The ‘New Normal’ for PR during and post COVID-19

In these tough times, PR has emerged as a winner in communicating the right message to the audience at the right time. Natasha Gupta, Founder & CEO, Story Brews Communications, offers some simple moves can become a big game-changer for all PR professionals.

We are living in unprecedented times that require us to innovate the way businesses operate and communicate. A lot of brand promotion required innovation and realignment to reach the audience to make businesses profitable. With BTL promotions, press conferences, events and exhibitions taking a hit, innovation is being brought about in brand promotion through public relations. Our species is nothing if not resilient. Whatever life throws at us, we get up, shrug, and find ways to deal with it. And so, we have done exactly that with this unprecedented situation that just could not have been anticipated. We have found ways to keep in touch without meeting physically.

Last year, most of the businesses had to quickly think on their toes and find ways to connect with their customers. They needed to retain existing customers and find new ones – but the challenge was how?

As the name suggests, public relations means constant communication. And, in these tough times, this constant communication is what will make sure the consumer is reminded of the brand time and again. 

So, here are the interesting ways that PR professionals have adopted as the ‘new normal’:  

Expand your influencer base

Social media influencers are far more important in today’s communication sphere than traditional media. With a high-power reach to a wide range of audience, social media influencers can be your gateway to making the brand more visible among the millennials. But should you reach out to any influencer? Creating a base of social media influencers that are true to a brand and its product range is the key. This practice of creating brand visibility through social media is only beneficial when the influencer has an audience base that resonates with the brand being promoted.

Bringing out the right message

Right now, in times when the common man is the middle of a healthcare crisis, the brand stories and articles should be focused on what this common wants to read at present. If you have an article that does not focus on COVID-19, its challenges or what’s next in-store, it will not work in the current times. Whether your client is healthcare, technology, FMCG or any consumer-related brand, human stories that talk about dealing with current times are what will cut various media.

Trade media stays strong

Trade media is here to stay. In times of globalisation, it is trade media, which is accelerating the PR business. While most national dailies today are focused on COVID-19 day in and day out, trade media is what will publish brands. Brands that want a story on how their business/ industry is innovating in these tough times. It is observed that reaching out to the good ol’ trade media is helpful. 

Become “socially responsible” within the organisation

Are brands looking for a PR value when they become socially responsible within the organisation during the pandemic? A lot of companies in the past two months started activities, including vaccination drives, which helped their employees during the second wave. However, it was difficult to convince the media that these brands were in reality being “responsible”. Most of these activities were thought to be real when posts went viral on social media rather than press releases reaching journalists’ inboxes.

So, don’t let the brands take these initiatives just for PR promotions. Let these simply be social responsible initiatives that are for their employees’ well-being.

Speaking Engagements

Webinars emerged as an effective solution to the problem at hand. In the pre-COVID-19 era, the existence of webinars was limited to a specific target audience. In the last one year though, an average person has either been a panelist or an attendee in several webinars a month. As per a report published by Outgrow, an average of 20-40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads. If this data is to be believed, webinars are a cost-effective way to promote your business and get relevant incoming leads. Webinars have proven to be effective for marketers and have stood the test of time over the last one year of working in the new normal.

In these tough times, PR has emerged as a winner in communicating the right message to the audience at the right time. These simple moves can become a big game-changer for all PR professional, whether working independently or at an agency. It has truly emerged as a fruitful bet for organizations and entrepreneurs alike over the last year, and I believe all these trends are here to stay. 


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