As the fever dream that was 2020 is officially over, we look forward to 2021 with a more hopeful gaze. The challenges of last year has managed to showcase the industry's increased resilience and a stronger bone for adaptability, and this year, leaders look towards new learnings around the vaccine rollout, social and economic issues, and scrutiny on genuine messaging.
'Data and analytics will be king' – Valerie Pinto, CEO, Weber Shandwick India
2021 will be the year of data and analytics, centered on leveraging data to arrive at a strategy that can be linked to business outcomes.
Creativity will be at the heart of everything we do—not just campaigns. PR professionals will be encouraged to apply creative thinking to every aspect of their job going forward as we contend with new ways of interacting with clients, new mediums of communicating with peers, new thinking with regards to content that connects and engages, and new ways to measure every outcome.
As I see it, there will see an aggressive transition of the industry this year—and data and analytics will be essential in helping us navigate it.
'The rise and rise of ESG' – Lee Nugent, EVP and regional director (APAC) at Archetype
We expect more and more businesses will evolve their CSR strategies—which in the past were all too often box-ticking exercises—into more meaningful and 'true-to-self' positions on environmental, social issues and corporate governance (ESG). This will largely be driven by organisations that understand what matters most to their employees, customers and—yes—activist investors.
In Asia, the focus will be on issues more relevant to our region, such as eradicating poverty, improving healthcare (including access to vaccines), clean water, better education, reducing plastic waste and pollution, and pursuing economic growth. That's not to say those of us who live in Asia don't care about more 'global' issues like climate change and equality. We absolutely do, just not necessarily at the expense of these equally important challenges. And increasingly, we will see corporates take a proactive stance on these crucial, society-defining matters.
'Transparency and accuracy over meaningless fluff' – Lina Marican, managing director, Mutant Communications
As we continue to navigate public health challenges amid the pandemic and complex disinformation campaigns, transparency and accuracy remain crucial for PR practitioners around the world. Against this backdrop, it is important to communicate decisively, intentionally and briskly in order to get people to engage and comply in the short term, while building trust and credibility for the long haul. The rules of the game have changed, and there is zero room for buzzwords and meaningless fluff.
'It's the year of creative prowess' – Kiri Sinclair, founder and CEO, Sinclair
Creativity is the superpower of the year. The speed of tech-celeration and the upending of the traditional marketing calendar means PRs need to get more creative to connect with, inspire and convert audiences. Creative storytelling that is emotive, empathetic and sticky, and delivered through a variety of formats and channels, will cut through the noise.
(This article first appeared on PRWeek.com)