By Joanna Kasoulidou*
The flexibility and knowledge of 360˚ strategies, the alignment with the needs of the new reality, the responsibility that must govern every action and initiative. As public relations professionals, we are called upon to employ all these in combination with hybrid tools, to follow international trends with a microscope and to act proactively, not just to create and protect a superficial corporate image, but to establish relationships of trust and the building of credibility, which will be based on offering value to the consumer, society and the environment.
The concept of corporate reputation is redefined and defined through the prism of human-centeredness and all of us, in public relations, focus on holism, flexibility and a meaningful connection with consumers, ensuring that the customer image goes beyond 'appearance', gaining depth and substance.
Operating in an environment of increasing complexity, brands are asked to restore their very position and their mission, giving priority more to the person and less to the consumer, creating an overall relationship of trust with concepts such as reliability, empathy and sensitivity.< /p>
The communication strategy that we publicists are asked to create is no longer isolated to only certain pillars, which possibly “speak” better to the business. We are now called upon to formulate a 360˚ strategy for clients, which will be flexible, leave a positive imprint on society and have plan B in mind.
Company reputation is now built with great effort, it takes time and it requires consistency, continuity and creativity, while it is determined by all the “points of contact” of a corporate brand with all stakeholders.
Ethics at the center
With these data, brands claim an active role towards society, shaping systems that meet the priorities and expectations of consumers. Therefore, it is now required of communication professionals to plan and implement purpose-driven plans and strategies, with a clear and specific purpose, which is identified with the values and principles of their clients.
Personally, I will admit that working in public relations is more interesting than ever, but at the same time, it has acquired greater responsibilities than ever. In recent years, we have been taught that everything can change with incredible challenges in matters of business as usual and in the way of life, interaction and communication.
At the level of communication, the need for leadership, serious commitment is now clear facing challenges, such as the environment and climate change, sincere engagement with stakeholders, combination and balance between data intelligence and human intelligence.
Today, more than ever, strategically, businesses and brands are forced to outline communication with impactful PR campaigns, which are based on honest dialogue, substantial commitment and building trust.
Systematic and readiness
Proactive reputation management is becoming a central pillar of the strategy, noting that consumers do not believe news about companies that systematically surround their actions and image with positive messages. They want to see action. Such an approach requires proper planning and systematicity, alongside, of course, vigilance and preparation for possible crises.
The main prerequisites and key features of a proactive reputation management strategy are the expanded perspective, in-depth research and understanding of perceptions and trends, contact with reality and developments, insight, methodical planning of messages and communication actions, passion for quality and sincere engagement.
At the same time, the vision, knowledge, experience, reliability and honest dialogue that should characterize the operation and communication method of every company, emerge as important assets in the interaction with all its commons, but also necessary conditions for strengthening, maintaining and shielding its reputation.
Must-haves: authenticity, honesty and news trends
Multimedia and personalized content for stakeholders, authenticity in communication, the shift to Generation Z and the integration of the triple inclusion-diversity-awareness, are just some of the trends that will affect the public relations industry in 2024.
The field of PR is directly affected by stakeholders, who are in turn affected by a variety of variables and changes, related to technology, market or society. We PR professionals are now required to use a mix of platforms in order to create and share content capable of provoking audience interaction. This is combined with the production and sending of relevant and personalized information for the target audience.
We are called to put special emphasis on Generation Z, analyzing the trends they follow and building an honest relationship with them, as well as practically incorporating into our plans, their philosophy, the principles of inclusiveness and diversity they seek.
< p>The right mix of actions, depending on the customer's profile, but also the way of communication, which is aligned with the values of each brand, are the guidelines for the implementation of the appropriate communication plan.
In the “arena” of digital PR
The “ideal” Digital-PR plan in the sense of one-size-fits-all does not exist, which is why at DELEMA McCann, we deal with each client separately and always with an emphasis on the particular needs, which can based on his field of work and the activities he wants to emphasize.
Digital media and especially social networking platforms are taking center stage, not only for their ability to amplify the voice of the consumer, but also thanks to the opportunities they offer brands to get closer to their base. We often use them as a direct channel of communication with the public, approaching them in new, unique and more… personal ways.
And while digital strategy is here to stay, our role in Public Relations is to be able to choose the right tools to use, depending on the type of brand, the target audience and the actions it wants to communicate. This possibility allows us to approach the public in a simple and everyday way, to build more personal relationships, to complement the initiatives of the brands, to strengthen the impact of the actions and to increase the reach of the messages we want to get out.
TikTok is about to dethrone Facebook, Podcasts bring the digital revival of radio, articles through AI commands, AI influencers enter our lives, CGI videos create impressive publicity opportunities, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology enters the creation interactive and experiential promotional events, hologram personas now host speeches and presentations… and all these are just some of the new tools we can use today in our PR plan for brands to reach their audience.
< p>Creating a new generation of executives and industry awareness
While everyday life is overwhelmed by terms such as fake news, personalization, multichannel, technology, changing consumer needs, disinformation, content creators, crisis management, etc., PR professionals clarify that the dissemination of information and the development of digital technology create new needs of companies, organizations and overall brands.
Personally, I see the field of communication focusing on creating the new generation of executives. Technology has given our industry, over the last decade, tremendous expertise in our executives and here at DELEMA McCANN, the PR team has constant friction with digital marketing experts, performance, influencers, marketing, content creators, social media, etc. .
However, on the one hand, the area needs this specialization, but at the same time, it is necessary to have executives with experience, who can see communication globally in order to make proper matching and integration. of the puzzle.
The new reality
In the “new reality”, the consumer realizes the power of his “voice” and is willing to use it. Now, he wants and seeks “something more”. It evaluates a company's attitude towards society, its identity, its footprint on the environment, its values. He wants to see action. In this context, our initiatives must align with global trends, take a stand and implement actions and programs for tomorrow's needs. For sustainability, for the new generation, for innovation. To ensure that the actions implemented in the present are aimed at a better future. For everyone.
*Joanna Kasoulidou is Project & Relations Director at DELEMA MCCANN.
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