Reengineering PR Strategy in a world of changing mindsets

We are now firmly in the era of changing mindsets today. The pandemic and its impact have cascaded to affect people psychologically. In extreme cases, people may suffer from depression characterised by low mood, tiredness, pessimism, poor sleep, and appetite, feeling helpless, guilty, and hopeless, with a gradual reduction in work output. Older people are more vulnerable. As things are poised today depending on how everything pans out, the world is preparing for the next onslaught of the pandemic. As restrictions eased out in the recent past- people travelled, offices were opening up. Various facets of life were going back to normal, but with the cases growing again and the Omicron threat, we are transiting again to a play-safe era. Unpredictability has become the new constant

How will our target audiences react to our storytelling in an environment of changing mindsets?

The global pandemic prompted three failure factors that impact the prosperity of PR work: budget cuts, physical events all but disappearing, and a lack of internal and external resources. ‘Pivot’ has become one of the most overused words of the pandemic because that is what almost every industry has had to do to stay afloat in rapidly changing circumstances. Events including press conferences started to go virtual. The average time we spend on social media has grown by around 30% percent during the pandemic. Digital is surely the future of communications. Engagement with influencer marketing has also increased.

All these changes happened because the communications landscape changed and there is more….

The Pandemic has brought audiences’ emotional needs to the forefront, and it is critical for PR to align their client communications with these needs to appeal and connect. The tone of communication to appeal to the changing mindset of the world has moved towards comfort, compassion, contribution, gratitude, and humor. Faltering economies, lockdowns, and closed favorite local spots have sparked a sense of community across the world. A recent Ernst & Young survey shows that 59% of surveyed consumers are likely to shop more locally in the long term, which could create a crisis for PR firms with multi-national clients unless they raise their bar and adapt to these changes

Remote working remained the norm in most workplaces this year. Remote or hybrid working seems to be a business trend for the future. Business adaptability has become the new management mantra

3 new E’s have emerged for a Communications professional. EQ in storytelling, Empathy while crafting out communications strategy and Employee engagement. Given the current mindset of people anywhere in the world, EQ plays a key role when your craft out the story. How is this story relevant to our target audience? Can it appeal to them? Does it have positivity in it? Be empathetic in your key messages. Nike recently used the ‘Nike purpose’ campaign to leverage their communications through empathy. Nike is committed to using the power of sport to support employees, communities, and athletes all over the world impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Nike believes that if you have a body, you are an athlete!

Employees are the biggest corporate brand ambassadors. Increasing employee engagement in the new normal can only benefit the organization as a whole and its stakeholders. This goes beyond the banal employee newsletter, press coverage notice boards and the Intranet. We are what we call a perpetual crisis. Involve employees in Strategy workshops and Brainstorming sessions, Crisis communications. Involve them more even in Communications planning. Change their mindsets from ‘employees’ to ‘owners’

All this simply means one thing. The pandemic mindset will remain- to stay and develop. Communications/ PR will have to reinvent, reboot, refresh and constantly monitor the response of campaigns and initiatives to measure impact.

Every crisis contains within it the seeds of opportunity. The companies that have thrived despite the pandemic have used well-established communications and PR strategies and evolved when needed.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Amitesh Banerjee
Amitesh is a seasoned positive integrated communications disruptor with several years of multi- country/multi- domain experience. He has worked for reputed organisations in senior leadership positions including JWT, ITC, New Zealand Dairy Board, Seychelles Marketing Board, Perfect Relations, Genesis BCW, Adfactors, Della Group, H+K Strategies among others. Amitesh is Senior Vice President of Beanstalk Asia- a leading Integrated Marketing Communications firm.

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