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Use these principles to guide your marketing and PR strategy for the next 12 months – and beyond.
Use these principles to guide your marketing and PR strategy for the next 12 months – and beyond.

Key marketing and PR predictions for the year ahead

MICHAEL KLING identifies the major social and technological trends that will shape the PR and marketing strategies of businesses large and small in 2021.

No-one foresaw the abrupt disruption 2020 would bring when they delivered their annual PR and marketing insights a year ago. However, that’s not stopping anyone from issuing another round of predictions for 2021.

The trends for the year ahead continue patterns that have emerged in PR and marketing over the past few years – namely social responsibility, multimedia content, and personalisation.

Social responsibility

An increasing number of consumers, particularly young adults, feel a sense of social responsibility and want to purchase from and work for brands that show this quality.

More than a few communications experts predict that social responsibility will become essential for attracting customers, recruiting talent, and satisfying shareholders.

Annique Simpson, a UK-based communications specialist and journalist, has said, “[In hindsight] 2020 will be defined by the word ‘humanity’ – its power, its fragility, its necessity. Communicators will need to continue to... ensure our strategies and messages remain as humane as possible in 2021 and beyond.”

When it comes to marketing and PR, social media is a crucial tool for demonstrating social responsibility and transparency, another key value of younger consumers.

“Because social media acts as a medium for brands to directly engage with their consumers, people are seeking out brands they can trust more frequently, so being transparent will help your brand gain the trust of more users,” Evanne Farmer, of Three Girls Media, a US-based PR and digital marketing firm, explains.

To show transparency on social media, Farmer advises businesses to:

  • Engage with users and answer all questions
  • Openly admit mistakes
  • Show behind-the-scenes activities
  • Givecredittootherswhenitisdue

By implementing a transparency policy and creating a socially conscious tone on social media, businesses can build trust, gain positive coverage and word-of-mouth, and create a community of loyal customers.

Multimedia content

Multimedia content represents the future of media relations. Videos, photos, infographics, and audio clips help PR professionals win the attention of both journalists and audiences to promote businesses’ brand messages.

Madison Hausauer, a PR specialist at US marketing agency Flint Group, says, “Public relations are moving toward the production of visual content to convey a message. Integrated and flexible campaigns – in the forms of GIFs, infographics, and videos – are accessible and easily ‘digestible’ [for consumers].”

Video may be the most popular and powerful form of content. While some videos attract new customers, others – such as product demonstrations and testimonials – encourage customers at the end of the sales funnel to complete their purchase.

Videos, photos, infographics, and audio clips help PR professionals win the attention of both journalists and audiences to promote businesses’ brand messages

Think strategically when choosing the type of video to create in order to match it to the customer’s stage in the buying journey, and consider how it looks and sounds as well as the platform upon which it will be published, such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, or your website.

Victor Blasco, CEO of branded content agency Yum Yum Videos, advises showing real stories behind your business – as told by the people that work there.

Company story videos, also known as ‘About Us’ videos, do this in a way that is engaging and emotionally moving.

“These videos show the human side of your company,” Blasco explains. “They’re directed at customers, and sometimes prospective employees, to form a deeper connection with them and your brand.”

Personalised messaging

Technology allows organisations to send their PR messages directly to their key audiences. Tools such as Facebook Live allow businesses to control their message and personalise interactions.

Personalised marketing will continue to be essential to businesses in 2021, and savvy operators will use analytics tools to help tailor their strategy.

A report from management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company noted that analytics and digital data should be combined with “qualitative listening tools” such as an “ongoing shopper panel”.

Social media analytics assist in managing the business’ reputation and help business owners to measure the impact of their efforts, while other forms of monitoring can provide a clearer picture of how potential customers view the business and where the strategy could be improved.

In conclusion, when developing a marketing strategy for the year ahead, businesses large and small should focus on the areas of social responsibility, multimedia content, and personalised messaging, in order to improve brand awareness, create a positive image, boost customer loyalty, and increase sales.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Kling

Michael Kling is manager of marketing, PR and social media at Glean.info, a media monitoring and measurement company based in the US. Visit: glean.info

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