A look back: PR strategies of the early 2000s
Let’s take a minute to go into the thunder::tech time machine and look back twenty-plus years. For those of you who were not in diapers at the time, you may remember a PR strategy that looked something like this: in 2003, the internet was still relatively new, and social media had not yet taken off. Companies relied heavily on traditional media channels, like print, television and radio, to communicate with their target audience.
In that bygone era, PR strategies predominantly revolved around the tried-and-true press release. Companies depended on journalists to get the news out at what seems like a snail’s pace today, often getting printed or broadcast the NEXT DAY! Other popular tactics included sponsorships, events, and media outreach.
PR professionals had more time to plan and execute their campaigns, as traditional media had longer lead times. Crises management was reactive, with companies responding to crises after they had occurred.
The digital revolution in public relations
The rise of content marketing
Unlike the traditional media channels of yesteryear, where news stories unfolded leisurely, the digital age demands immediacy. Content marketing played a crucial role in this paradigm shift, allowing PR professionals to create and share content rapidly through blog posts, videos and infographics.
Case Study: Twin Oast Brewing’s acquisition announcement
We see the newfound speed of PR increasing constantly. Recently, we sent out a press release on behalf of our client, Twin Oast Brewing, to announce their acquisition of another local brewery, Catawba Island Brewing. We performed local media outreach in the morning, and within a few hours, two journalists had reached out to inquire for more information about the announcement. Overall, the press release received a 73% average open rate.
Before the end of the day, five different outlets, including Cleveland.com and the Cleveland Business Journal, had featured the news.
Social media and public relations: The impact on speed and reach
Social media also paved the way for two-way communication between brands and audiences. PR professionals could engage at a granular level with their followers, address issues almost in real-time, counter misinformation and manage reputations swiftly. Everything became faster. This newfound speed not only transformed how companies communicated with their audiences but also elevated consumers' expectations, who now anticipate immediate and authentic responses from the brands they engage with.
Social media = next level speed and reach
Global reach and audience segmentation
The digital era accelerated the speed of communication and exponentially expanded its reach. Traditional media, while powerful, had inherent limitations in terms of geographic scope and audience segmentation. Social media, however, dismantled these barriers, allowing companies to communicate globally and engage with diverse demographics simultaneously.
Influencer marketing: A new frontier in PR
After social media came what might be the biggest game-changer to date: influencer marketing. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: influencer marketing is the new PR
Although the term hadn't been coined yet, influencer marketing in its early forms existed 20 years ago. Product placements and celebrity endorsements paved the way for today’s influencer marketing. Our time machine will tell you that Brittney Spears was the queen of Pepsi influence, and Michael Jordan ruled Nike.
However, authenticity in marketing truly found its stride when everyday individuals became influencers instead of celebrities. Social media, coupled with the democratization of content creation, irreversibly altered the PR landscape. The once-dominant reign of traditional media was disrupted as real people, empowered by social platforms, became influential voices shaping brand narratives.
Five key predictions for the future of PR
But this is not where this story ends. We are just getting started; don’t believe the nay-sayers; the future of public relations is bright.
Based on our experience, these are the five key predictions we see in PR's future:
- An emphasis on data and analytics: PR professionals will continue to become more data-driven and use analytics to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Anticipate a surge in demand for training and innovative tools that can efficiently collect, analyze, and report on data. A good agency like thunder::tech analyzes the data at a human level but also provides proprietary tools to its clients as well as the tried-and-true platforms like Meltwater to collect and help comb through the data, sparing our clients the extra cost of the software.
- Authenticity and transparency: In a world where consumers value these characteristics so heavily, PR will persist in its efforts to build trust with audiences. Along with this will be a commitment to ethical and honest communications, transparency and a willingness to admit mistakes and take responsibility for them.
- Integration: The mantra for the future is integration, integration, integration. Social media and influencer marketing are BFFs with PR, and they will continue to melt together, becoming inseparable components of comprehensive brand strategies.
- Artificial Intelligence and automation: These two will play an essential role in public relations. Adaption and adoption are no longer optional but imperative. These new technologies will streamline processes and significantly accelerate the pace of PR operations.
- Diversity and inclusion: The importance of diversity and inclusion in PR will continue to grow as companies recognize the need to reflect the diversity of their audiences and stakeholders. PR professionals will need to prioritize diversity and inclusion in their communication strategies and ensure that they are sensitive to the needs and perspectives of different groups.
thunder::tech’s approach to modern public relations
If you're contemplating revamping your public relations strategy, look no further. thunder::tech's modernized approach provides your brand with the ideal platform to excel.
From traditional press releases and media outreach to product placement, influencer marketing and social media, our integrative approach will shine a spotlight on your brand, giving it the attention it rightfully deserves. Contact us today to get things moving!