PR & Marketing Trends for 2021: The Focus on Digital

By Donna St. Jean Conti

As we come to the end of this tumultuous year, many of us are looking to 2021 wondering what to expect. What can we plan for? If 2020 taught us anything, we know that we need to expect and plan for the unexpected. That said, we thought we’d see what some of the industry’s experts are saying about current PR and marketing trends and what they mean for the new year.

Keeping a Strong Digital Presence

It is no surprise that with quarantine came an increase in online consumption. However, this will likely continue even after the pandemic, as companies have realized that keeping employees at an office to do menial tasks is not efficient according to Public Relations Today.[1] From a consumer side, keeping a digital presence via livestreams for “live digital events, podcasting, and real-time chat” will likely have increased significance.[2] PR Daily adds a statistic from Hootsuite when they explain that for 2021, “73% of marketers have customer acquisition as the No. 1 goal for social media,” making meaningful content on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram a much larger priority for companies.[3]

Critical Mention further adds to this idea, as they mention that short-form videos such as those seen on Tik Tok are going to arrive on platforms like Facebook and YouTube and allow companies to produce 15-second videos that can then be shared with followers.[4]

With the flexibility and reach of a strong online presence, 2021 could be a year of growth for companies who follow these new trends. However, Critical Mention provides a word of caution that “the internet can be an unforgiving place when it comes to controversy and issues,” and recommends “tracking news and trends related to your industry and seeing what your audience is saying to head off possible conflicts.”[5]

Interacting with Consumers

Although this has always been the case, 2021 will be especially important in terms of connecting with consumers. Fortunately, this has gotten easier as PR Daily points out that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was developed to be more comprehensive in analyzing user interactions and data, and it promises to have a higher return on investment (ROI) for marketers.[6] In addition to this greater level of detail in user interactions, improvements in speech recognition technology “allows (Google) users to reliably speak questions rather than type them, giving more significance to voice search in 2021.”[7]

However, neither of these technological advancements will help anything if your company does not have an effective PR team that communicates meaningful values. As Public Relations Today explains, “although connecting a company with corporate values is not a new idea, 2020 has seen a great deal of norm-shattering and division over culture, politics, and the nature of objective fact.”[8] In essence, it is more imperative now than ever that companies express values and establish trustworthiness during a time in which institutions are looked on with suspicion.

Final Thoughts – 2021, the Year of the Strong Digital Presence

It would appear that 2021 is going to be a year of focusing on having a strong digital presence via social media platforms. This would make sense as during this pandemic, people have had little choice but to go online to pass time. Taking advantage of innovations such as YouTube and Facebook short videos, livestreaming events on platforms such as Twitch, and creating meaningful content on Instagram is going to be the name of the game. Moreover, using analytics and speech recognition technologies will make it easier for consumers to reach you and your products. But as mentioned before, none of these advances will do much if your company is not trustworthy or expressing corporate values. To sum it all up, in 2021 those who are willing to adapt and embrace change in this tumultuous time are most likely to be rewarded.

 

[1] Public Relations Today, “PR and Communications Trends For 2021,” https://www.publicrelationstoday.com/2021/marketing/trends/?open-article-id=14937647&article-title=pr-and-communications-trends-for-2021&blog-domain=crenshawcomm.com&blog-title=impressions—crenshaw-communications.
[2] Public Relations Today, “PR and Communications Trends For 2021,” https://www.publicrelationstoday.com/2021/marketing/trends/?open-article-id=14937647&article-title=pr-and-communications-trends-for-2021&blog-domain=crenshawcomm.com&blog-title=impressions—crenshaw-communications.
[3] PR Daily, “2021 Trends CMOs Are Watching,” https://www.prdaily.com/2021-trends-cmos-are-watching/.
[4] Critical Mention, “PR Trends to be Aware of for 2021,” https://www.criticalmention.com/blog/public-relations/pr-trends-to-be-aware-of-for-2021/.
[5] Critical Mention, “PR Trends to be Aware of for 2021,” https://www.criticalmention.com/blog/public-relations/pr-trends-to-be-aware-of-for-2021/.
[6] PR Daily, “2021 Trends CMOs Are Watching,” https://www.prdaily.com/2021-trends-cmos-are-watching/.
[7] PR Daily, “2021 Trends CMOs Are Watching,” https://www.prdaily.com/2021-trends-cmos-are-watching/.
[8] Public Relations Today, “PR and Communications Trends For 2021,” https://www.publicrelationstoday.com/2021/marketing/trends/?open-article-id=14937647&article-title=pr-and-communications-trends-for-2021&blog-domain=crenshawcomm.com&blog-title=impressions—crenshaw-communications.

 

Donna St. Jean Conti is president of St. Conti Communications, an award-winning, full-service, marketing communications agency specializing in public relations, social media, and writing support. For more information about our agency and how we can help you promote your products or services, contact Donna St. Jean Conti, APR, at dconti (at) stconticommunications.com.

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