We sat in our homes, quarantined, sanctuaried, figuring out our way through what it was like to be in lockdown. Scrolled, road the Internet waves, gamed, self-taught new skills through YouTube, learned some new moves on TikTok, Zoomed with our colleagues, stayed on mute twelve too many times, and tried to teach our parents how to turn their cameras on so we could see their faces and connect.
Connect. Relate. Interact. Engage.
No matter how we did it, no matter how we do it…connection is all around. And in the world of public relations, that is the thing that matters most when it comes it our very human audiences.
Now, as we navigate the path in front of us in a sea of pro-maskers, anti-maskers, vaccine advocates, no-vaccine-no-wayers, and the neutral, we also have to take a look around and understand the best way to connect clients of all kinds with people of many different opinions, emotions, and feelings as we progress to a better side of this pandemic.
So, what is the best way to connect and create campaigns that engage the public? Well, the great answer is – It depends.
Getting Old School: Where is everyone spending their time these days? Well, look what you’re doing right now – ONLINE. This may sound old school, but I’ll suggest it anyway, because Chanel, Dior, Prada, Loewe and Alighieri did it, and well, they have been around for a while and know a thing or two — as we ease our way into some normalcy, get offline when you publicize and market! If it fits your demo, test the post-pandemic waters with print. Does this mean go out and buy a bunch of print advertising? Not necessarily. Get creative. Mansur Gavriel sent a 32-page visual display of editorial imagery and artwork and showcased their brand and products to put something in front of their audience that didn’t require bluelight-blocking glasses. This may not be the way for all, but it undoubtedly will stand out in a spot where all we usually see is bills and “spam” snail mail, if you will.
Note: If you follow this post-pandemic trend, be sure to have 1. a goal, and 2. a measurement of that goal.
Being Virtual-Minded: On the complete opposite end of the spectrum sits virtual and augmented reality. Augmented and virtual reality, along with gamification, will continue to rise as we continue to progress past the days of lockdowns and quarantine. Retailers, big brand names, parks & rec, you name it – so many are looking to be in the AR app space in order to help consumers, guests, visitors, and clients imagine themselves with their product, service or experience. IKEA is one great example. With the use of their app, you can see what a particular type of furniture would look like in your home.
Note: Understand the investment and if this makes sense for you as a company. Perhaps you’re a stylist and want to use an app to show clients what a new hairstyle would look like. Maybe you’re a hotel or getaway lodge and want to give your potential guests the feel of what it would be like to stay there. Do this if it makes sense and you believe it will convert, and of course, consult app and PR experts in order to help determine this. Another important consideration is the entrance of WebAR and the effect it may have on AR apps. If you want to know more about that, REWIND had an interesting recent take.
Enter the Nano: Influencer, that is. Since we’re no longer keeping up with the Kardashians (yes, I said it, even though I’ve never watched an episode), maybe it’s not so important that they endorse the products of our clients. As we are in a more sensitive environment to essentially anything that is posted on social media, one of the most important things social media users and consumers need is someone to trust. Celebrities aren’t necessarily those people.
By definition, micro-influencers have been 1,000 to 1,000,000. Well, to me, a million is more than I’d care to believe find high TRUST in an influencer. Though in some cases, that belief is wrong, and influencers have proven it. We have found and concur with the trend that lies ahead that nano influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers) have a stronger connection to and a more loyal following than those with skyrocketing numbers. Does that mean the skyrockets don’t work? Nope. It just means that brands are doing a better job at identifying a NICHE audience instead of blanketing the market.
Note: Find influencers who make sense FOR YOUR AUDIENCE, and understand – this is an investment that should have a return.
Online Date Your Customer: This trend is not only PR-based. It’s a thoughtful idea that Harvard Business Review brought to the forefront that is a good application for ALL elements of business. One of our three uniques at Sammis|Ochoa is being data-driven. And this…is that. When you online date, you’re looking for data, specifics, measurables, and the like. Online date your customer. Dig into the research, data, analytics, click-through rates, time spent on sites, and the many other pieces of information you can find. Then, do your best to understand algorithms (a toughy, yes, but you have to do it in order to try to keep up with content posting that flourishes). Know what grabs the interest and appeals to your customer (potential dating prospect) and use it in your content.
Note: Keep your brand and your image intact, while also looking at the data to find what appeals and most importantly, engages, your customer.
Can you implement all of these trends in application without PR professionals? Is it better with them? Of course. And we’re here, waiting in your corner.