How to handle the big change in audience engagement post pandemic

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said: “He who has a way to live can bear almost anyhow.” While this may have been in the context of finding meaning in one’s life, I feel the same can be extended in the life cycle of a business or a brand who need to ask:

  1. Why are we here?
  2. How are we creating a better world together?
  3. What are the values we bring in?
With limited physical contact and increased digital touchpoints, businesses must ask these questions to figure out how to make themselves relevant to the world. And while they walk that extra mile to have a deeper connection with their stakeholders, it is on us as communicators to tell their stories in the most authentic way possible. Communication that bridges the gap, content that builds trust, and storytelling that evokes an emotional connection.

Hence, themes like sustainability, diversity, and climate action find more resonance today. I believe that businesses that act to support a cause, serve the community, or conserve the environment will leave a lasting impression in the years to come. And as a reputation management and public relations firm, our responsibility is to help these businesses amplify that cause and commitment effectively.

Today, PR consultancies and clients have become more realistic and pragmatic in their approach. In the days to come, we will see a deeper understanding of nuanced communication, reduced dependence on traditional mediums, and higher digital outreach with meaningful and user-centric engagement strategies.

While regional media will continue to gain focus due to sharp delivery and last-mile connectivity, there will also be a surge in community-led storytelling to help achieve a bigger impact.

It is a fact that audiences place greater trust in experiences shared by actual customers rather than brand-led communication. In e-commerce, 89% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. More importantly, 79% of shoppers on the internet trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Social media is predicted to be a critical part of public relations in the coming years. By 2025, more than 4 billion people will be on social media. And businesses worldwide will need to streamline their PR activity to ensure the latest business announcements are on all major social media platforms. We must look at this yet another opportunity to reach the target audience and share the brand's core message.

Today consumers are mindful of associating with brands that are adding value to the world and making genuine efforts in the right direction. So, it doesn’t matter how big or small your business is as long as it is driven by good intentions and supported by relevant actions.

Shailesh Goyal, is founder-director, Simulations Public Affairs Management Services. 

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