The public relations industry is continuously changing and evolving, so the means of communication needs to be constantly adjusted to suit the ever-changing environment.
Following trends is the safest way to ensure that PR organisations are on top of their game in terms of the client’s communication strategies, but PR consultants need to also bear in mind that clients have different needs and using the trends as a blanket approach is not always the greatest option. PR consultants should use trends as a guideline to come up with tailor made solutions for each of their clients.
The use of PR trends has proven to be effective, giving PR organisations a sense of direction on a yearly basis. The most crucial trend is the utilisation of digital platforms, this trend has really become a breath of fresh air to the PR industry, with content being cross continental in a matter of seconds and reaching new heights in terms of audience retention.
Keeping up with trends is essential, this will require organisation to tweak and adjust certain parts of their client strategies. The industry is fast paced meaning organisations and PR consultants need to be forward thinking when it comes to client work.
Each year there is a long list of trends that are shared and then it becomes the organisation’s or PR consultant’s responsibility to pick the trends that will best help deliver results for their respective clients.
Trends that stand out for me are:
PR is all about creating a steady stream of communication between organisations and their stakeholder. In today’s world there is a need to always align brands with current news and events. This will give the stakeholders more information on the organisation and position the organisation as a thought leader, meaning the organisation will leverage more media coverage. For example, with the currents fuel hikes, it would be advisable for petroleum organisations to comment and share their thoughts on the issue.
- Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has really been a huge driving force behind many campaigns, this trend has gotten stronger over the years. Having organisations associated with prominent people really goes a long way, as people we are more likely to agree with certain things when they are associated to an individual or brand with a good track record. This trend also helps organisations to piggyback on celebrities and get direct access to their followers.
- Live video PR
From the beginning of time people have been attracted to visuals and over time, visuals have been used as a tool for promotional and identification. The digital era has taken the concept of visuals and amplified it; in today’s world people are watching videos of currents events live instead of waiting to read about them the next day. Social media has created access to everything, instead of reading blogs people would rather watch a vlog. The need for physical presence has been cut down and now businesses and influential people can have live interactions with their audience from a cellphone or laptop anytime they please.
TikTok really blew up at a time where physical interaction was limited. At first TikTok was a space for young individuals, until the numbers increased and now this has become a space for businesses and other organisations interact and promote.
- Virtual events
Virtual events have become a need ever since Covid-19 hit the world, the limits on physical interaction created a need for virtual interaction. Organisations became reliant on the virtual space, from having virtual meetings and now to having virtual events, this is a trend that will stand purely because its has saved organisations tons of money and because everything can happen from the comfort of home.
PR organisations must always be aware of their client’s needs; some clients might require more than one trend to be used, while others might require just one trend to ensure the full effects of their strategy. As PR consultants, we need to take the time to educate our clients on trends for their strategy. This will help clients come up with realistic deliverables for the overall strategy and remember to keep track of what has and hasn’t worked.
The use of trends does not guarantee clients success, but it surely does strengthen their chances and help the appointed PR consultant in executing the strategy.
Nkhensani Moyane is managing director and an experienced hands-on operative for Acecube PR, which provides a hub for mentorship within the PR industry.
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