By Ben Chodor - President, Intrado Digital Media
What’s in store for public relations as we head into the second half of 2020? So much has happened during the last few months and like many other industries, PR has been significantly disrupted -- in some ways, forever changed.
When I think about PR, though, I think about resilience. It’s an industry that was built to be agile, flexible and creative. PR professionals are always ready, always connected and are highly valued for their ability to lead during times of chaos and uncertainty. In the months to come, many of these skills will be put to the test, but I’m confident that the industry will undoubtedly rise, innovate and emerge even stronger.
We asked a few PR industry leaders to share their thoughts on what the next three-to-six months will look like for agencies. Specifically, we asked about media, technology and brand predictions that will shape PR’s “new normal.”
According to Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO of Pure Performance Communications, “PR professionals are counseling their clients for more virtual media opportunities. The ‘new normal’ requires business leaders to prepare for video interviews with different news outlets. Media training and interview prep now entails a better understanding of the technology and how to navigate different platforms. Executives are more prepared now to show up with their Emotional Intelligence (EI) hats on to help them convey their story and point of view.”
Sandra Fathi, President at Affect, believes, “In the near term, once organizations feel that we've stopped the 'free fall' of the economy and start to feel that we are leveling out, companies will feel more confidence to reinvest or restart programs that were put on hold at the outset of the pandemic. Since many areas of traditional marketing will not be viable in the next 3-6 months, for example, trade shows, events, in-person sales meetings, user conferences, etc., companies will have to rely more on digital and online marketing. As PR traditionally has a high ROI, I believe we will see a resurgence in interest and engagement with its low-barrier to entry and nearly immediate results. We will also see an acceleration of personalized marketing and account-based marketing tactics as companies consolidate resources and focus on digital efforts, they will want to engage in fewer, but more effective, tactics.”
“There is no going back. For some time, we’ve been talking to clients about the importance of finding and articulating a true ‘purpose,’ one that is authentic to their brand DNA and that elevates them out of their product messaging, which can all-too-often lack differentiation. As we move forward, that idea of purpose is no longer a nice to have, but an essential. Expectations of transparency and ethical behavior – including and especially towards their employees – will be greater than ever; it is for companies to respond from a policy perspective, but communicators must find ways to tell their stories in ways that convey genuine empathy.” – Jon Meakin, Global Head of Strategic Services, Grayling
“Modern PR was having its moment pre-COVID-19 but has shone through the crisis. PR practitioners are trained to be client-centric to quickly identify and adapt to client needs. During the pandemic, our discipline has been advising companies on acting with employee safety at the forefront of striking the right tone in marketing. As shelter in place restrictions lift, modern PR agencies will lean into content production and lead generation because -- in a world without tradeshows and events -- that’s what clients will need to spur brand awareness and sales. – Kim Sample, President, PR Council
Let’s face it – nobody knows what will happen next. But I’m confident that, collectively, we’ll come out of this stronger and better prepared for the future.
The PR industry will rebuild, agency life will resume (although it may look very different) and companies will continue to count on PR professionals for their tactical strategies and direction as they, too, navigate the “new normal” that lies ahead.
Notified was founded in 2010 and quickly became a disruptor in Sweden and across the Nordics. From the beginning, our goal has remained the same: to create a truly unique platform for PR and marketing professionals; one that delivers deeper, more actionable insights from social data and earned media, and brings the entire communications workflow into a single platform. In April 2019, Notified was acquired by Intrado, a global leader in digital communications.