#RoadTo2021: PR trends that need to die in 2021

Tarunjeet Rattan

In the milieu of the changing media & consumer dynamics, Tarunjeet Rattan, Nucleus PR, shares how PR firms can evolve, leaving behind practices that are just so 2020.

There are many interesting new trends that we have embraced in 2020 and will be introduced in 2021 that we can’t wait to see pan out. Here is a list of PR trends that I would definitely want to leave behind, and start 2021 afresh.

Read on to know what and why: 

Micro Mindset

For long the PR profession was equated with coverage. They probably would be addressed in a brand meeting only on coverage requirements, expectations and deliverables achieved on it. The PR teams need to change this by changing their mindset and setting new expectations from brand teams. While a few of us have broken the mold and slowly eased into being brand reputation consultants, most of the industry has been stuck in the ‘coverage’ corner.

2021 is the year for you to break that pattern and grab more authority in the board room.

Think beyond coverage.

Look at real business impact, reputation implications, and new mediums that communication can create for a company to create a strong brand that resonates with its target audience and not just media. It’s now or never.

Traditional Media Led Plans

Yes, we have been predicting the death and the removal of traditional media from PR plans for the better half of the last decade. However, it never really happened. We pretty much dragged this out for as long as we could. Digital PR was still on the fringes and a specialised field. Much of the PR industry relied on traditional media to make up the bulk of the reason for their existence.

2020 has been a game changer in that sense. It has accelerated a decade’s worth of growth in the PR industry as well. PR professionals will have to graduate into being reputation management experts, adopt PESO models and think strategically to keep their seat at the table. Wisen up quickly.

Also Read: Opinion Showcasing brand love Inside Out: Leveraging employees as brand ambassadors

EQ Devoid PR Pitches

Most PR teams work in silos and with their head under the sand without keeping in mind the political, economic, or environmental situation around them and how it impacts their end customers. This has got to stop.

You can’t sell a cake when people are starving in the streets just because your client says so.

This usually happens because the individual would be so focused on their own client, client happiness, and coverage.

About time, PR teams started adopting more EQ (emotional quotient) in their work and media pitches. And if client teams are unable to see it, reason with them to help them understand how they would be perceived on the story pitch. You must be the voice of reason. The conscience of the brand. Trust me you will be appreciated much more by all communities as a brand and as a professional. Lead with your humanity. 

PR Bashing

Believe you me, this was a trend and continues to be so. I would very much like to leave this despicable workplace behavior behind with all the rest of the stuff we don’t want to see from 2020. PR professionals have often been called out for all sorts of pitches. While earlier most journalists would just put the email in spam, they aren’t pulling any punches now. Most have taken to social media to showcase this. Clients, media and other industry verticals think nothing of putting up a post or tweet berating and attacking PR professionals on a personal level.

Picking on the new kid in class continues sporadically even now but the rules of the game have changed this year. The kid has smartened up and will punch back to defend itself. 2020 bought the entire industry together and created a good sense of solidarity where we have risen to the defense of our brethren beyond company borders. Hugs all around!

Finishing Familiar

There was a time when the senior-most person in the organisation was considered to be the most knowledgeable. True in terms of experience, but is the knowledge relevant for today’s scenario?

The best of the leaders always advocate ‘being teachable’ as one of the strongest skills that helped them stay on top of their games.

The high-handed know-it-all attitude needs to be let go of if you want to continue to be relevant in the industry. 2020 has opened up a world of learning for PR professionals of all ages.

As an integral part of brand reputation, PR requires constant upskilling to ensure that it has a finger on the pulse of its audience. And if one chooses to shy away from new learnings, you might as well finish familiar and move out of the profession. So let go of that ego, and learn to not just survive but thrive in the industry.  

This piece has been authored by Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR

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