From education to employment

2023 Predictions for the PR Industry

The PR landscape is constantly evolving as people’s preferences are fluid and technologies evolve.  We asked PR pundits to look in their crystal balls ahead of this new year, and judging from their predictions, the PR world is in for an interesting 2023.

Here’s what 6 PR professionals from across the world predict for the public relations industry as we kickstart the year:

1) Ethical PR will be on the rise

Ananda Shakespeare, Founder and CEO, Shakespeare Communications, UAE:

“I think companies will continue to be closely scrutinised for greenwashing and purpose washing in 2023. So, campaigns will have to be even more transparent, ethical and conducted with integrity – or risk being called out by the increasingly-savvy public. 

In line with this, there is a rising tide of ‘soft’ PR – PR that comes with honesty, integrity and is values-driven. We are seeing more sustainable businesses, more eco-aware companies, and greater awareness of inclusion and diversity across the board.

In the Middle East, bigger brands will embrace campaigns with emerging technology such as virtual reality headsets, and we will see more metaverse activations and activities. Artificial Intelligence software is now more widely available for brands large or small, and to capture the hearts and minds of modern audiences, I think we will see increasingly creative use of next-gen tech.  

There will be continued interest in event PR, clients attending panels and physically interacting with target audiences, as a result of the more insular pandemic times. All brands will embrace user-generated content where it’s relevant, and I hope we continue to see more brands creating strong identities on their social media platforms.

2) Traditional media continually declines and more PRs take boardrooms

Farzana Baduel, CEO, Curzon PR, London: 

“Traditional media will continue its inevitable decline as advertising budgets move into social media platforms and PR budgets move increasingly into the content. Media outlets will continue to accept contributed articles as they struggle to pay journalists for the level of content needed to compete for jaded eyeballs. 

Platforms connecting journalists directly to clients through keyword search mechanisms will propagate –  increasing pressure for media relations practitioners to demonstrate value for their intermediary role.

PRs will also increasingly enter boardrooms as reputational resilience and crisis management will be twin areas needed within the composition of boards to deal with the new order of business.”

3) The growth of ‘owned media’ channels

Tiffany Turkington-Palmer, Managing Director, Flow Communications, South Africa: 

“Flow’s prediction for 2023 is that we will see even more use of the trend for using owned media to earn media. More and more brands are recognising that their owned media in the form of social media, blogs, websites and even invoices can be leveraged in order to create talkability and even headlines. As the traditional media space contracts and the digital revolution gains pace, brands are more and more in a position to make interesting, innovative and groundbreaking use of their own channels, creating public relations that is more immediate and more connecting than ever before. The lack of an intermediary in the form of traditional media is both freeing and terrifying.”

4) Social media and influencer marketing will thrive

Deborah Weinstein, Partner and Co-founder Strategic Objectives, Toronto, Canada:

2023 will present a challenge for marketers looking for the best social platforms to promote their brands, as the platforms themselves evolve to stay relevant as micro- (and not so micro) communities of consumers polarize along political and generational lines.

Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram will continue their quest for key differentiators to stay current as TikTok furthers its march to global domination, with its raw, authentic content. Brands will likewise continue their efforts to get with the Gen Z program, whether it’s a fit to post 2-4 TikToks a day, or not. 

Influencer Marketing will gain more influence, but will face more stringent disclosure guidelines; brands will become more cautious in aligning with paid brand ambassadors. KPIs, ROI and other measures of effectiveness will rule as we enter recessionary times. 

In 2023, there’s an opportunity for brands to innovate, and cut through the clutter with original, dynamic programming that meshes real-world activations with virtual, shareable events. Imagination, humour, and unique, empathetic consumer insights will be needed to break through with impact, and boost the bottom line. 

5) Increasing demand for PR

Christian Josephi, CEO, Panama PR, Stuttgart, Germany: 

“Businesswise, we do not expect a significant downturn despite the announced recession for the German economy. In previous crises, PR was in demand when markets were suddenly reshuffled and competition increased in previously saturated sectors. Strategy-wise, we even expect an increasing demand for support in communicating corporate strategies and decisions as well as market developments in chaotic, contradictory and sometimes never-seen-this-before situations.”

6) Focus on regionalisation, Independence and People

Peter V. Stanton, CEO, Stanton Communications, Inc, USA:

“Three key factors we anticipate will feature prominently during 2023 include – Independence, Regionalization, and a focus on People.”

Independence – The reality for the global holding companies and their captive brands is that during periods of financial stress, clients will be looking for firms that are smart and nimble, but also economical. Even before threats of global recession arose, clients and prospects sought the services of firms such as the members of thenetworkone. The Independence of member agencies means their focus is precisely oriented toward their clients and not fulfilment of forecasts provided to outside shareholders or parent companies. This independence also has the effect of liberating agency creativity so firms do not feel the compulsion to emphasize grand initiatives with big budgets. Instead, independent firms will increasingly be called upon to deliver programs that are strategic and pragmatic, generating results through careful targeting, impactful messaging and a commitment to client service excellence. The coming year will be significant for independent firms.

Regionalisation – We live in a global economy. Clients need firms with the capacity to reach beyond national borders. In the past, this has meant agencies planting their flags in countries around the world. Some clients may still require global reach in 2023, but we already see an emphasis that is less on firms that are “everywhere” and more on firms that have a strong regional focus. Pan-European, Pan-Latam and Pan-AsPac programs will increase in importance and along with it the need for agencies that can span these regions. We are seeing this already with clients based in Europe seeking North American, not solely US, capabilities and others seeking capacity across Spanish-speaking South America. While there may be a need to offer global reach, we envision clients more and more to be focused regionally and calling upon agencies that can meet that need.

People – We anticipate the power dynamics between hiring companies and candidates will continue to flip-flop dramatically in a post-pandemic and ever-changing economic environment. The teams that thrive despite these variables will be those that prioritize sustaining a work culture that is mutually beneficial for all, from incoming Gen Z professionals to senior leadership. Investing in professional development, a balanced, transparent company culture, and a mission-driven approach to the work will be paramount. In our case this includes developing a “coaching culture” in which access to professional coaching, not only for leadership but also for staffers regardless of tenure, is becoming a new employee benefit. If individuals are supported and strong, then teams will function well and collaboration that benefits clients will be more fully realized.

Article first appeared here on Curzon PR website.

Related Articles