PIVOT! PIVOT! What the PR and Marketing Industry learned from COVID
It goes without saying that every business, every industry, heck, even our own existence has been impacted somehow during these couple of years due to COVID; PR and Marketing are no exception. The only thing consistent (and ironic) seems to be “change” — recognizing, anticipating and adapting to the constantly revolving business world this pandemic has nurtured.
As the pandemic reached new heights, so did the panic felt across the Public Relations and Marketing industry. Let’s face it, the growth and success of the PR and Marketing industry is reliant on the growth and success of their clients. When budgets are cut, socially distanced restrictions are put in place, and lockdowns become inevitable. The word “pivot” becomes synonymous with “how can we avoid a crisis?” And in the midst of a global state of emergency, businesses–big and small–were on the brink of just that.
It didn’t take long for the world of PR and Marketing to do what it does best: regroup, refocus and execute. In-store activations and in-person events were postponed indefinitely or moved online, which led to some of the best PR thanks to plenty of gafs from navigating virtual technology. Entrepreneurs, speakers, CEOs and executives alike stepped up to the ‘screen’ and delivered to an engaged virtual audience. Storytellers began to shape their messaging based on the stage of the pandemic, especially since COVID seemed to be the only topic covered in the news for much of the past year and half; and no one knows how to analyze the news-cycle quite like your PR firm does.
What came out in the forefront of this all was compassion. Consumers wanted to feel that they were being empathized with. They didn’t want to be sold to anymore. They were looking for authentic brands who related to them during this difficult time, not trying to take advantage of them. Influencers are wielding more influence than ever before, but audiences are more saavy where paid integrations are concerned. The product is now taking a backseat to the entertainment value. As consumers, cultural and social impacts help to mold our beliefs and opinions, influencing where our money is being spent.
is this the “new normal” for PR and Marketing? Not entirely, but it’s
safe to say the world has been bruised by such a significant event that
going “back to 2019” will take some time, not just for consumers but for
the PR and Marketing industry as well.
Some personal PR and Marketing Industry Observations:
- Television and radio will continue doing most interviews and segments remotely.
- More paid integrations for brands. Pitches have to be tighter, focused and informational rather than inwardly focused and promotional. You can read more on that in our WIIFT™️ blog
- People are sick of online events. Smaller in person events or hybrid events will be taking place. This includes creative Pop-ups, tastings and demos
- And despite the death knell being heralded across traditional news channels, they still hold some of the highest credibility of any communications platform. Content will shift to digital platforms rather than traditional newsrooms. Younger journalists will be just as credible as legacy anchors.
Despite these shifts, and until our world goes back to pre-pandemic times, the PR and Marketing industry will continue to do what we do best: pivot.
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