Public Relations In 2022: What Will The Future Bring?

Most people will agree that seeing 2021 in the rearview mirror is a good sign. Although it’s been a difficult year, we’ve seen compassion, growth and resilience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The public relations industry itself has seen a great deal of change as well. Here are a few things that our crystal ball is predicting for 2022:

The ESG movement will continue to grow. Companies that embrace ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) policies and dedicate their corporate culture to supporting these environmental and social measures will set the stage for good stewardship of not only their own company but the world at large. I believe a company’s ESG score will become a defining factor for many of their audiences moving forward, and those that want to remain on the cutting edge better keep an eye on it.

The needs of the workforce will continue to change. Employees are now interacting with five generations in the workplace, each of which has its own set of factors that define their work style. While millennials have dominated the more recent conversations, Gen Alpha — those who are now between 11 and 25 years old — are now moving into the prime of their work years. Their viewpoints are quite different from millennials and they bring a different definition of how they view the work world. As a result, employers will continue to need to determine how best to engage the various generations given their different work styles, needs, desires and views on work-life balance. As the generations shift, this need will continue moving forward.

The workplace isn’t a place; it’s a mindset. With the “work from anywhere” moniker, I believe companies will continue to grapple with how company culture can be defined. Can there be a company culture when much of the interaction is now on a screen? Many employers have implemented various strategies that range from full work-from-home to hybrid schedules and some demand traditional in-the-office workplace routines. One thing is for sure: This will continue to evolve and the companies that dedicate their corporate culture to trying to figure how to evolve with these shifts — whatever that looks like for their company — will thrive.

Technology will continue to be a strong driver. The link that has allowed the workplace to evolve is technology. It’s now acceptable to have Zoom meetings, and there is a wide variety of communications tools that have increased our ability to communicate. These include Slack, email, text, WhatsApp and many, many more. As if that weren’t enough, social media platforms — Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and others — are also tools that are available to reach specific audiences. With that comes the overarching challenge of deciding which channels are important to the audiences our clients need to reach. This makes the public relations professional all the more valuable as the trusted advisor who can design a program using the right channel that pushes out the right brand message.

PR itself continues to evolve. While public relations originally sprouted from the news side of the industry, today the communications wheel includes everything from company newsletters, news releases and articles, advertising, sponsorships, brand layering, social media, influencer campaigns, crisis management and more. A campaign today can include a variety of earned, owned, paid and shared media. As a result, PR agencies are morphing into blended services in order to provide a holistic program for their clients and to capture a larger portion of the campaign dollars. There is no doubt that this trend will continue moving forward.

Public relations has always been an evolving industry. It shapes our world, changes our perceptions and drives things forward. There is no doubt that it will continue to evolve as our world changes. Here’s to an amazing 2022!

This article was originally published on Forbes, here.

Leeza Hoyt

Moving Through a Most Difficult Year: Communications Makes a Difference

COVID-19 and now the Delta variant continues to impact our world. It’s not news that it has changed the way we work, socialize, and shop and more. While things have improved since spring 2020, we continue to grapple with the new normal. As a result, what is crucial to moving forward is how we manage our communication.  

This isn’t the first time that we’ve been through this. From the Spanish Influenza of 1920 to the economic crisis in 2008, if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that bad things will continue to happen. That said, it’s important to realize that every storm will eventually pass. The difference between how we view something retrospectively lies in the way that the issue was communicated in the first place. It’s important to remember that good communication builds trust, eliminates panic and allows for teamwork to effectively solve a problem. 

As a result, communications should be at the front line for every company. Using a communications strategist to craft key messages that are presented to your stakeholders and publics in a timely and transparent fashion is crucial in upholding both business and reputation.  These processes are designed to clearly present top-line messages, convey the right sentiment to the right audience at the right time.   

Five Key Elements to Successful Communications  

If you’re looking for a fast easy way to do this, there isn’t any. What you can do is build a framework that will allow you to build as you move forward.  Here’s five things you won’t want to overlook. 

  • Focus on the Message.  Before you send anything out, remember what the purpose is. Does it resonate with your audience? Is the writing appropriate for this group?  
  • Use the right channels for your message. There are many ways to communicate to each audience. Given the wide variety of channels that are currently available – everything from a social media channel such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – to a news release to an internal memo for employee communications and more — choosing the right channel is critical. It’s the best way to make sure that what your communicating is reaching the right audience in the right way.   
  • Remember, communications is a continuous process. Covid has changed everything. To build a brand, its not a ‘one and done’ thing. Not sure what to say? Consider an update on company activities. Profile one of your key employees or clients. Be proactive and find ways to reach out to customers and clients, as well as employees and other audiences. It lets them know you’re still there, engaged and actively working. It also sets the stage for information and news in general which includes good and perhaps not-so-good news.  
  •  Be relevant, transparent and authentic.  In today’s communications, compassion and understanding are paramount. How is your company responding to the Delta variant? Has the supply chain been impacted and what does it mean to deliveries? If you’ve been impacted by a natural disaster, how is the company moving forward? All of these elements come into play to make the company seem responsive, human and real.   
  • Be engaging. This means talking directly to your audience in the most appropriate manner.  Remember to set the right tone. Even bad news can be framed in an effective and more positive note.  This alone is critical to how your audience receives – and processes your message.  

