As 2020 is here it is time to reflect on the past year and the last decade in general for the PR industry. The past decade has been disruptive in terms of business processes, with trends like Ai and Machine learning etc., taking to mainstream, robotics and voice assistants becoming household phenomenon. In line with these transformations in businesses, PR and communication too evolved at a fast pace in the past decade. From Social media and viral posts to rise of influencers, fake news and new age innovations in content consumption, OTT and 5G broadband are some key factors that impacted the brand communications and consumer engagement, at a global level.
These transformations have led to the rising significance of PR, which has steadily made its presence at all marketing and corporate planning strategies. Brands have slowly but steadily started understanding the importance of having a PR person on their side, so as to weave a narrative that is beneficial to the personal and business image, making PR a critical part of the company.
As we usher in a new decade, here are some PR trends that are going to rule 2020:
Content continues to be King:
Even as narrative building and thought leadership gain prominence in the age of paid media partnerships, content driven PR is evolving to create a more meaningful and impactful consumer engagement. From platforms across social media, digital, print and television, innovative content partnerships and responsible corporate citizenship content is driving the new age brand PR.
Even as content is evolving from the written word to involve video, social media and most recently podcasts, 2020 is going to see a larger amalgamation of infotainment and educative content that is going to bring about a shift form the brand focus to consumer and social and personal welfare focused content with a macro messaging element to it.
Focus on Good Corporate Citizenship:
Companies are trying to find the right balance between their various stakeholders’, consumers and their various charitable causes that the company believes in. With so much of pressing issues happening around the world, companies want to take a stand and connect in a more humane level with their audience. So creating campaigns and communication strategies on these grounds will continue to be the focus of most PR and brand communication strategies.
Rise of Influencers:
The past decade, especially the last 5 years, saw a steady rise in the popularity and might of individual influencers. These started out with bloggers and then YouTube and social media influencers and recently, podcasters have also joined the clout of influencers, driving consumer buying behaviour and perceptions. From fashion to food and travel, there are now influencers for various sectors, from automobile, interiors, health and beauty, parenting, hospitality to even HR and self-improvement practices. As the rise of influencers continue, PR will increasingly become a crucial catalyst in driving brand led content in association with these influencers. What’s more, local, city based influencers too are rising to demand the kind of focus, thanks to the mass following and semi-celebrity status they have come to enjoy! While top notch celebrities continue to be roped in as the face for a brand at a national or global level, loyal influencers are increasingly finding place in the consumer engagement strategies, sometimes even making celebrities redundant.
The might of the Tier 2 markets:
With the growing need for consumer engagement and the rise of the mighty tier 2 consumer, with increased spending power and access to digital markets, brands are leveraging PR to connect with them through customised communication strategies that now go beyond just Press release announcements. Although nascent, Tier 2 and 3 markets in India are turning out to be huge spenders for not just national but also international brands across sectors. This has led to the rise of local PR campaigns and engagement outreach in local languages and associations with language media. On-ground activations and brand led social initiatives are increasingly becoming a part of localised PR strategies that are creating narratives relevant to the new, non-urban audiences.
While the above are key trends to watch out, 2020 will continue to focus on the rise of digital and social media PR as well as innovative brand engagements and associations that drive impactful messaging and bring about a change in perceptions. In addition to this, PR is set to enter a disruptive phase, with Podcasts, AI, Robotics, and ML influencing the mode of communication, speed and the overall sphere of impact, making this an exciting decade to look forward to!
Written by Anindita Gupta, Co-Founder - Scenic Communication