It is no secret that we’re in a much different place now than we were at the outset of 2020. PR practitioners have had to navigate and counsel through unprecedented times, including a global health and social pandemic. Consumer behavior has changed and the media landscape can look different every day. PR practitioners have learned a lot and will need to continue to be nimble to react to and counsel, but here are a few trends to keep your eye out for in 2021:
Beware your partners – The right celebrity partnership will put a brand in the spotlight–just make sure it’s for the right reasons. We’ve all seen the fallout when a brand aligns itself with a celebrity who becomes entangled in a scandal mid-engagement (see: Vanity Fair: Hilaria Baldwin’s Partnership with Cuties Baby Care Is Over). We’re also seeing major corporations rethink their alignment with controversial politicians, with the recent Capitol riot leading many companies to halt political donations via their corporate PACs. Simply put, partnerships can be just as toxic as they can be fruitful, so PR teams should do their research…and then some.
Audience engagement will fundamentally change – Brands have been stripped of the ability to meet with and engage potential buyers in person, so many have to continue to rethink how they identify prospects, generate leads, and then funnel those individuals through the sales cycle – this is especially true for the B2B world. There’s increased competition on digital distribution channels, too, and at the same time, many end users are experiencing digital fatigue. Creating content and digital experiences that stand out will be paramount.
Email etiquette evolves – it’s officially the end of “Hope this email finds you well.” With constant breaking news, a world that moves faster than ever, and what feels like our 100th month of quarantine, it’s time to get to the point. Short, succinct pitches to reporters and emails to colleagues are more needed and appreciated than ever.
Timing is [still] everything – the 2020 news cycle was relentless and often impossible to compete with. There were days when you had to press pause on media outreach out of respect for reporters covering the major events of the day and breaking news. As PR pros, we still need to be mindful of this in 2021 and know when the time is right to pitch our story.
The social [multi]media giants aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – It seems like every few months, there’s a new reason for swaths of social media addicts to pledge that they’re finally deleting their Facebook or Twitter accounts. But despite being seemingly pressed against their breaking points countless times over the last five years, they continue to adapt and organically maintain relevance. While brands are finding every excuse to jump on the TikTok bandwagon, the big three social multimedia platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are simply too convenient and ingrained in society to be dethroned anytime soon, especially in 2021 when connecting will seem more important than ever.
This article was written by PR Club Board Members Allison Salzberg, Rachel Huff, Jackie Blundell and Justin Gagnon.