PR is a dynamic field, and every year brings its own trends and nuances to an already-action-packed industry. 2023 promises to bring its own unique twist to public relations, and for startups that are launching into the big bright world, crafting a comprehensive PR strategy is crucial. At Percepto, we have put together what we think will be the most important trends of the new year.
Creating, maintaining, and reinforcing brand narrative, tone, and voice is the fundamental aim for PR activity and using the most up-to-date trends gives your startup the best opportunity to tell its story. Not just to talk about its great products and high valuation, but to describe where its founders are coming from, what their goals and aspirations are, what the greater purpose of the brand is, etc. PR is the ideal vehicle for creating and maintaining your startup’s narrative.
Five Top Trends
Improvements in technology impact the communications industry constantly and in the ever evolving environment, it’s important to stay on top of what will be happening over the next 12 months within our sector. So let’s take a look at what we and Percepto predict will be the important elements in the upcoming year:
Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
It’s 2023 and no one should feel excluded. This year’s winning PR startups will be those that champion diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Firstly, on the human level, because DEI allows employees to be who they are and feel comfortable in their work environment and consumers should feel like they are represented and that the product is also for them.
Secondly, on the PR level, companies that implement DEI initiatives will be showing the world what they truly stand for. And that is a great story — “new and newsworthy”.A note of caution: companies that implement DEI initiatives only for the glory and not for the substance are likely to be “found out” by the media and consumers, who need authenticity in today’s superficial world and can likely root out what is real and what is not. Colorwashing (deceptively communicating unsubstantiated values) will not be tolerated. PR Daily has a great starting point for implementing authentic DEI practices in the office.
Storytelling and Media Relations
In 2023, PR isn’t about getting on a soapbox and shouting out to the world about your products. It’s back to building a story around your brand, a story that the media (and consumers) will want to follow. Bastiaan Ellen has a terrific LinkedIn article in which he wrote, “Compelling stories capture attention and move people to action. Create a brand story that is new and newsworthy. Share a story that the media will want to report on now.”
The storytelling PR strategy will not only maintain and reinforce your brand narrative, tone and voice, but it will make your brand stand out among the thousands of others, thereby catching the attention of the media and helping build strategic relationships.
Influencers are all around us. Including influencers as part of your startup’s PR strategy can give your company’s image and brand a boost in the eyes of stakeholders, the media, investors, and of course, consumers. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations, while only 38% trust brand-produced content.
Choose your influencers carefully, of course. There are different levels of influencers, which reflect their audience. Micro-influencers, which typically have between 10K and 100K followers, are becoming more and more popular. This is because they reach more niche audiences and their prices are more affordable than mega influencers (1M+ followers). According to The Social Shepherd, the market share of micro-influencers grew from 89% to 91% between 2020 and 2021, and is likely to continue growing.
Data and Metrics for Evaluation
While there’s nothing new about using data to drive content, this aspect of PR is more important than ever. Yes, PR is about telling your brand’s story in an interesting, compelling, and authentic way — however, all of that communication should be backed up by data, metrics and analytics.
Who is your audience? What gets them interested? What makes them engage? What are they looking for in a company? What do they like about your competitors? What social media platforms do they prefer? The answers to these questions (and others) should drive the content you produce so that it’s the most appropriate and effective for your target audiences.
Your product’s target audiences may reach across a number of demographics, and those stakeholders will have varied interests. People engage with different brands in different ways and one way to reach audiences that may not automatically engage with your content is through cross promotion – whether it’s social media, blogs, advertising, product design, newsletters, email blasts, podcasts, etc.
Influencers give each other shout-outs. Seemingly completely different products from completely different industries join up to collaborate on a limited edition product. Cross-promotion with a brand with similar values can be hugely beneficial and as the world becomes more and more globalized, this trend is growing and growing in popularity and effectiveness.
Why is PR strategy so crucial for startups?
An effective PR strategy can generate buzz and raise brand awareness. As opposed to marketing, which focuses on lead generation and sales, PR focuses on creating a positive brand image. This is crucial for any startup that wants to differentiate itself from the pack of competitors and become known to broad audiences.
Through public relations you can help your brand gain credibility through third-party validation. Good PR in the media, on social media, and across third-party channels can help your brand gain credibility by showing that not only you think your products are great. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, while a whopping 82% of consumers rely on recommendations of friends, family, and influencers on social media to help them with their buying decisions.
Building consumer trust is an important factor when it comes to PR: Consumers don’t just buy products, they buy stories – they buy connections. A good PR strategy builds that human connection so consumers will turn to your brand before turning to the competitor who only focuses on their product. Yet it’s not only about the end user. With strategic public relations we also attract investors. A company with a positive image and great narrative is more attractive to investors than one without. According to Entrepreneur, good PR can also kickstart an investor’s FOMO and cause them to feel like they will miss a great opportunity if they don’t invest with you — which is true, right?
The Bottom Line
The 10-year startup forecast, according to Investopedia: 80% of startups survive the first year, 50% survive five years, and 35% survive 10 years. To be included in the startups that make it past 10 years, having a comprehensive, current PR strategy from day 1 is essential.
Traditional PR will always have a place in today’s media landscape and will always help startups to give raise awareness of their brand, but it is essential to have a finger on the pulse, to really give your brand that extra lift.