By Jasmine Agyemang
“Unprecedented” became the buzzword of 2020 when the pandemic first began to wreak havoc on everyday lives. The list of impacts for employees, businesses and consumers is significant, and the PR space is no exception.
The events of the last year threw a wrench in even the most strategic communications and PR plans. As we continue to navigate the constant change, we’ve identified four PR trends that are here to stay:
1. Leadership will be held accountable.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the power of having a voice, especially as a business executive. With 86% of employers expecting CEOs to publicly speak out about societal challenges, there are more opportunities for business leaders to be transparent, stand up for what is right and lead with empathy in 2021. Additionally, research shows that 65% of people believe that CEOs should hold themselves accountable to the public and not only to the board of directors or stockholders. So, whether you’re responding to your employees or speaking out publicly on behalf of your company, accountability remains one of the key factors of effective leadership and positive brand reputation.
2. Consumers trust purpose-driven companies.
Consumers are intrigued now more than ever by companies that have clear values and purpose. A global survey revealed that 94% of consumers say it’s important for the companies they engage with to have a strong sense of purpose. When consumers believe a brand has a strong purpose, they are four times more likely to purchase from and trust the company or organization. Having a community-focused approach and putting people at the center of your business builds trust and should be a part of your company’s strategy. Consumers are no longer solely interested in what you offer – they care about your purpose and how you are making a difference.
3. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) matter.
Businesses spoke out against racial injustices and inequality following civil unrest reignited by the death of George Floyd. This led to companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Airbnb, Nike and Uber pledging to donate collectively millions of dollars to support the Black community and organizations that advance social justice missions. In addition, diversity and inclusion job openings bounced back 55% following a 60% decline last March. Intentional DE&I efforts are reputationally important and demonstrate a people-centric business philosophy. Companies that prioritize a DE&I strategy will benefit from accurately reflecting and representing the communities they serve.
4. People place a high value on a strong online presence.
It’s no surprise that online consumption has increased drastically over the last year as people stayed home and sheltered in place. In fact, the daily time spent consuming online content has doubled globally since the start of the pandemic, from an average of three hours and 17 minutes to an average of six hours and 59 minutes. In light of this change, companies should be intentional about prioritizing, developing and maintaining an online presence. Authentic storytelling that focuses on an organization’s key messages can be hugely beneficial for a brand long-term as it reaches target audiences directly online. Check out our tips on how to leverage social media while social distancing.
There’s no doubt that 2020 inspired change. But it’s what you do to capitalize on these trends that can make a difference for your organization. Whether you’re ramping up your DE&I efforts or creating new programs to live out your company’s purpose, keeping your people at the center of your organization will have a lasting impact on the overall health of your company.
Want to chat more about how intentional, community-centric PR efforts can have an impact for your organization? Connect with our team today.