PR and communications predictions 2022
Will brands shun or stick with social media in 2022? How will businesses leverage PR to engage existing and prospective employees? And, in light of the recent covid announcement, when will we be free to meet up with our media friends again!? A number of the Babel team share their 2022 predictions for the PR and communications industry…
Where Lush leads, others may follow
“Yes, social media is on the rise – I won’t argue that it isn’t. But last month, UK cosmetics retailer Lush raised a few eyebrows when it quit four major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat), going against the common trend of businesses increasing their digital presence via social.
“No stranger to taking a political stance, Lush made this move amid whistleblowing and criticism of the impact of social media on mental health. To reiterate, I do not think for one minute that social media is on the decline. But Lush’s standdown might trigger more businesses to take a stance against social, and rethink their PR and marketing strategies.”
PRs and journalists will re-connect in person
“Perhaps this is somewhat of an optimistic prediction given the latest headlines, but I think 2022 will be the year of greater connections between PRs and journalists.
“After nearly two years of working from home, unable to meet face to face, and at times unable to make that all-important connection with a journalist over the phone, I think the industry will use 2022 to really embrace in-person interactions. That means more value and time will be invested in building relationships rather than sitting behind a screen.
“We may have to wait a few weeks for this to happen, but I’m hopeful that we’ll be introduced to more new faces, catch up with more current clients, and take time out from the office to meet up with more old journalist friends than over the past couple of years. If there’s one thing that working in PR has taught me, it is the power of (human!) connection.”
Communication objectives will increasingly need to support recruitment strategies and employee engagement
“2021 saw job vacancies in the UK top one million, tech skills shortages plague businesses, and conversations around ‘the great resignation’ reach fever pitch. These issues show little sign of abating as we head into 2022, and are likely to have an increasing impact on communications strategies.
“In the coming year, companies will look to leverage PR and social media to boost brand awareness amongst prospective employees while simultaneously engaging existing teams.”
‘Expectation tsunami’ will highlight value of effective comms support
“One of the key takeaways from this years’ CIPR National Conference – which this year focused on ‘stakeholder engagement in a changing world’ – was the idea of an “expectation tsunami”.
“With new information coming to light at such high velocity, sometimes completely shifting the media landscape and conditions in which businesses were operating in, stakeholders’ expectations of their communications teams has been at an all-time high.
They saw the true value of effective communications support in helping them understand what was going on, how that impacted their organisation, what they needed to do as a result, and how best to communicate that.
“Like so many other developments associated with the pandemic, it’s difficult to predict what will bounce back to ‘normal’, but I’d wager that the respect afforded to PR professionals and the high expectations of stakeholders will persist for quite some time.”
Matt, senior campaign director, strategy and insights
“A ‘hybrid’ way of working has become the norm across many sectors, including the PR industry. As lockdown restrictions have lifted and we have seen a return to some sort of normality over the past few months, we have enjoyed a mixture of in-person and remote meetings, events and journalist briefings.
“While many people have relished getting back out into the ‘real world’ and seeing colleagues and acquaintances in the flesh, others have preferred to remain in the relative safety of their own home. And as we in the UK start to adjust to yet another return to more stringent covid restrictions, including guidance to work-from-home where possible, 2022 will be a year in which hybrid working will remain a fact-of-life for many.
“From a media relations perspective, that means that hopes of more regular in-person meetings with our journalist contacts have been put on hold. There are also likely to be fresh concerns about whether the big conferences scheduled for the coming months, including MWC Barcelona, may be impacted by a resurgence of the pandemic.
“At Babel we certainly hope not. MWC is usually well attended by many of our clients. It’s a great opportunity for them to showcase their offering and meet with journalists. So we are keeping our fingers-crossed that come February we will be heading off to Spain!”
Simon, associate director
Hybrid events here to stay as ‘new normal’
“A somewhat pessimistic prediction for those suffering from screen fatigue, but here goes…
“2021 saw 49% of businesses organise between 20-30 virtual events. As new variants of covid-19 emerge and continue to spread globally, working from home is back on the cards. As a result, I predict the number of businesses organising to rise again in 2022, with only a minority allowing in-person attendees. The PR industry will become more reliant on hybrid media roundtables, lunch-and-learns, and webinars.”