By Katina Prokos
Happy New Year! Since the only constant in communications is change, this year it is more important than ever to look ahead and adapt public relations strategies accordingly.
Keep the following trends in mind to give your brand an edge in 2015:
With audiences exposed to hundreds of marketing messages daily, it is becoming increasingly more important to communicate in a visual language that is instantly comprehensible. The term “visual storytelling” is everywhere, and the key to doing it successfully is “show, don’t tell” whenever possible. The less explanation that an image needs to be understood, the better it is.
There will continue to be a strong emphasis on the importance of producing multimedia content using platforms like Instagram and Vine. Companies would be wise to learn how to strategically integrate these tools into their daily interactions with consumers. For inspiration, check out Lowe’s charming ‘Fix in Six’ campaign on Vine, where stop-motion shorts engage with consumers by showing simple DIY tricks to try at home.
Social Media Integration:
Similar to the first point, the best way to reach your audience in this day and age is through social media. For companies who have been relying on interns to generate social media posts, 2015 will be the year to strategize what to post when and for what purpose.
It would be wise for organizations to develop a social media team, no matter what size. Social media integration should not be an afterthought, but should be at the forefront of any campaign. Keep in mind that content is more important than quantity when it comes to digital media. Effective social media content is conversational in tone and fosters back-and-forth communication between the company and consumers.
More than ever, companies should have a plan in place for crisis communications. In the age of the smartphone, a public relations crisis can emerge as quickly as a simple photograph, Tweet or blog post goes online. Today’s consumers have powerful communication tools in their pockets and are increasingly vocal about negative interactions with a company, whether it’s a restaurant, airline or entertainment venue.
With more people utilizing social media through portable devices and information spreading faster, it is critical to have a plan in place in case a crisis emerges. You can make sure your organization is prepared for scrutiny by developing a basic crisis communications plan with room for situational adjustment. Identify a crisis communications team before an incident, and practicing the plan every few months. If you’re not sure where to begin, try researching the crisis communications plans that similar organizations have developed.
As the ways we communicate continue to evolve, embrace change to have a truly happy new year!
Katina Prokos is the Marketing Assistant at the Florida Museum of Natural History. She is a member of the FPRA Gainesville Chapter and recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.