Updated: Nov 23
2020 presented a host of challenges for professional communicators across the globe. But along with those challenges also came a host of opportunities! Just like every other year, 2021 has presented itself with its fair share of emerging trends in PR. What makes it different however from the previous years, is the fact that brands have now been battling the onslaught of COVID-19 for long enough to sharpen their existing brand strategy.
The question is – How?
With fluctuations in the market, changes in internal departments and managing client expectations, companies have definitely been dealt a rough hand. Although Public Relations has historically been the face of a brand by establishing trust through media coverage and press releases, while also managing crises, the role of a PR professional will evolve drastically in 2021. Marketing on the other hand has been traditionally responsible for advertising, brand management and product promotion. Gone are the days when PR and Marketing departments wouldn’t often cross paths. In fact, it is now almost impossible for a brand to churn out relevant content, connect with their audiences and deliver on their promise without PR and Marketing teams working in tandem.
If you didn’t already know, there’s a term for this type of merged communications tactic and it’s called ‘integrated communications’. Whether they like it or not, communications experts need to be willing to wear multiple hats when dealing with clients, target audiences and stakeholders. Communications professionals are what we would like to call ‘lifelong learners’ and 2020 was a year of constant learning and re-learning. On the communications front however, there is no reason for 2021 to be any different.
What’s the point of ‘integrated communications’?
The best way to answer this is by looking back at what Ocean Spray did with their ‘Let’s Make Life Better Sweet’ campaign. The brand smartly used both PR and Marketing strategies to drive ROI. Though engaging advertising, enticing content, organic social media and unconventional tactics that got people’s attention, Ocean Spray used a whole bunch of variables to get their message heard.
Clearly enough, integrated communications is the only way to ensure that customer expectations are met. When customers see similar value in a brand’s marketing and PR efforts, it helps position the company as one that has a shared vision across all departments. Even internally, 98.2% of PR professionals recognize the importance of mastering and applying marketing competencies. When both departments put up a unified front and collaborate right from the very beginning of a campaign, it gets easier to achieve brand goals.
And Finally, Chasing The Big R!
No, not relevancy, although that is definitely important too. When PR and Marketing departments join forces to create content, campaigns, strategies and communication pieces for the sales team, it has a positive impact on REVENUE. If PR and Marketing teams share a clear goal, which is to increase sales and brand visibility, why do the two departments often have separate KPIs?
Here’s a quick solution to bridging this gap - Marketing teams can start by sharing data and insights from advertisements that did exceptionally and even ones that missed the mark. This kind of information is what will help PR teams craft communication that is relevant to a brand’s values, vision and mission. While increasing revenue will always be a part of a company’s larger goal, ensuring that PR and Marketing teams embrace integrated communications and weave it into their everyday tasks could be the game-changer for brands who truly want to make a difference.