Crises will continue to happen and companies will survive and move forward. For that to happen, having an effective communications strategy in place will set the stage – and the roadmap for success. Those companies that have this will have a roadmap for success.  

communications

Leeza Hoyt

What We Can Learn From The Condo Collapse in Miami

The recent tragic condominium collapse near Miami showed once again how important being prepared for crisis management response can be. Tragedies happen. However, how we respond to them can be the difference between failed public relations and professionally crafted crisis management communication with government agencies, media and the public.

7 Things We Can Learn About Crisis Management From The Miami Condo Collapse

Let’s take a look at seven crisis management lessons that the condo collapse highlighted.

Be Proactive

Before any crisis occurs, it is best to act quickly to prevent the escalation of a potential problem. After the collapse of the Surfside condo, there was documentation that showed what state the condo had been in before its collapse. Various structures within the condo were in poor condition.

We cannot know for sure if these structural issues contributed to the collapse of the condo. However, the condo’s collapse could perhaps have been prevented had there been proactive steps taken that minimized structural risks.

The primary goal should always be to stop a crisis from happening in the first place.

Make Sure You Only Release Accurate Information

In any crisis, it’s important to handle information responsibly in order to refrain from causing more panic.

As with the condo collapse, authorities had to assess when to release important information regarding damages, injuries, and the death toll. By knowing when to release what, they were able to inform and console many loved ones during this tragic event.

By releasing inaccurate information too soon during a crisis, you could cause more public outrage. Although third parties may press for more information, it is better to ensure that the data is correct before releasing it. Not only will this improve your credibility, but it will also prevent a PR disaster.

Don’t Speculate

When a crisis hits, it’s tempting to compare it to similar disasters. Based on what happened during similar past events, one can easily speculate about what’s going to happen next. However, in the event of any crisis, you need to avoid speculation at all costs.

Wondering about the causes, effects, injuries, or tactics that may be used to solve a crisis is natural. But, by sharing your musings with the world, you could cause even more panic.

To keep everyone calm, you should always communicate responsibly. Rather than speculate, wait until you know all the facts before communicating with a third party.

Communication Is Critical

Crisis communication plays a vital role in managing any crisis effectively. How you communicate to your audience is very important. Avoid blaming anyone and don’t make any rash judgments. Instead, take your time assessing the situation and the outcomes of all your options.

If possible, it would be better to shift all the communication responsibilities to a firm that specializes in crisis management. This is exactly what the condominium association in Florida did after the condo collapse.

Be Transparent

In order to handle a crisis effectively, you have to be transparent. This can be hard, seeing as some of the details relating to a crisis can be upsetting. However, telling half-truths can not only damage your integrity but also cause more harm than good.

No matter how uncomfortable, the truth should be communicated clearly and tactfully. Once you have all the facts lined up, there should be no reason to not share all the pertinent information.

When the Florida condo collapsed, the public remained updated around the clock. This helped everyone come to terms with what happened.

Have A Crisis Plan In Place

No one wants to think that the worst possible disaster will strike their business. However, you still need to be prepared for anything. Not only will it help you to get back on your feet sooner, but it will also show leadership, thoughtfulness, and compassion.

Your company should have a crisis plan in place for every possible scenario that can affect your employees, customers, and your business itself. By having a crisis protocol in place, you can avoid panic and jump right into action mode when it’s needed.

When the condo collapsed in Florida, the condo association relied on many regulations and outside help to navigate the situation. Without a proper plan in place, it will take you much longer to get to the bottom of any crisis.

Be Flexible

Even if you are prepared, a crisis can still knock the wind out of your sails. In situations like these, you need to be flexible in how you manage a sticky situation. What would have worked six months ago may not work now. By objectively analyzing the situation, you will be able to make informed decisions much faster.

The condominium collapse in Florida triggered conversations about revising condominium regulations. To stay up to date with the latest requirements, you have to be flexible to accommodate changes in your regulatory environment.

Key Takeaways

The condo collapse was a tragic event that made worldwide headlines. However, we can learn from that loss and implement new crisis management protocols that will help prepare us to communicate more effectively with key stakeholders during the next disaster.

Leeza Hoyt

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