What Will Be at the Forefront of PR Strategy in 2022

For businesses who endured the pandemic, economic and social-driven challenges of the past two years, 2022 is shaping up to be a pivotal year. It’s a year for getting back to business and focusing on long-term positioning, strategy and growth. It’s a year for reassessing PR strategy.

Amid all this, PR’s role has been elevated. It’s not a marketing overlay, but a foundational business function and driver.

With that in mind, we asked SHIFT leadership what they think will be the biggest considerations for 2022. Here’s what they said.

The year of empathy in PR strategy

One of the lasting positives I see emerging from spending the past two years in a surrealistic pandemic haze is a growing recognition that designing experiences, campaigns and content from a foundation of heartfelt empathy with one’s staff, customers and communities is increasingly core to a brand’s perceived credibility and trustworthiness. It’s never been more important for communicators to consider and prioritize the impact of proposed plans on the feelings of others before doing it. Our credibility as leaders and as the brands we’re marketing hangs in the balance.

Rick Murray, Managing Partner

The year of getting back to (a new) normal in PR

Heading into 2022, volatility fueled by the pandemic still grips much of the world to some degree. But despite the doomsayer’s best efforts to capitalize on this shared global experience, brands are getting back to business. Based on what we’re seeing, this year is going to be one that sees a return to ‘normalized’ communications programs, though deference will still be paid to acute events as they develop. No longer will brands operate in a vacuum, that ship sailed long ago, but no longer will they be held hostage by the variant news du jour, either.

Alan Dunton, Managing Director, Technology

The year of authenticity proof points in PR

2022 is on track to be one of the most challenging years in PR. People are drawing hard lines in the sand on every topic and finding a single source of truth on any subject is nearly impossible. PR experts will need to counsel clients to authentically state their case and be ready to back it up with proof.

Annie Perkins, Managing Director, Consumer and Health

The year of integration in PR strategy

PR is no longer just earned media — and in some cases, it isn’t even the right channel at all. PR leaders must embrace an integrated and cross-functional mindset to support a true channel approach. Get a seat at the IAT table to build integrated campaigns and get exposed to ALL company stakeholders to understand positioning and objectives. The need for owning performance-based efforts like affiliates, paid content and influencers is also critical. 2022 will serve as a platform where we can redefine traditional approaches.

Meg Gaffney, Vice President, Consumer

The year of Web3 in PR

This year, brands embracing Web3 will be forced to reexamine their relationship with their users and community. The transition to this third iteration of the internet — in which the power currently held by centralized entities is shifted instead towards users — will fundamentally reshape how a brand and its community interact. As uncomfortable as it may be, brands shifting towards Web3 will be required to think of their community not as “users” but rather “participants” who have an ownership stake and considerable voice in their brand. This relationship shift will in turn reshape how they approach marketing and PR, leading to a less transactional and deeper connection between the two that will surface entirely new PR opportunities for brands.

Darren Weiss, Vice President, Technology

How we do what we do will continue to change, but as communicators, we know we must be constantly ready to imagine and execute new PR strategy in pursuit of connecting brands and businesses with the people who matter to their success.

Keep in Touch

Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.

Ready to shift ahead?

Let's talk