Dear PR Matters,
Since 2020 will not only be the start of a new year, but also a new decade, what can we—as PR practitioners—look forward to this coming year?
I work in a boutique PR agency, and have seen how things have changed through the years. It will be very helpful if you can share some insights with us.
Happy New Year! Yes, 2020 will not only be the start of a new year, but also a new decade. That brings us much hope, but also so many challenges.
That’s because the practice of public relations, like everything else—fashion, entertainment, corporate life—is constantly changing. And we have to go with the flow to succeed.
While we cannot be precise about the future, we can look at industry trends that will serve as our guideposts as we navigate the waters of 2020. In an article in PR Daily, Melissa DiGianfilippo and Alexis Krisay share with us their 20/20 vision: The top 5 emerging trends in marketing and PR, which we hope will be helpful to you.
Melissa, who is president of public relations for Serendipit Consulting, and Alexis who is president for marketing, acknowledge that “with so many factors in play, and new platforms and technologies springing up, many industry pros are wondering what to expect;” and then list five trends which they see as dominating marketing and PR efforts in the new year.
1 An interactive content explosion. “Content marketing will shift focus to give people what they want,” say Melissa and Alexis. With that, “expect to see more augmented/virtual reality; gamified quizzes and polls, online events, and shoppable posts.”
If you’re spending on content, “make it interactive, or you won’t keep your customers engaged,” as “more than 90 percent of buyers are begging for more interactive content.”
2 New roles for chatbots. According to Amanda Pressner Kreuser in an article in Inc.com, like Siri for brands, chatbots are quickly rising as a “new voice” in consumer communications.
With this, “savvy brand marketers will be using chatbots and other consumer insights to springboard innovation and inspiration for developing products and services,” say Melissa and Alexis. This futuristic-sounding customer service tool can help businesses build deeper relationships with their customer base.
How is this so? It’s about asking “the right questions, and your digital team can learn more about consumer likes and dislikes, gather real quotes from consumers, and create authentic, meaningful engagement.”
3 A social-media influencer shake-up. The last decade saw the rise of the social-media influencers, who “have been earning big money from branded and sponsored content.” But have they been worth the investment?
Melissa and Alexis see that “in 2020, the game will change for those who have bought ‘likes’ and falsified engagement, because they aren’t showing brands a valid, measurable return.”
They observe that “consumers are no longer buying into influencers who rep brands that aren’t authentic to them.” And brand managers are adjusting their media mix accordingly, as they get “smart about verifying influencers and tracking ROI.”
With that, “expect to see more micro-influencers being favored over macro-influencers.” Now that’s a real shake-up!
4 ‘Brand standing’ becoming standard. Brand standing, say Melissa and Alexis, stems from deep, authentic values shared by an organization and its consumers. This is in contrast to grandstanding, which is often about showing off and gimmickry.
They cite studies that show that consumers feel stronger connections and are more loyal to companies willing to take a major position on major issues and less to those that stay out of the fray. In an increasingly polarized world, “expect to see more consumers holding brands’ metaphorical feet to the fire, as they’ll often patronize brands that share their values.
5 Enhanced personalized brand experiences. There will continue to be a lot of buzz about personalization in the coming decade. In fact, Seth Arenstein says in an article in PR News online that “Personalization Dominates PR Pros’ Predictions for 2020.”
“The theme that arises more consistently in the 2020 predictions is personalization,” he says. This highlights “technology’s ability to help PR pros create personalized experiences for stakeholders,” as well as “the importance of personalizing pitches to media.”
Melissa and Alexis, likewise, recognize the role of technology in enhancing “individualized recommendations to put curated, highly targeted ads directly before individuals who are most likely to buy.” They add that these new technologies can help savvy marketers “better understand customers and motivations for buying at each point of the sales funnel.”
Hope that gives you 20/20 vision about PR trends.
PR Matters is a roundtable column by members of the local chapter of the United Kingdom-based International Public Relations Association (Ipra), the world’s premier association for senior professionals around the world. Millie F. Dizon, the senior vice president for Marketing and Communications of SM, is the former local chairman.
We are devoting a special column each month to answer the reader’s questions about public relations. Please send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.