PR trends to look out for in 2020: Archana Jain, PR Pundit

Archana Jain, MD & CEO of PR Pundit, explains how with the rise of influencer marketing, brands will foster a longer-term partnership with micro-influencers to drive home impact with authenticity

e4m by Archana Jain
Published: Dec 31, 2019 1:35 PM  | 5 min read


Archana Jain PR Pundit

A good starting point to look for foreseeable trends in 2020 would be the highs of 2019. Looking back through our efforts in 2019, we find that we have been mining and managing micro-influencers with success to drive home impact with authenticity. This has been the case with beauty brands like Aveda to Bobbi Brown and fashion brands like Uniqlo and adidas. Gaining organic advocates from the community has paid off for these brands. I foresee this as a trend that more and more brands will adopt in 2020. I am not for once suggesting that influencers with large followings will no longer be relevant, but we believe that micro-influencers will gain more importance for brands because they have built trust with niche audiences and can connect brands to the target audience with conviction. In my opinion, brands will foster a longer-term partnership with micro-influencers.

India is a millennial economy. Millennial or Gen Y are projected to be 50% of the workforce by 2020 and by 2025 this number is expected to reach 75%. Given that they are the deciding force, brands need to be cognizant of what they desire. Brands that recognise and build appeal among this audience will secure a long term future for themselves. Millennials seek enriching experiences as opposed to purchasing products/possessions, so much so that they align with brands based on the engaging experiences offered by each. Brands need to closely watch their consumers’ habits and think of a strategy which can connect their product to becoming a 'VERB' for the audience. Can you Paytm me, could you Uber it, let's Swiggy it. Find relevance for your brand in people’s lives and then let your brand experiences drive demand rather than its corollary. 

Millennials are growing up in a society where the largest retail store does not own any items (Amazon), the biggest transportation service is based on sharing vehicles (Uber), and the most popular hotel chain does not own any hotels (Airbnb). Rare and extraordinary experiences have replaced aspirational status symbols. Stories trump trophies. Experiences elicit more happiness for millennials than buying material things. With the insight that consumers have responded more to how brands make them feel, rather than how brands attempt to make them buy, we crafted and engaged media and consumers with some unique experiences and found great results by virtue of the same. An innovative ‘experiential’ Nite Delivery was undertaken to select influencers for the introduction of Adidas's Nite Jogger - the new sneakers were delivered at their doorstep of the influencers after nightfall via a delivery executive dressed in reflectors! A Nite Factory set-up at the Famous Studio in Mumbai marked the consumer event to celebrate the biggest sneaker drop of the Season. Similarly, HP introduced its Z book with artworks by 5 graphic artists to demonstrate the versatility of the Z book’s creativity. In 2020, we will see this taking much more tangible shape. Conceptualising experiences will get more widespread across product categories, not only at the time of their launch but also to sustain interest and ascribe widespread usage.

As per the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2019, millennials believe that businesses will be most effective in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. Millennials expect brands to play a more responsible role in society, therefore, PR will be nudging brands to adopt a more cause-oriented approach for its brand’s initiatives. Campaigns that highlight social purpose with an underlying message to awaken society to an issue and encourage them to take action to make a change are going to get increasingly prevalent in 2020. Brands have embraced campaigns to nudge society to be sustainable, eco-friendly, more inclusive, stop body-shaming, etc. in 2019. It all begins with identifying a problem that resonates with our community, then finding a tangible solution to solve it or at least address it and making the consumer a part of the brand’s journey to make a difference. Millennials like being able to contribute to a larger cause. A shining example of this is the adidas ‘Run for the Oceans’ campaign. There will be greater sincerity, backed by the increased demonstration of commitment to relevant issues in 2020. It is going to move from purpose washing to authentic and a genuine push for change.

A trend piece would be incomplete without commentary on the editorial outlook in earned media. Here I feel that the 24-hour-news-cycle has added pressure on journalists and publications. With the shrinking size of newsrooms, there is an opportunity for producing ready to publish engaging content. This will be invaluable in gaining media coverage. A good op-ed piece backed up by accurate research that presents an evidence-based argument will help connect a business leader with a title’s readers and educate them on a specific topic. Also, with shorter attention spans where readers rarely make it to the bottom of the article, snackable, bite-sized content will be trendier in 2020, as they are efficient, informative, and are able to grab the attention of readers with something short and sweet.

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