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The State of Public Relations in 2020
The State of Public Relations in 2020
Traditionally, Public Relations (also known as PR) was concerned with the spread of information by a business to establish relationships with the public and other organizations. With the advent of modern technology, PR's bucket has expanded to include digital media, advertising, marketing, and much more. It has transformed into a one-stop-shop for businesses to alter the customers' views of their brands.
Is PR in 2020 really so different?
The Public Relations industry has grown more tech-savvy and targeted than ever before. Artificial intelligence and marketing automation have modernized the market to offer personalized customer experiences. PR is practiced through effective communication integrated with ethical values, advocacy, and loyalty of the companies. Moreover, PR has grown predominantly trend-focused, using social media and technology to be its allies.
With the ever-increasing importance of PR for businesses, PR boutiques are now in higher demand, too. A boutique PR agency might offer extensive media outreach, effective media planning, and communication through ‘free' or ‘earned' media. But is this so different from larger agencies? The answer is that it's not that the services a boutique agency offers that are so different from the services of a larger corporation; it's the quality of service you can expect from a boutique agency.
Strategies for Successful PR
In 2020, we have observed a rise in strategic trends in public relations. PR approaches are becoming more measurable, result-oriented, and tech-centered. Despite several platforms to manage a company's public face, some strategies are more impactful than the others.
- The ongoing virtual age is going through an influx of digital data production. Companies' PR tactics must be more focused and engaging to drive traffic to their online platforms. SEO PR has emerged as a powerful weapon and is crucial to improve online visibility.
- Niche targeting has gained massive popularity among brands nowadays. Companies prefer establishing informative blogs and self-publishing sites to target audiences with specific and related interests. This calls for selecting PR agencies based on their industry experience and specialization.
- The presence of the human factor in the PR campaigns is crucial to connecting with the audience. Despite the dominance of the internet and electronic devices, businesses must hire trained staff to communicate effectively with the public. This helps to build a meaningful and personal connection between companies and their audiences.
- Driving sales is dependent on the reputation of a business. 2020 is the time of innovation and newness. To successfully present a powerful image, the PR team must stay updated with every trend and produce content according to public demand. Creative videos, interviews, podcasts, and pictures persuade the viewers to trust the brand and make a purchase. Moreover, approaching micro-influencers is another vital source to reach targeted viewers.
- Reputation management stands as the most crucial role played by a company's PR department. The image of a brand tremendously depends on the CEO's reputation. PR groups must be focused on preventing any negative campaigns against the company or its leadership.
Social Media and Crisis Management
All businesses are likely to have Public Relations nightmares, but successful crisis management is essential to restore the brand reputation.
In 2017, Pepsi faced backlash on its ad starring Kendall Jenner due to its tone-deaf messaging that undermined the ‘Black Lives Matter' campaign. Pepsi later pulled and released an apology to resolve the issue successfully.
Seoul Secrets is a beauty company that created a controversial ad featuring an Asian girl turning dark-skinned to her displeasure. It would have caused a great uproar; however, the company issued a heartfelt apology without delay and removed the ad. A quick response dramatically helps in damage control.
An epic example of social media disaster appeared when the founder of JoJo Maman Bebe, a UK based company, posted a late-night message in a popular second-hand selling group of her company's products. She questioned people for paying almost full prices for the used products, which stirred up a hornet's nest. This reflects how PR boutique agencies should take care of the PR matters instead of the owners themselves. However, the lady apologized for her action and resolved the issue soon.
In 2017, social media echoed with a new controversy when United Airlines prohibited two passengers from boarding due to their leggings. The issue worsened when a video of a passenger being brutally dragged out of a flight went viral in the following weeks. Surprisingly, the CEO defended the flight crew's actions that yielded an $800 million loss. This demonstrates a terrible PR strategy.