The impact of COVID-19 on the PR sector is obvious right now, but how will the epidemic affect our industry in the future? Several industry developments are gaining pace, all of which will have post-pandemic ramifications.
Vaccine rollouts, company reopenings, and youngsters returning to school are all signs that our “new normal” is approaching. However, what is this enigmatic “new normal” that we’ve been hearing about since the outbreak began? The spread of the coronavirus has impacted every business and marketplace around the world, forcing us to adjust to ever-changing industry environments – including public relations. We’ve learned over the last year that the only constant is change, and understanding and predicting the ongoing impact will put your company ahead of the competition!
The pandemic has impacted all part of our life, including politics, economics, social interactions, and consumer behaviour. We need to keep on top of consumer behaviour trends as public relations practitioners. Consumers want to see what you’re doing to drive change, so value-based spending is on the rise; merging the digital and human experience; incorporating new technology to improve the user experience; and a highly personalised customer experience with data-driven content tailored to each individual are just a few of the current trends. In addition, day-to-day outreach has improved, and crisis communication preparations have improved. A lot has changed, and these changes will likely outlast the pandemic.
The first trend is communicating compassion, which stems from our current focus on health and safety. As a result of the pandemic’s severe impact on public health and safety, COVID-19 has sparked public worry and sensitivity, as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on millions of people’s lives. As public relations practitioners, we must stay current on cultural and societal influences that form psychological behaviour and, as a result, influence our views, attitudes, and opinions as consumers.
Another popular trend is social listening, which emphasises the value of efficient two-way communication, the ability to “read the room,” and listening to your audience. Monitoring and assessing how our PR efforts are perceived has always been — and will always be — critical to a successful PR campaign, especially in the aftermath of a pandemic, when tensions are high and people react differently to the same message.
Finally, reconsider your communication mix of traditional and digital channels. Despite the fact that the epidemic has expedited technological breakthroughs and their integration into our daily lives, digitalization is here to stay. While some people are ready to return to work, others prefer — and will continue to do so — working remotely, resulting in a decrease of daily commuters. With this in mind, it’s critical to think about brand placement and communication methods. Your PR campaign’s success depends on having a flexible and broad communication strategy that includes social media, media outreach, and numerous media platforms.
Consumer behaviour trends such as an increased emphasis on health and safety, value-based spending, combining the digital and human experience, adopting new technology, and providing a highly tailored customer experience are all influencing the PR business right now. These present trends, such as the significance of speaking compassionately, social listening, and diversifying communication methods, provide insight into how the pandemic will affect the public relations environment in the future. Public relations, like so many other businesses, has seen significant changes as a result of the pandemic, which is why it’s critical that we, as PR practitioners, handle our ever-changing environment with caution.