With work from home being the new norm and client pitches happening over videoconferences, what does the landscape look like for the PR industry post-COVID lockdown? According to the ‘State of the Industry Survey 2019’, the PR industry was predicted to grow at a CAGR of 12.5%. And although 2020 took off to a great start, the current situation has presented a huge roadblock to its growth.
From hosting client meetings online, to organizing social events and meet the expert’s webinars, to putting together press releases, the PR world is now mostly digital!
Now more than ever, PR professionals have risen to the challenge and channelized their energies into what they do best: Communicating constantly and effectively! Globally, brands have moved from responding to the crisis to now chalking out business strategies to re-emerge post the lockdown.
Here’s how agencies can stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant, while preparing for PR 2.0.
Focus on the “people first” element at all times
With a large chunk of the world under quarantine, brands have had to come up with creative ways to connect with their consumers. But rather than thinking of target audiences as just ‘consumers’, brands need to focus on the human element to reimagine consumer behaviour. Deep dive into the changing analytics and maintain a solid brand-human relationship. Cater to the consumer’s needs, especially your internal audiences.
Use digital platforms to reiterate the message of safety first
Consumers are on the lookout for credible sources of media that put out ‘authentic messages’ in easy to consume formats. With everyone constantly online, brands need to use caution when communicating digitally. This could mean constant fact-checking, producing user-driven content and prioritizing public safety at all times. The centrality of PR should shift from not just telling stories but to also constantly reiterating the message of social distancing and safety first, across all digital platforms.
Realign your strategy with being socially and sustainably credible
Social media platforms have gained enormous traction. Consumers today can reach out to brands across numerous platforms. Thus, brands will particularly be in the spotlight for their contribution to the rising change, especially from the perspective of driving digital engagement and facilitating emotionally engaging communications. PR agencies will benefit from revisiting their current strategy to help brands present and maintain credibility for both, from a social as well as a sustainable perspective. As customer preferences continue to shift towards sustainability, with the current crisis, modelling credibility as a brand will go a long way in evolving the brand, post lockdown.
Demonstrate and undertake authorized practices
Brands have a massive responsibility to disseminate accurate digital communication around safety and ensure that safe practices remain a top priority. Joining the bandwagon of #BrandsAgainstCovid19 to reinforce the importance of safety practices in a transparent manner, reassures consumers that brands are prioritizing the well-being of their customers, as well as their employees.
PR professionals can make a significant impact on a consumer’s trust by constantly innovating, to meet the needs of the hour. There is no fixed guideline to rebuilding the PR industry post lockdown. Thus, brands can use this opportunity to reinvent their interactions with the audiences, and PR can help make the most of it to drive awareness as well as establishing goodwill. It’s time to start asking a few tough questions though.
Is your brand ready to emerge stronger post-COVID lockdown?