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.