By With Global Alliance members
Contributors: Sandra Fathi, CSO at Gregory FCA, Valentina Humar, MD of GJComunicaciones, Amaranta Gaona Avilés, MD of Contacto en Medios, Debbie Zaman, Founder and CEO of With, Andrea Buzzi, Founder and CEO of Frau Wenk, Oli Budgen, Founder of BudComms and Minal D’Rozario, co-founder of Ideosphere.
The last couple of years has been a great learning curve for all of us. PR professionals across the world have demonstrated agility and resilience to ensure business continuity – both for their agencies and their clients. While there is still no clear end to the global pandemic in sight, there is hope 2022 may be a little easier.
Speaking to the With Global Alliance members, we have identified the following global PR trends:
● PR campaigns will increasingly be delivered across multiple media and formats. While written content will remain central, the use of videos will continue to gather momentum. With editorial teams often overstretched, it will increase the need for editorially-ready visual assets that can be repurposed and creatively reused.
● Businesses will pay more and more attention to their budget allocation and to the ROI that a PR campaign generates. PR professionals are expected to even further enhance the tracking and measurement of the results obtained.
● The emergence of “the conscious business” will push the rise in focus on communications around CSR topics, ranging from sustainability to D&I and social purpose.
North America We should bear in mind, as a preliminary consideration, that in the United States the great resignation will continue at an unprecedented rate, with more than 38 million Americans quitting their job in 2021 and 4.5 million in November alone. . It is worth noting, however, that this phenomenon is not taking place only in the US. As a recent Microsoft study has found, 41% of workers worldwide are considering leaving their jobs.
As far as the PR sector is concerned, budgets may shift. While in 2021, with events on hold, the market experienced a boom in PR investments, in 2022 companies will likely turn to a more omnichannel approach and agency budgets could shrink as a reflection of that.
In terms of content creation, worth noting that while content is still king, there are fewer visitors to the castle. As companies are publishing more and more, trends in readership are going down. As long as content remains engaging, it will be more effective to concentrate on a focused audience, including decision makers, rather than appealing to the masses.
LatAm is experiencing a boom in tech startups, from HealthTech to FinTech. In fact, 2021 was historic for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America. According to a CBInsights report, the region received $14.8 billion in 2021, an increase of 174% from 2020. In total, 660 deals were closed, 121 more than the previous year. 2022 to 2025 promises to be an era where the region will see more and more Unicorns being born. From a PR perspective, it is expected that these companies, which are fast and lean, will require PR efforts that emulate their nature, and thus, being fast, creative, and adaptive.
While the pandemic has negatively affected the media industry globally, this has been particularly true in LatAm. As a result, editorial teams are now stretched and expert knowledge has been impacted. One of the emerging trends in the region is a keen appetite for video content from media titles who can leverage it for editorial content – helping them with conveying information quickly and in a format that is easy to publish.
It is worth noting that Influencer Marketing has been ranking high as a key tactic in LatAm for some time, but the introduction of new regulations in some markets (such as Colombia) are likely to reduce the appetite for it.
2022 will see more advanced PR measurement techniques become the norm, as businesses outsourcing PR will increasingly expect to have a holistic view of their ROI across their marketing mix. As part of this holistic approach, we expect to see businesses invest in big content campaigns which will be disseminated across channels and formats. B2B and B2C brands alike will leverage some of the big budgets once ringfenced for events to build impactful hero content campaigns. This represents one of the most conspicuous differences between EMEA and North America, where, as we have seen, businesses will restart investing in the events industry.
Another noteworthy trend is the rise of TikTok – not just for B2C brands but as a channel for B2B marketing. In 2021, UK-based software company Sage launched the #BOSSIT2021 campaign, which aimed to engage with SMEs by asking owners how they were thriving despite the significant challenges encountered throughout the year. B2B campaigns on TikTok are expected to proliferate in 2022. This is all the more likely given that TikTok is significantly expanding its reach, getting increased traction among older users.
Following in the footsteps of the US market, Europe is facing a steeper rise in paid content. However, there will still be multiple ways to secure high-quality earned media. It is increasingly crucial to collaborate with journalists by tailoring angles to specific publication’s needs and offering elements of exclusive content often on a publication by publication basis.
The success of a PR campaign will also depend on the creation of content in formats that best meet the needs of the media (and the rise of data visualization journalists in EMEA is a good example of this). This will also include the gamification of traditional PR assets, such as company’s profile and PR packs. If effectively delivered, gamification is, indeed, a powerful tool allowing to maximise engagement with journalists and other stakeholders.
Across the APAC region, creativity and diversification will mark the PR landscape more than anything else. While different to what is happening in North America, events in APAC are largely still dormant. This means that there is an opportunity for brands to redirect budgets towards more innovative ways to connect with stakeholders. Far from reserved for existing clients, micro-events and educational content platforms will help businesses attract prospects and attention from the media.
As the media is thirsty for creative content pieces, there will likely be an increase in the range of formats, from physical magazines to interactive digital content.
Compared to North America and EMEA, in the APAC region markets have not been heavily impacted by the pay-to-play model yet. While its relevance might increase in the short to medium term, traditional earned media is still very buoyant.
However, we are more similar to the rest of the world when it comes to reputation, with narratives revolving around sustainability and D&I becoming prominent subject matter.
While there is hope we will return to some form of “norm” in 2022, the uncertainty the PR industry went through over the last two years have certainly prepared PR professionals to face anything that could be thrown their way unexpectedly and bounce back with creative and agile solutions for their clients.
The With Global Alliance was founded by With, a multi award winning European tech PR and marketing agency. With is 31 in PR Week’s top tech agencies and a finalist in PR Moment’s Tech Agency of the Year and B2B Agency of the Year. Founding Members also include Gregory FCA, Bud Communications, Ideosphere and WEdge. The With Global Alliance currently has 12 members who are all tech PR specialists and collectively cover 34 markets.