The first public relations department was created in 1889 when industrialist George Westinghouse wanted to get coverage for one of his electricity projects. While most agree that public relations as a paid profession began in the early 1900s, there is no doubt that it is vastly different today, and it will continue to evolve, as we move forward. So, what will PR look like in 2021? There are a number of things we can expect. Here’s a peek about the 2021 future of public relations.
PR professionals will continue to learn how to work in a pandemic
As a result, we expect to see a blend of an in-office and mobile workforce. Maintaining company culture will rely on daily or weekly video calls with staff and socially distancing in person events. Our own team meets every morning on Zoom to go over deliverables for each client. Those who thrive will remember to inject a bit of fun into the day. For example, we connect digitally by playing virtual games and by attending online conferences related to the PR industry. Thus, identifying new ways to communicate with your team will continue.
The communication sphere will continue to blur
The divide between marketing, public relations, social media and other elements will blend into a wide variety of mediums. These industries have always worked closely together to meet business goals but the division between them is narrowing – and in many cases disappearing. At our company, it is common to be hired for a media relations program which includes social media or digital elements as part of the campaign. The omni-channel design is a one-trick pony and most companies want more.
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices will continue
Social justice, ethical management and environmental protection have become key factors in appealing to consumers, most importantly millennials. According to Morgan Stanley, 86 percent of millennials are interested in sustainable investing, meaning strong ESG efforts can help build your brand toward that desired target audience. Companies should share their sustainability strategies throughout targeted marketing materials or by showcasing improvements in employee diversity, labor conditions and charitable work.
Technology will continue to evolve
As augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) become more common and less expensive technology adoption and use will increase. AR experiences like Snapchat and VR devices such as Google Cardboard are becoming increasingly popular technologies that we use to support our clients. Try using AR technology to showcase your new product and then share a blog or a video about the activity on your website.
Data will continue to be a huge driver in communications
Data is collected in a myriad of ways, ranging from content shared on Twitter to a completed survey on a recorded call. Today, agencies have at their fingertips data on everything from who is visiting their website, to specific demographics that can be reached on a variety of social channels. As a result, we have the ability to create very targeted, trackable programs more than ever before. This means adjustments can often be made in real time which leads to the right results faster.
Let’s hope 2021 shapes up to be a much better year than 2020. And remember, feel free to keep our forecast of future of public relations in mind when you are planning your next PR plan. Or, call us. We’ll take care of it for you.