This pandemic has hit me, like millions of people, hard. As a social person who loves to network with experts, potential and current clients, future experts and leaders, and others, it’s been demanding to network and conduct these chemistry meetings via Zoom. I have never had a problem with being transparent and authentic to my beliefs and setting realistic expectations with clients. My personality allows for that to come through the screen. However, there is nothing like eye contact, the sense of passion in a presentation and, the magic of sharing the same goals of success with a client finalizing the meeting with shaking hands to complete the deal. This feeling, for now, is gone.
Being authentic is more crucial than ever. Agencies have to think quicker on making relevant presentations, hijacking off the news for their client, and authentically speaking to the consumer. Consumers can tell whether a product – be it a person or a consumer brand- is genuine, authentic, and worthy enough for them to buy into their brand ethos. The rapid fire change that 2020 brought us will continue and has ushered in new opportunities to create customer experiences across a wide range of technology. PR experts can now engage through multiple channels to potential consumers for their clients and themselves. With media shrinking daily, and pay-for-placement becoming more prevalent for many outlets survival, many are choosing to ignore what many smart PR Pros and Marketers know – that using influencers for media coverage as part of the overall campaign strategy is the way to go. All the free content on Google—which is at the mercy of editorial agendas—along with butchered traditional media, are all struggling to compete for ad dollars. For those looking for objective reporting, most news outlets are going to subscription-based online content. With less access to articles from traditional outlets with journalistic principals and pitches about trending topics, online PR experts will have more leverage with editors and curate and cater to their beats now more than ever.
You have to rethink your strategy and present content internally to create brand fans, and externally to create fans for your clients. PR is no longer a solo effort. Digital Marketing, effective Social Media Management, Influencer Engagement and Public Relations all go hand-in-hand. PR experts and marketers have to take an active role in understanding their agency’s factual and incorrect information. Once they have done that, the brands they represent can then go and create clarity and accurate information themselves.
The world has changed. Rather than look at this from a negative perspective, look at it as a chance to champion authenticity, respect, transparency, diversity, and inclusion in all you do. Educate your team, and yes, educate your clients and potential clients as well. The art of spinning a story has changed. Tell your story excitingly and authentically, and not only will your brand shine bright, but so will your clients and potential clients to come.
Word of mouth is still the holy grail of building your business. Continue to embrace the new world and all the positive outcomes that have come out of it. Remotely, we can do it. Be your biggest brand ambassador and journalists and clients will sense that passion through email, zoom or in this day and age a phone call.