How the pandemic changed the PR industry

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The entire world has changed during the pandemic, and has had to get used to new regulations and safety protocols. The pandemic has changed the way PR professionals communicate, and some of these changes are likely to stay. Businesses ranging from international airlines and tourism operators to local businesses were impacted. Other than the health emergency, many organizations faced crises because of restrictions to their operations, as well as income losses. The pandemic led to the loss of more than 1 billion jobs both temporarily and permanently, as businesses closed down, resulting in economic hardship, anxiety, and panic among workers. PR professionals realized that they had to be consistent and clear about their messages because of the uncertainty that came with the crisis. Given below are the ways the PR industry has changed during the critical months of the pandemic.

1)  Campaigns must now reflect empathy – The pandemic is challenging businesses to innovate and adapt. It has brought the audiences’ needs to the forefront, and it is crucial for PR to align their communications with these needs in order to connect effectively with the audience. The tone of communication should be infused with compassion, gratitude, comfort and humor. Brands and companies have moved away from overselling. For instance, Nike’s messaging moved towards a larger societal issue: The Black Lives Matter movement. Nike announced a $40 million commitment over the next four years to support the Black community.

2) Virtual events – Virtual PR events are here to stay. The venue may have changed, but the expectations have not. Virtual events are still about engaging the audience and answering a series of important questions that puts that audience’s  interests as the driving force behind the event . PR’s role in the world of virtual events has never been stronger. The technology may have changed, but personalization, process and execution now matter more than ever. Halliday held its first digital event in 2020, an online wine tasting. Complimentary wines were delivered to attendees’ doors, along with a beautiful platter box. Guests were able to sit in the comfort of their own home while listening to renowned wine expert and tasting panelist, Jeni Port.

3) The pivotal role played by social media – Social media has become even more important as a means to stay connected when physically apart. The popularity of apps like Tiktok has increased immensely because of their ability to offer interesting, engaging content. Social media has made PR faster-paced,  removes the walls between an audience and a brand, and reduces the time  businesses have to react to stories. For crisis response and brand messaging, PR professionals treat social media as the first line of defense for companies in this increasingly hyperconnected world. Social media gives PR practitioners immediate access to a large, attentive audience. For instance, Twitter is often used for product launches and company updates.

4) Information should be  local and targeted – Lockdowns and shaky economies have led to a sense of community across the world. According to a survey, consumers are more likely to shop locally in the long term. Creating tailored content and news to suit targeted audiences is a priority. For instance, the NSW Rural Fire Service in its latest ad campaign featured people who had lost their homes in recent bushfires. The campaign presented information respectfully, and in a way that was easy to understand .

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