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2020 Trends: The Future of Communications and Communications of the Future

Every year PR News, a media research company, identifies the latest trends in PR. Below you can find the key shifts in the industry this year.

Methodology

To identify trends effectively, we use content analysis, an approach PR News believes is optimal in utilizing the analytical approach to trend-spotting based on facts and figures as opposed to projections and hypotheses.

Every year we analyze what the media write about trends in communications, PR and advertising and the 2019-2020 selection contains 146 pieces published in Russia and other countries, mostly by outlets specializing in marketing and advertising. We identified the following top five trends for the year 2020 (listed in descending order):

1. Effective content

(recognized by 50% of experts, slightly less than in 2019) Useful and interesting information that can be used here and now is what everybody is after this year. The top trend of 2019, it continues to play a big role in 2020. For example, users on Instagram now prefer long reads as photos alone aren’t enough anymore. Videos remain popular, with live streams, short TikTok clips and stories trending.

2. Ethics

Another trend that emerged last year, it exploded in 2020, landing among the top trends with a recognition rate of 36%, up from 15% in 2019. This trend has two sides to it, one being ethical approach to communications with an emphasis on transparency, sincerity, no retouching or attempts to hide things, and the other being ethical business conduct, manifested in orientation to society, data security, and the acknowledgement that the man is the center of all things.

3. Personalization

Also continuing is the trend to targeting audiences through available channels and based on available analytics. Preferring face time, people communicate via instant messaging services, chats and closed communities, prioritizing trust and exclusivity. Companies use real people to promote their brand and products, including ambassadors, employees and executives, whose personal brand becomes the outlet through which companies advance their values. Compared to 2019, personalization remained at about the same level of relevance.

4. Influencers

Recognition rate exceeds 20%. 2020 saw influencers move into mainstream, solidifying their position to become a part of brand promotion strategy along with other channels of communication. The spotlight is on micro- and nano-influencers who offer more precise targeting and higher engagement and cover the exact niche or niches in which a company is interested.

5. PR and media collaboration

This trend has weakened, with its recognition rate falling from 15% in 2019 to below 10% in 2020, but there is a logical reason for that. As it often happens, there has been a shift from partnership to competition. To attract and win audiences over, companies have moved to creating their own unique content using corporate blogs and other outlets which eventually become independent and compete against traditional media. Which will win? We will see in 2021!

Ethical conduct, crisis communications and effective content have emerged as the key trends this year, which is befitting of the current times. Audiences seek useful information directly from companies and brands, bypassing middlemen, as well as individual approach and absolute transparency. And companies strive for maximum efficiency despite limited resources, exploring channels they wouldn’t have even thought about a year ago and launching their own media outlets to broadcast their messages independently from journalists and their agenda.