2020 has been compared to the likes of the recession in 2001, the financial crisis in 2008, and even the unrest caused by the wave of demonetization in 2016. Not only has the industry undergone a transformation, but the consumer habits have also altered, extensively.
What are the consumers feeling and experiencing?
What drives them towards making a purchase?
What are their expectations from a brand?
These have always been the questions that advertisers as well as brands mine insights from. But the pandemic has made this data even more critical. And how does this impact your PR strategy? Incorporating consumer behavior into your organization’s communications strategy will add more weightage to your PR strategy and business planning.
Here’s how consumer behaviour can be your guide in crafting an experiential based PR strategy for 2021.
Connect. Influence. Impact.
A PR agency’s core KRA is to ensure that the business is connected to the people, and vice versa. There are three fundamentals that a brand’s reputation is based on: The message that you give, the causes that you stand for, and the perception that your customer has about you. Therefore, creating an emotional connect, with an influential message, will definitely lead to a larger impact.
Research by Accenture states that about 63% of consumers are keen to purchase from purpose-driven brands. Therefore, observing consumer behaviour during the lockdown period will help your brand repurpose its messaging, while repositioning itself digitally, to expand its spectrum of visibility.
Grab Their Attention. Then Retain It!
Have you witnessed a change in the consumer habits off late? If yes, what are their interests leaning towards? One of the most commonly used forms of creating curiosity in PR is storytelling. A narrative that can be used as a brand hook with a message conveyed through a story (read as audio video medium), can be retained quicker and better. Once you have that box checked, integrate your communications with a bit of mainstream media and social media marketing.
Strategize to Influence
The Consumer Index Report by Ernst and Young states that 26% of consumers will favour brands that reduce unnecessary risks and are safe to use. It further claims that about 59% of consumers will prefer shopping ‘locally’ in the long run.
What brought about this change in mindset? Was it being crammed up at home and only having access to the newly sprouting deliveries apps with cashless money transactions and doorstep deliveries? Or was it the trust that the local shops managed to build during a state of shutdown? What were the campaigns run during this time?
Build a humane connection online - starting from socializing with engaging conversations. The competition is high and with all modes of internal communications moving towards embracing digitalization, its time to build your own brand identity. The expertise of PR lies in being able to publicize a trend, while influencing opinions as well as behaviours. If a campaign can lead to a change in mindset, it will definitely convert a potential lead into a buy-in.
Leverage Technology Right
Consumers are leaning towards experiencing a virtual tour of a product or service before purchasing it via virtual and augmented reality. This is the time to define your PR goals and objectives keeping the past performance as well as competitor trends in mind. Think long-term, decide what you want to accomplish, and build your PR action plan accordingly. Choose the right set of PR tools be it for the sake of online reputation management or social listening. Based on the altered consumer behaviour, integrate SEO keywords into your PR content marketing strategy as well.
This is the time that PR agencies should work closely with the HR department in order to enhance the employer branding and reach out to the right target audiences. Consumer behaviours have undergone a massive transition and brands that have managed to build a personal emotional connect, are the ones that have managed to successfully retain the consumer base. Therefore, the 2021 PR Strategy must be created based on a futuristic projection of what the consumer really wants.