Whew 2021 was a year, seems to be a theme since 2020. As the year comes to a close and we anticipate what 2022 is to bring, it’s time to reflect on the lessons learned this past year. Professionally and personally it was a year of reflection - a time to take a step back, cut out the noise, focus on what’s important, and really evaluate what makes you truly happy. The same applies for the PR industry.
Here are the insights learned from 2021 and what will be following us into the year of 2022.
Strategy & Storytelling
A poll from Public Relations Today was conducted that attracted thousands of communications professionals worldwide in a series of webinars. The poll found that 56% of PR professionals found that their executive team understood how to leverage PR well or very well, while 44% rated their understanding of leveraging PR poorly or very poorly.
When asked which PR agency services were most relevant for brands, the responses clearly showed that it’s most important to get strategic counsel and advice from their agency (28%), followed by storytelling, content marketing and copywriting (17%), crisis management (12%) and reputation management (11%).
Diversity & Inclusion
The focus throughout 2021 was to continue making strides in the right direction for diversity and inclusion. This means that organizations needed to make progress with diversity internally calling for a clear, and actionable plan. The culture of an organization doesn’t happen overnight, however, a process needs to be put in place in order to move in the right direction.
There are tools in place to ensure companies hold true to their word and basically put their money where their mouth is. The Diversity & Inclusion Wheel for PR Practitioners can assist in creating lasting habits within company work flow, which will be evident in the outcomes of your PR work.
The year of the Zoom room continues, as more employees continue working from home. Memes circulated on social media on how many meetings they realized could have been emails all along. With more employees working and thriving from home, internal communications was key. To keep morale high, messaging should be clear and authentic from company leaders. Also, offer a glimpse into real life working from home (dog barking in backgrounds, kids running behind the desk chair, doorbells ringing, “you’re frozen”, etc.). While it was a time that could easily keep us distanced and disconnected, it opened the doors for a chance to make a team stronger and closer.
While we started leaving our confines a bit more in 2021, for those of us who still played it safe, social media was a refuge. Social media makes us laugh, cry, share, and come together. There has certainly been a shift in the way we not only work, but interact. Social media has found a way to bring us closer by staying in touch and sharing a funny reel here and there. Leveraging social media channels is more important than ever, and creating content that’s entertaining and allows for a connection - something we’ve been craving.
Trust can be created via social media as well. Use this to address your thoughts on what’s happening in the world and publicly address all relevant topics - be honest and open. Coming at topics with transparency will create trust and respect for any brand.
Since today’s roundtable is likely virtual, it’s time to bring creativity to the table. Sure, we’ve always needed to be creative but this presents an entirely different level of creativity. Online events offer a chance for audiences that may not have been involved in the past. You need to think of who your desired audience is and the best avenues to reach that audience. Not only does the audience need to be reimagined, so does the event. Public relations professionals need to find a way to host an interactive event and find unique ways to share their voices.
The Bottom Line
Year after year, the public relations and media community are constantly evolving. We are always learning and soaking up today’s news, technology, and trends. This is why it’s important for us to stay in the loop on all things relevant, and it is more important than ever as we kick off 2022. Before we move forward, we must learn from the past and continue to thrive from there.