The PR Landscape for 2020

In the last decade, PR was among the most dramatically evolving industries. Communication platforms are changing the way corporations, nonprofits, and small businesses dialog with their audiences. Branding is more visual and interactive and runs deep into the heart and culture of most organizational models. While some public relations trends will continue as the previous year, there are a handful of emerging trends to watch for. They may be well worth working into your PR landscape for 2020.

Content is still king. The past decade has seen fast and furious growth in the importance of content. The upsurge of social media, especially as it evolved from being a personal platform for communication among the young digital generation to an essential business marketing tool, is showing no signs of slowing down. The algorithms and the security systems look different, but digital is here to stay. That is for sure! 

For 2020 consumers of content will continue to be more demanding. The agency can’t afford to get lazy about producing content that is visual, engaging, addresses consumers’ questions, and provides real solutions to problems. For the platform managers, there will be a demand for less advertising – or at the very least, less intrusive advertising. So, if your client’s ad-spend includes social media pop-ups and the like, it may be a good idea to re-think that strategy moving forward. Finally, be on the lookout for emerging social media platforms to take their place alongside the popular Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. 

Authenticity a byword in past decade. Authenticity runs the gamut from sincerity to transparency in one’s space. Gone are the days of ‘faking it until you make it’. Consumers want to know that what an organization offers is truly going to solve real problems and address real needs. Years ago, I had a friend that worked at a construction firm that would always answer the question “Do you have the resources for the job?” with a resounding YES. Great for business, but often there was a huge reaction when awarded a project, i.e., scrambling to put the resources in place. It turned out badly more often than not. 

For 2020. Audiences are asking lots of questions. There are so many options available to them, an organization must depend on true authenticity and transparency just to START working toward the most important element heading into this next decade – relationships! Creating, developing and nurturing B2B and B2C relationships will be top priority in 2020 and beyond.  Brands solve problems, but they will have to bring the A-Game and deepen understanding of the needs of every customer. Master this understanding and win more than 75{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of client-spend. Lack understanding and they will go to the competitor. 

Storytelling has been and always will be the Job #1. Storytelling includes authenticity and transparency but goes steps beyond. In recent years, philanthropic storytelling has become globally popular and widely used by corporations, foundations and nonprofits. Consumers care about more than the products and services offered, they care about what the organization is doing to support the community and meet needs near and far. 

For 2020 digital storytelling will be more data-driven than ever, must catch attention quickly and include testimonials and a focus on helping others. Audiences are community-driven and philanthropy can speak loud and clear to them. So loudly, they will choose to do business based on a community focus even above competitive pricing. For more about digital storytelling trends, check out this article by the Digital Marketing Institute.

The avenue for the influencer. The day of the macro influencer is not over. Digital and social platforms are changing the way followers engage with content. Instagram and Facebook stories have become the trend in the past handful of months, and we are seeing an uptick in the number of these stories coming from businesses and nonprofits. Creating interest and grabbing attention quickly is a winning strategy and won’t fade anytime soon.   

For 2020 Social creativity and community responsibility will prevail. Maddie Raedts is quoted in a number of articles, including this AddRoll piece saying, “People are looking for unique feeds – less polished, but much more real, interesting, and artistic. This makes you stand out from the tough-to-beat algorithms these days.” Followers are looking for content that gives them real people and organizations with a great story, a heart for community and unique products and services. Catching and holding the attention of the 2020 follower is going to be more challenging and require agencies to think outside the box when proposing client strategies and then staffing to support them. 

The PR agency. In my post 5 PR Trends to Embrace in 2019, I wrote about trends in the PR industry that would affect the way we do business and the value our clients are looking for in an agency. I still believe I was spot-on with my predictions and will continue to incorporate the aspects of my agency.

For 2020 the industry will do well to consider developing even more interactive and personal approaches to branding for clients.

Chris KubanChris Kuban started Chemistry PR and Multimedia with a vision to effectively formulate corporate and non-profit brands across the country. In doing so, he has become an expert in Media Relations, Event Management, Social Media implementation and video production.  He engages, coordinates and oversees a diverse team of local and national suppliers, vendors, employees and consultants, allowing him to successfully coordinate over 120 national events focusing on overall logistics, media relations and his clients’ expected ROI. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.