While 2022 was no less than a roller coaster ride for most of us in PR, we kind of expected this as the storm of covid settled and businesses opened in full swing. The year kicked-off with geo-political stress and inflationary pressure, though, later brought in renewed opportunities to do more than just business as usual, whilst bringing scope for new innovations. Talent identification and retention however both for brands and agencies remained a consistent challenge.
With that let’s dive into what are some of the big PR predictions/trends for the year 2023.
1. Changing the narrative: Brands are working hard to build on ‘purpose-led’ communications and at a strategic level, this fundamentally is pushing them to reinvent the messaging overall.
So, while the pandemic brought a new awakening in this context, the corporate communications segment realized the intrinsic strength and recall that this approach shall bring.
In 2022 what started off with issue-based communications, for instance, climate change, gender equity, mental health, and wellness or cybercrime, etc. will be seen in bringing the fundamental shift of what and how a brand should/would stand up. This will lead to a change in the positioning of the communications strategy and action in the form of content delivery.
2. Authentic, human-centric, and influencer-led content will continue to bring value to campaigns: Unlike earlier times, there’s a huge shift from the ‘bollywood celebrity mania’ to the ‘consumer’ or end user/employee being the hero or influencer on most stories. Evolving rules of social media, digital and mobile especially post-pandemic have brought in a significant shift of content consumption patterns where Indians are embracing real-life testimonials for the purchase of goods and services and that has led to PR consultants to work very closely with media, product and employee-led influencers in a big way now as well as design content strategies that would bring the essence of ‘authentic influence’ through strategic counsel.
3. Technology will consistently be the core of storyboarding: Today every business is becoming a tech business with themes like 5G, metaverse, digital, and cloud. In addition, the business world is moving extremely fast, PR strategists will need to catchup to the tech trends and create a differentiator which means constant learning and thinking on the feet.
PRs will need to up their creativity quotient as every sector has a tech and digital context now.
4. Measurability and execution will be dominated by Technology, especially analytics: With tech, there’s more scrutiny on ROI evaluation, and analytics would play a bigger role for senior stakeholders to determine, where and how their investment of time on storyboarding, competition analysis, SEO and keyword analysis should be. PR will no longer be limited to brand awareness/visibility and with concrete evidence of change, will slowly but subtly play the central role in the overall marketing strategy.
5. Owned and shared vs. only earned: With the lines of Digital and traditional mediums blurring, PR strategies are no longer about hardcore press outcome, and more and more brands are advocating ‘owned’ mediums like webpages/blogs/LinkedIn channels to communicate to their audience. What this means is press/media engagement will turn more strategic and a PR campaign will essentially transform into a 360-degree communications approach.
6. New talent models shall evolve: To cater to the speedy and newer demands of business communications and to also tackle issues of attrition, PR teams will be seen bringing a mix of permanent and gig work model. More and more partnerships are poised to take place, especially for regional support, and collaboration across teams will be a given to share resources and bring knowledge exchange for larger wins.
All the learnings from 2022 will also bring bigger, bolder, and sharper campaigns in 2023. However, the true test will be of how brands and agencies would reinvent themselves in order to bring a fine balance between creativity and outcomes for the larger impact.
Communications Strategist, Deloitte India