We asked some prominent PR practitioners in the South West to dust down their crystal ball and share their predictions for the industry in 2022 in the region. Here’s what they said:
Andrea Sexton, CEO & Founder, Admire PR
“The past year has seen so much change in the way people consume media and this will continue into 2022, with more people working from home local and regional publications and broadcast media will continue to grow in importance as a relevant outlet for many businesses.”
Debbie Stavely, CEO & Founder, bClear Communications
“Digital is here to stay and a greater part of every PR company’s role likely to be in the digital sphere, be it social media or digital content. At the same time people are also looking for more personal interaction, think personal emails to journalists rather than a mail merge. We also expect a move towards more face-to-face meetings with clients and journalists but with a focus on a few quality meetings supported by the digital channels. This ongoing shift to remote working might mean that clients are also more open to working with PR agencies outside of London, who get the same results but charge slightly less.
“ESG will play an increasingly important role. As companies in all sectors need to focus on governance, inclusion and the environment, PR agencies can help to drive and shape their clients’ approach by stressing the importance of values led PR to improve and enhance their clients’ reputations.”
Guy Woodcock, Founding Director, Montpellier, and PRCA Board Member
“After almost two years of ‘pandemia’ and stasis in many if not most parts of the economy, I think 2022 has the potential to be a year of tremendous bounce-back for PR in the region. Many firms have held the line through difficult times, have learnt new ways of working with clients and their people, whilst the perceived obstacle of geography, travel and location have been significantly reduced by technology and remote working tools that increase our relative competitiveness for national level work.
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, Managing Director Clearly PR
“2022 will see the emergence of one new stand for PR, and the escalation of another.
On the latter, trust in societal institutions has been waning for several years, but events of the last 18 months appear to have raised more questions over their competence and ethics than ever before. This has given rise to businesses (and their leaders) as the prominent providers of information who are playing a dual role of sense-maker and sense-checker at the same time. As such, executive profiling has fast become a key element within organisational communications strategies throughout 2021 and we see this continuing into 2022 and beyond.
“On the former, it is universally recognised that consumer purchasing decisions have increasingly been shaped by how an organisation acts and what it says. Some brands and businesses have sought to exploit this by greenwashing their communications, but they are already beginning to be found out. Customers are savvy. They are demanding social proof of such claims. Those who pay lip service to their commitment to sustainability and social impact will equally pay the price if no such proof is forthcoming. To distinguish themselves from these negative entities, authentic purpose-led organisations will incorporate environmental and social governance (ESG) reporting within their communications plans.”
So, some positive views for the region and some common views on the growth of digital tech and digital channels alongside the ever-growing presence of ESG factors on every agenda.
What do you think?