AMBITIOUS’ Key PR Trends in 2024: Building Trust, Empathetic Communication, and Contingency Planning

6 months ago

Sarah Woodhouse, director of AMBITIOUS has predicted what she believes will be the top PR trends next year

CEOs are recognising that while marketers speak to prospects and customers, PR professionals engage with all audiences.

This could include stakeholders, suppliers, investors, analysts, think tanks, regualtors prospective and current employees. In this age of purpose and bringing people on a journey with you then PR has a key role in driving strategic communications, building understanding and earning trust signals from an organisation’s publics in 2024. 

Here are AMBITIOUS’ top 7 PR and marketing trends for businesses in 2024. 

Authentic content 

Where brands and businesses can make a difference with their content in 2024 is in authenticity and quality. The #Shotoniphone concept will continue to resonate with audiences in a major way, giving brands and businesses a much more relatable look and feel, over those putting big bucks into production. You do not need to shoot your reels and clips in 8k, with perfect studio lighting.   

There is obviously still a place for larger-scale production and video content. Audiences still want to be wowed by content, but that kind of strategy can’t always be maintained. 

  • This is going to be a balancing act for businesses. Keeping the day-to-day content output low-key, relatable and authentic will help businesses build trust and authenticity with their audience. Making those big hero content moments more effective.   

Have a plan for large-scale events 

Today’s large-scale problems, such as extreme weather events, political unrest and cyber threats, can impact organisations of all sizes, across all sectors. Organisations that would never have previously considered their messaging around the impacts of flooding, protest action or online hacking, now have a responsibility to plan for these risks. Where dealing with a crisis used to be reactive, I think we’ll see a movement towards more proactive contingency planning and public relations.   

Negative events, and how an organisation deals with them, can affect reputation, financial stability and the safety of staff.

  • By proactively considering different scenarios, determining the steps required to minimise damage, who is responsible for what, and how this will be communicated both inside and outside your organisation, you’ll be better prepared for any challenges that come your way.   

Artificial intelligence 

AI-assisted content is a trend that is already underway, but I expect that it will accelerate in 2024. Despite concerns regarding its impact on creativity, the reception of AI in content creation is largely contingent on how we use it. AI tools, such as Bard and Magic Studio, are often perceived to be replacing human creativity, but this perspective overlooks the value they can offer.  

The primary role of AI in content creation should not be to mimic human creativity, but rather to enhance efficiency and productivity. These tools can really help streamline tasks, affording content creators more time to refine their ideas and narratives, areas where human ingenuity remains indispensable.  

  • As an agency, we’re carefully exploring the risks and ethics of such tools in our sector. The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian are two examples where a cautious approach to AI is being taken and we anticipate that other publishers will follow suit. The Daily Telegraph has recently issued guidelines to staff prohibiting publishing AI-generated text except in limited cases with legal approval and The Guardian is vying to maintain transparency around human-produced journalism. 

Placing human at the core of your strategy is essential

Sarah Woodhouse

Communicate empathically  

In 2024, the landscape of public relations and communications will see empathy emerging as the central tenet of successful strategies. This shift is propelled by a confluence of factors, including rising prices, ongoing societal stressors, and a collective exhaustion from the constant barrage of promotional content.   

As clients, customers and consumers navigate a world overloaded with sales pitches and brand communications, the need for more authentic, empathetic engagement has never been more vital.  

Successful PR campaigns will not merely engage but inspire. Communication must strive to touch the emotional chords of their audience, creating content that resonates deeply and fosters genuine connections.  

  • Placing human at the core of your strategy is essential. This includes a renewed focus on exceptional customer service, where empathy and responsiveness will be key differentiators.  

In the dawn of the age of employer brand marketing, the workforce will continue to grow as powerful brand advocates, a communications channel to be embraced more than ever.  

Trust signals  

Not only are trust signals such as customer reviews and testimonials, client lists, and industry accreditations important for today’s more cautious customers, but they’re also incredibly important to Google.  

Google is consistently trying to determine how trustworthy a brand’s website is in the same way that potential customers are in order to rank its search position. Therefore, third-party endorsement is going to be a requisite for brands in 2024. PR is pivotal to this.   

Google’s algorithm is intuitive enough to know whether an endorsement is part of a link spamming strategy, favouring links from trustworthy and reliable sources. John Mueller from Google explains that a ‘high-value backlink from a major news website is worth more than “millions” of low-quality links.’  

  • This means that investment in PR pays off two-fold; increasing the trust of customers and potential customers and also increasing the trust of Google which will rank the brand’s site more highly.  

Think about your employer ‘brand’ 

Employer branding is a critical component of any business looking to market itself. From recruitment drives and reputation management – to communicating brand values and culture both internally and externally – having a proactive employer brand strategy keeps a business in control of the company’s image and champions a positive workplace culture with proactive communications at its core.  

Work in the field of ‘employer branding’ has increased for AMBITIOUS PR as many sectors experience a skills shortage and the intensity of securing the brightest and best talent becomes a core business objective.  We anticipate this trend continuing in a big way in 2024. 

You can learn more about AMBITIOUS and how they can help you in 2024 here.

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