PR Trends for 2023

By Nikki Wright

2023 will provide enormous opportunities for PR companies to communicate how their clients are doing the right thing, but, as always, there are trends to apprehend, and ways to modernise and evolve. 

Ongoing economic pressure will compel Kiwi households to tighten their belts. Sensitive to this, the messaging in PR campaigns will emphasise affordability, accessibility and the reduction, reuse, and recycling of waste.

There will be continued encouragement, and training, for companies to incorporate tikanga, te reo, and Te Ao Māori in their approach to business which will flow through to their internal and external communications.

2023 is also an election year, so a lot of the media’s focus will switch to politics. Companies will be busy building relationships across the political spectrum to make sure they aren’t lacking in influence or relationships when a new Government is formed. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Inclusivity and belonging in the workplace will be an ongoing goal for companies. The widely acknowledged concerns of the gender pay gap and the progress and recognition of women in leadership has broadened to encompass neurodiverse, sexual and gender-diverse employees. 2023 will see a further fostering of that sense of belonging in company culture.

This is part of a wider theme of empathy in business, and the PR that goes with it. There will be an ever-increasing expectation from consumers that businesses will be active members of the communities, and stewards of the environment in which they do business. There is a perception that companies need to take more responsibility for their role in society, with many consumers more likely to make a purchase from a company that shows empathy. In 2023, communications copy, and media pitch angles should be conscious, when necessary, of prevailing social mores and global issues.

Simplified Brand Messaging Will Resonate More 

Attention spans have narrowed in the modern age, and there is less receptivity to lengthy copy. Consumers want to read short and punchy brand stories. This will mean simplifying your clients’ brand messaging. Keep things concise, without compromising on your core messaging. You may only have a few sentences to get your point across, so be emphatic.

The flow-on benefit of this approach is that shorter messaging translates well to social media. Shorter iterations of your theme can be carried out across multiple platforms to reach your client’s target audience, no matter where they are.

Remaining Fleet-Footed

The prevailing cultural winds can change, opportunities can be fleeting and situations can be fluid. You need to be ready and able to pivot and overhaul your strategy at a moment’s notice. This could involve prepping multiple pitch angles in advance, brainstorming different strategies, or keeping an eye on developing news that may impact your clients. 

Companies will focus on their responsibilities

A growing number of large companies are using Kantar’s RepZ framework / Corporate Reputation Index as a yardstick for reputation health.  Of the four pillars that ladder up to a resilient reputation (leadership, responsibility, trust, fairness) it is the responsibility pillar, how companies look after their people and the environment, which is often the weakest.  In 2023 companies will work hard to share what they are doing to strengthen the public’s perception of their policies, management approach, strategies, and initiatives in this space.  With the introduction of the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures due out in October business impacts on the environment will be a hot topic.

 In-Person Events and Face to Face Interactions are Back 

The world has opened back up, and one of the most exciting 2023 PR trends will be the return of more live, in-person events. Businesses can leverage experiences like networking events and industry conferences to promote their CEOs and brands.

PR companies can work with clients to re-incorporate in-person events into their launch plans.

Media Interviews will be In-person and Virtual

Face-to-face interviews have returned during 2022 enabling the synergy of in-depth features, profiles, and discussions of prevailing topics.  Its likely media outlets will retain virtual interviews in their repertoire though, as it’s cost effective.  This will enable company spokespeople and other interviewees in far flung corners of the country opportunities to be interviewed which in turn should increase the diversity of kiwis we see on screen.

Social Media

PR pros will continue to use more varied social media channels to identify the right ones for their clients. TikTok is having a moment and more organisations are likely to trial campaigns on this platform. LinkedIn will continue to be an effective way for subject matter experts to reach key stakeholders. Content creators (with a trend towards micro influencers) on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook will continue to collaborate with consumer facing brands.  Owned media will become more critical for brands to build their digital presence and visibility. This includes blog articles, newsletters, and social media posts on a brand’s personal channels.

Lastly, in 2023, a good strategy will be collaboration with creators to make something original and engaging for their audience. Bringing in a creator or two early on and having them contribute to the brainstorming process will be another element to add to campaigns.

The Growth of Analytics

In 2023, there will be a further emphasis on quantifying a campaign through metrics and analytics. Outlets can offer information like their number of monthly unique visitors but that doesn’t really offer the full data picture that brands are looking for. Brands want to know how their PR efforts are changing brand perception, convincing clients to make purchases, and instilling loyalty.

Thanks to PR analytics tools, these things are becoming easier to measure. Brands and their PR agency must begin with strong KPIs so they know what they actually want to measure, and how important each metric is to their stated business goals. With this foundation, PR specialists will be able to best combine their instincts, storytelling, and X-factor in fostering relationships, with sophisticated analytics, to develop and execute successful campaigns.

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