Corporate communications trends executives need to know.

As we enter 2021, your corporate communications program is at a significant turning point whether you are prepared or not. What will be the “new normal?”

Whether corporate communications is an opportunity area for your company or you have a tried-and-true public relations (PR) playbook, there are several new ways for you to up your company’s game in the coming year.

Here are some predictions for 2021 and how to capitalize on the changes taking place to get your company’s messages to all key stakeholders in more powerful and effective ways.

Corporate reputation as a key success metric

During this era of disruption and uncertainty, corporate values and brand activism have become more important than ever. PR will be expected to shift the focus toward values-based communications, including the prevalent topic of health and safety. Corporate reputation will take center stage as a key success metric including issues of Environment, Society and Governance (ESG).

Increased focus on internal communications

As companies transition to the “new normal,” remote work is here to stay, and everything we do will become increasingly digital. Keeping this remote workforce engaged is a new challenge and will require unprecedented involvement by corporate communications. Flexibility, clear communications and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives will become mission-critical.

Livestream goes mainstream

The year 2020 proved that virtual events can result in online connection and collaboration that is just as effective as it has traditionally been in person. As companies continue to capitalize on the power of livestream, there will be a lot of room for creativity and innovation around employee and customer communications, including hybrid events and programs for both virtual and physical participants.

In an era of spending conservatism, ensuring that a brand remains relevant while achieving its business goals will necessitate a new level of data-driven communications. ”
— Dan Beltramo, CEO, Onclusive share twitter

PR and content marketing fusion

Content marketing is a proven way to break through the noise, as long as the content is highly visible. That’s why content marketing needs PR. While it will continue to grow as a high-leverage tool for both PR and marketing teams, who is in charge of content marketing will remain up for grabs at many companies. One thing is clear: PR and content marketing together are a powerful duo, allowing brands to put the right stories into the hands of the right journalists, influencers and bloggers.

New level of data-driven communications

In an era of spending conservatism, ensuring that a brand remains relevant while achieving its business goals will necessitate a new level of data-driven communications. PR measurement that identifies the most impactful content and optimizes content quality will grow in importance, and more advanced analytics tools will help determine strategic investment decisions. A new metric, share of search, is particularly valuable for consumer products and direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies and will build momentum as a way of measuring PR effectiveness and tying PR to market share.

Emphasis on message resonance

Marketing and communications teams will focus more on messaging resonance with the public and media for both their brand and competitors. Using data to evaluate which messages worked and didn’t work before spokesperson media training will become prevalent among communications pros. This specificity will help savvy PR teams to drive more awareness, interest, desired actions and market differentiation.

Growth of in-house PR

And my final prediction: When it comes to communications, no one can understand the company culture and products more than the people actually working in it. There is also something to be said about real-time response and the ability to focus entirely on the company’s own internal needs. As better technologies make it more practical and the realities of managing communications across marketing, PR and social teams require tighter integration, companies will continue to take more PR activities in-house.