We are obviously not the first to state that 2020 was a disrupted year – and we probably won’t be the last. One way or another, every industry has been impacted. Marketing and PR are no exception. If the nature of our work is to inform, advise, and build on current trends, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent crisis have made our task all the more complex.
How best to communicate on our customers’ expertise and market vision in this unprecedented climate? How can we meet their objectives, while the market is undergoing major disruption and consumers’ and businesses’ habits have changed for ever?
The truth is: we learn as we go, since we have to operate in an entirely new context. If predicting what is going to happen in the year to come used to be a difficult undertaking, it is even more true when it comes to 2021, given the unpredictable nature of the times. However, we endeavoured to highlight 5 major trends, based on what we learned last year.
Spokespeople with a singular point of view will be a differentiator
A spokesperson who chooses to play safe or to keep to a script will not make the news. Because of the ever-changing nature of the media landscape, especially in IT media, concurrence to be heard will be all the fiercer. Industries keep evolving and transforming as never before and the media require spokespeople who support a vision and can offer relevant comments and content concerning what lies ahead.
Bylines will play a central role in our strategies
While bylines have been used for a long time, this type of content will be the foundation of our PR strategies in 2021. This is because media are looking for ready-to-use content, principally because they are lacking time to write them. However, these bylines must be linked to current events and it is advisable to start working on attractive pieces and topics as soon as possible.
Investment in unique ways to rekindle and maintain the link with journalists will pay
In 2020, we often felt like walking on eggshells when talking to journalists, who have had heavy workloads during several periods last year. In 2021, maintaining your link with journalists with whom you communicate on a regular basis will still be paramount, and you must not forget to build new relationships. If the virtual event format never really met an echo in French journalists, we hope to be able to organise physical events again – around a good lunch – as soon as the sanitary conditions will allow.
Content will be king
In the face of the pandemic, the already vast amounts of content offered increased exponentially and the targeted audience were drowned under an excess of information. We predict that this trend will persist in 2021. What does this mean for marketing and PR professionals? To differentiate themselves, businesses will have to offer a message different from the competition and favour quality over quantity. Instead of publishing too many contents lacking in perspective, businesses should invest time and resources into better understanding their brand’s DNA, monitoring the competition, thus producing new and innovative content to offer meaningful insights to their target audience.
Businesses will be held accountable regarding diversity and inclusion
In 2020, issues relating to diversity and inclusion were the main topic of many discussions. Businesses and individuals are confronted with the task of acknowledging prejudice and putting together a strategy to “do better”. However, if nothing happens, businesses and industries will be held accountable. Thus, organisations will have to take the lead on the subject of inclusion and keep in mind that there are decisions to be taken and campaigns to be led in favour of change.
One thing is certain: in 2021, Marketing and PR professionals will have to remain agile and flexible. The rapidly evolving landscape will keep changing and surprising us, while we are faced with unprecedented challenges. But if 2020 taught us anything, it is that we are resilient. So let’s sail together into 2021…