'Community-led storytelling is more authentic than direct brand-led communication'

In today’s ‘Year-ender story of 2021’, Archana Jain, Managing Director, PR Pundit, pens her thoughts about how consumers want to engage and be associated with brands

e4m by Archana Jain
Updated: Jan 21, 2022 11:07 AM  | 3 min read
Archana Jain

As we step into 2022 and look forward to it as a year full of hope and possibilities, e4m PR and Corp Comm presents the “Year-ender story of 2021” series with the theme 'The possibilities that the new year holds for PR agencies and the way ahead'. The series encompasses the views, opinions and thoughts of some of the leading names and veterans of the PR and Corp Comm fraternity on how they perceive the new year, the transitions they expect to see, and their vision for the future.

In this story, for a change, Archana Jain, Managing Director, PR Pundit, writes about how themes like sustainability and the environment will become even more important for brands and corporations in the new year, and more.

Excerpts from her authored piece:

The spirit of humanity that won in 2021 has set the stage for 2022. If 2021 was largely about ‘hope’, most expect 2022 to herald new beginnings. A new way built on authenticity, which has never been more important. In 2022, PR will be the custodian of this hypothesis for organisations across the three pillars of people, purpose and planet.

With the advent of digital and social media platforms, people have begun to trust recommendations from peers far more than celebrated brand ambassadors. Audiences now seek authentic content or recommendations by actual consumers, more than promotional content from brands. Community-led storytelling is more acceptable and authentic than direct brand-led communication. PR will be required to work with brands to shape and foster a community of brand advocates. A set of loyal and vocal customers who can humanise the brand to boost brand appeal and trust, promote products and services to new cohorts, provide word-of-mouth recommendations and social media chatter. All of this is invaluable for user-generated content (UGC). 2022 will see many more brands structure and evocative brand advocacy strategy to consciously harness community advocacy to stay relevant.

Companies and brands will continue to lean on ‘purpose’ by supporting a cause of choice. But as consumers get more mindful of what and how an organisation really contributes, the days of purpose washing are long over. Consumers, especially the young, want to engage and be associated with brands that are not just saying the right things but really making a difference. Authentic and sincere efforts are the only ones that will find a voice and lend muscle to brand equity.

If anything, themes like sustainability and the environment will become even more important for brands and corporations. While some organisations are actively taking steps in this direction and serving as inspirations to others, more brands will need to do more for the environment and planet. Climate action and sustainability will need to be integrated in the ethos of every company’s mission to complement the United Nations’ Global Goals by 2030. Everyone needs to do their part. From the use of recycled materials and waste reduction to clean energy initiatives, all will need the attention of PR in 2022 to pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Public relations has always been about storytelling, and in order to create compelling stories and narratives, our PR campaigns can exude greater authenticity if backed by research, data and insights.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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