PR Predictions From Ayelet Noff of SlicedBrand

Ayelet Noff, Founder and CEO of SlicedBrand, has been in the PR and marketing space for the last 20 years, and has led the PR activities of over a thousand technology companies in various fields, including AI, health tech, blockchain, mobile, cybersecurity, and fintech.

We asked her today about her 2021 Predictions for the public relations industry.

What do you predict for 2021? “During 2020, we PR pros became very attuned to the needs of the people we are reaching out to — in both our messaging and activities. There’s no knowing how 2021 will play out as far as the pandemic is concerned, so PR pros must bring the lessons we learned in 2020 as we leave it behind.

I predict that 2021 will see the rise of the altruistic brand in PR outreach. The world is still in the midst of a pandemic, and people are going through tough times. Smart brands will be looking outward and will focus their PR on helping people.

2021 will see kinder and more sensitive messaging that is tailored to people’s ongoing concerns about their jobs, their kids, their parents, and their own health. Much more attention will be paid to the language and specific words used in outreach – regardless of whether it’s a press release, blog post, LinkedIn post, newsletter, or even a tweet.

We’ll also see brands actively sharing knowledge to help people improve their situation, in whatever way they can. Not only offering discounts, but educating people. Brands will look to help consumers as they seek additional sources of income, learn how to use new technologies and improve their skills, and pursue new employment opportunities. And that’s just on a small scale.

On a larger scale, Burger King’s recent move to promote other restaurants takes this sharing concept to the next level. 2021 will see brands cooperating together to figure out ways of saving entire industries that are floundering. There’s a saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” and I predict more and more brands will follow Burger King’s lead within their respective industries.”

What will PR see change in 2021?

The biggest change will be in messaging. While brands will still share announcements, the focus will be on providing real value to people who are going through tough times. As mentioned above, messages will be tailored so that the language is really attuned to people’s ongoing concerns.

Although we all have high hopes for 2021, things will take time and we don’t know how long it will be before we return to any semblance of “normal.” Even if consumers can’t stay connected with the world physically, they are doing so digitally, which means that people are attached to their devices more than ever before and content is once again king. There is a real need for interesting, value-added content, and moving forward, brands will be stepping in to fill that need.

What will be big in marketing in 2021?

Collaborations between brands will be big in marketing in 2021, and not just for cross-marketing initiatives. These collaborations will be much more outward-looking and focused on more altruistic motivations. 

User-generated content will play a larger role as well, as brands increasingly rely on customers’ storytelling to fill the growing need for content. And, of course, video and high quality images are an important piece of this storytelling.

What do you predict for social media in 2021? 

People are still working from home, under transportation restrictions, or lockdowns, and they want/need to stay in touch with folks outside their home or apartment. Social media platforms are a primary means of doing so. So while brands will continue to see social media platforms playing a big role in their marketing efforts, they’ll shuffle their priorities as to which they should focus on. TikTok is drawing people in droves and will become much more significant for brands in 2021. And with the events industry shifting to virtual alternatives, newcomers likeClubhouse, which is getting lots of buzz in its “invite only” stage, will continue to fill an increasing need. 

Another big shift in social media is on the horizon. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with data privacy issues. We’re already seeing lots of lively discussions around Apple’s new requirement that apps in its App Store allow users to opt-out of tracking. Of course, the anti-trust lawsuits seeking to break up Facebook and Google will have their own repercussions on the industry, as marketers will need to rethink processes for the use and analytics of non-integrated channels and services. As the calls for privacy grow stronger, marketers will no longer be able to use the targeting options made possible by all the data that social media platforms currently collect.

What do you predict for influencers in 2021?

Influencers will continue to be significant in 2021, but the types of influencers getting the most attention will change. There are three types of influencers that will capture attention: 

The first type provides inspiration and guidance through their real-life stories. People love self-help advice and need a boost of positivity now more than ever before.  The second type offers pure entertainment value, offering escapist laughter and a chance to leave our reality behind. 

And there’s a third type of influencer on the rise — the freelance journalist. With the downsizing of newsrooms, many journalists are now working independently. They’re having to develop personal brands and attract followers outside of their affiliation with a single media outlet. We’ll see freelance journalist influencers relying more and more on digital platforms like Patreon and Substack as they grow their followings.

Accordingly, brands will start rethinking how they can use these types of influencers to reach broader audiences.

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