5 PR Trends Reshaping the Industry
By: Stephanie Ceccarelli, VP Public Relations
In the early 2000’s, with digital on the rise, many industry insiders questioned whether there would be a need for PR moving forward. However, this prediction of the field becoming obsolete proved to be without merit, as PR pros continued to demonstrate their worth time and time again. Just look at 2021 and its share of controversies. From Peloton to every airline to the steady flow of celebrity scandals, PR served as brands’ anchors through tumultuous waters.
As one of the scrappiest and savviest industries out there, PR agencies are recognizing their value and measuring it against the current erratic media landscape. In fact, recent forecasting reports have shown the PR industry alone is expected to be worth $129 billion by 2025.
We say all of that to say this: PR ain’t going nowhere!
There will, however, always be room for the industry to develop and evolve with the times. We know digital encompasses a major part of our future. Additionally, we must also incorporate other complementary specialties like creative, experiential, and social media in order to remain relevant as an industry.
In 2022, PR professionals will continue to move the industry forward by embracing digital and other marketing specialties through the following trends. Let’s dive in!
1. Community-Led Storytelling: Storytelling is an art form as old as time, and when used as a marketing and PR tactic, it’s all about sharing your brand’s narrative. It humanizes brands and helps consumers understand why they should care. Additionally, with seemingly limitless content in the form of posts, articles and ads in the palm of our hands, a good story has the potential to stand out to consumers and hold their attention.
Taking this a step further, community-led storytelling, in which the power of the story is given to actual consumers and influencers as brand advocates, is more authentic than direct brand-led messaging. Allowing these ambassadors to share their experiences with your brand boosts brand appeal and trust, promotes products and services, and provides word-of-mouth recommendations and social media chatter. 2022 will see many more brands consciously harnessing community advocacy through storytelling.
2. Emphasis on Authenticity: When most people think of PR, authenticity isn’t always the first thing to come to mind. In fact, for years people thought of PR execs as “spin doctors” – professionals fabricating or putting a “spin” on the truth to position self-serving clients in a better light. However, today’s audience expects the brands they follow to be upfront and honest, and not being an authentic company can hurt your reputation. These savvy consumers can immediately sniff out messaging that is disingenuous or pandering and aren’t afraid to call out a company on social media for not keeping it real. Authenticity is all about putting aside pretenses, defining your mission and embracing who you really are in every communication with your audience. Put simply, consumers will gravitate towards brands that walk the talk.
3. Holistic/Integrated PR: PR has been moving away from traditional business models towards a more holistic and integrated approach. Whether it is the shift from solely media relations to content marketing or the migration from print to digital, there is a marked change in the way the PR landscape functions. In 2022, this trend will further solidify its presence. There will also be a blurring of demarcation lines between PR, marketing and advertising, eventually leading PR & communication professionals to further value the importance of integrated communications.
4. A Face to the Brand: The role of founders, a leadership team, or a representative will become even more important this year. Gone are the days of hiding behind a faceless brand logo. Now, on the heels of the pandemic, people still want to be reassured, communicated to, convinced, calmed, etc. — by other people. To build this type of humanizing, personal connection, your brand needs a face, and PR can help you establish the persona that is best for your company.
5. Resurgence of Print Media: Recently, people have started turning back to print media and reading it again at the frequency they did before. This behavioral change has prompted a need for brands to be present in print media, via editorial articles and feature stories, and evidently this will be one of the biggest trends in 2022. This comes as no surprise given the general sense of mistrust when it comes to receiving news from social media. Print media has always been emblematic of authenticity and credibility, and in the age of “fake news” and “alternative facts” predominantly among online platforms, readers are finding relief among this trustworthy medium.
The PR field is certainly different than it was in 2000, and it will change even more by 2025. MassMedia’s smart and seasoned PR team is here to help you understand these industry trends and how they can enhance your PR strategies for the future. Contact us today!