While the last two years have practically rendered any crystal ball gazing moot, there are still a few emerging trends we’d bet our last face mask on in 2022:
The Continued Importance of Storytelling
Not exactly a new trend but one that’s come to the forefront over the last couple of years is the power of transparent storytelling. Consumers are spending their money with brands that they feel a personal connection with, that align with their values. PRs have a unique opportunity to tell these stories, not just through media but through owned channels like podcasts. Consumers want to hear from real people in real ways, which also presents an opportunity for PRs to tell founders stories to deepen that connection.
PR and Marketing Join Forces
PR and marketing will need to work more closely together than ever before, particularly as the pandemic has left brands and clients feeling the pinch. While there’s no doubting that PR and marketing work hand in hand, marketing is able to measure the impact of their activity down to the last click, making it feel like a safer investment in volatile times. PR needs to get to the point where we can showcase the tangible benefits of our activities in order to earn a seat at the boardroom table. In 2022, PR will not just be about sending press releases, but will require and all-encompassing approach that takes all elements of the marketing mix into consideration.
Addressing the Talent Shortage
The Great Resignation is upon us, and coupled with a lack of available talent from overseas, brands and agencies need to work hard to attract the best talent. Fashion in particular is seeing a talent drain towards fintech, where budgets are higher and innovation is faster. PR won’t just be about increasing brand awareness from a sales perspective, but will also need to focus on employer branding, landing great talent in a talent short market.
The Emergence of Brand-Owned Channels
Brands are moving away from the traditional social media and influencer channels and developing brand-owned channels. Bottega Veneta and Lush are two such brands, launching digital magazine assets that they hope will engage audiences beyond social media. PRs can expect to see more of this kind of activity in the brands they work for, and bring their journalistic skills to play.
Tapping into Consumer Trends
There are some fantastic reports out at the moment about how consumers are spending their money, giving PRs some great insights into what might be resonating with audiences. Check out Pinterest Predicts, Afterpay’s Global Fashion Report, and Australia Post’s eCommerce Trend Reports.
This point feels like one of those that shouldn’t need to be made, but with Muck Rack’s 2021 State of PR report indicating that 96% of PR professionals still believe individual emails are the best way to pitch journalists, it pays to mention that personalised outreach will always win out over a mass email campaign. Spend the extra time getting to know a journalist’s preferences, read recently published articles, and pitch something truly meaningful that is significantly more likely to result in press coverage.
Ditch the Big City
Interstate migration is at an all time high to places like Queensland and more rural areas, and agencies will have to accommodate their team’s desire to live and work remotely. Media, influencers and staff are no longer centralised in Sydney and Melbourne, meaning events and activations need to be more local to generate cut through. The good news is, when working from the office isn’t a requirement, agencies will be free to hire the best and brightest, prioritizing talent above all else.
The decentralisation of the PR workforce also means agencies will need to adopt and leverage digital tools like Flaunter that allow for collaboration and easy management of assets across showrooms and press centres. The old model of a shared excel spreadsheet won’t cut it when version control becomes even more disjointed from remote working – central platforms that allow you to streamline your activities, save time, and generate clear reporting will be vital.
Hold Plans Loosely
Before 2020, failing to plan was planning to fail. However, since that time, PR professionals have had to ditch their meticulously structured 12-month plans in favour of more flexibility. With events cancelled last minute, and the news cycle becoming increasingly unpredictable, PRs who can think on their feet will be the ones who succeed.
Embrace Tools that Make Journalists Lives Easier
It’s not news that newsrooms are getting smaller. Journalists are now managing multiple publications and pages, and PRs who are embracing tools that save editors time are able to build stronger relationships and generate more press coverage. Tools like Flaunter mean editors are able to access your content 24/7, which is especially important now that our work days are no longer the traditional 9-5. With ongoing WFH arrangements meaning journalists are no longer having to commute, kids home from school or daycare, and many people currently in isolation, making access to your digital imagery and physical sample inventory seamless is a game changer when it comes to building strong relationships and ultimately generating more coverage.
What would you add to the list? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org