact with.
Influencers are continuing to rise as a popular and effective method of reaching a ready and already engaged audience, many are becoming more conscious of the products and services that they are promoting and have a need to believe in this and that they are putting their name to a good cause.
ROI is more important than ever
When organisations are forced to squeeze budgets due to challenging times it’s often PR and marketing budgets that are the first to take a hit. As we navigate the next couple of years and as the financial impact of the pandemic becomes apparent, there hasn’t been a more important time for PR to prove its worth.
There are a variety of different methods that can be used to demonstrate the tangible value of PR, which my colleague Bekki, summarises nicely in her blog, ‘5 steps to provide better PR ROI’, she discusses focusing on activity, rather than time and the importance of building a PR campaign that is structured but flexible – particularly important in today’s ever-changing world.
To summarise, as we move through this big period of change, something that is for certain is that communicating with authentic and meaningful interactions is key.