The PRNEWS editorial team highlights some innovations and predictions we think will be important for 2022.
Seth Arenstein, Editor, PRNEWS and Crisis Insider
It’s fun to make bold predictions. Yet so many things move incrementally rather than in large leaps. Look at the predictions we made in late 2019, for 2020. They seem relatively fresh today. We hoped companies would be more responsive during PR crises, though we predicted only small improvements. Indeed, there are small signs of progress.
For example, the board of Better.com moved quickly, sending its CEO to a time-out after he coldly fired 900 employees on a Zoom call this month. But where was the board earlier, during CEO Vishal Garg’s many other egregious activities?
In addition, can one be upbeat about crisis communication for 2022 after watching Facebook, with its huge coffers, arrogantly stumble, obfuscate and deflect its way through the Frances Haugen documents incident? Facebook, er Meta, followed up its performance with a confusing coda; its recipe for crisis is a series of touchy-feely TV ads and a dismissive, unoriginal ‘Don’t blame us’ attack from a senior executive.
So, there’s an obvious prediction: Plenty of business for crisis communicators next year.
But a few bold predictions, too. DEI questions, cyber and health communication will surge, yet health issues will temporarily slow imperious media exec Logan Roy.
And podcast growth will level in '22. Ditto the career of newbie podcaster Carrie Bradshaw, who’ll need crisis communication help when it’s revealed she breaks up with unwanted lovers via gifts of Peloton cycles.
Erika Bradbury, Editorial Director
No matter who you talk to, the topic of the Great Resignation seems to come up in every conversation. While I certainly don’t know when, and if, the flow of resignations will ebb, I do think it’s going to cause a reset across industries.
The PR industry, in particular, is going to need to take a step back and really reevaluate its priorities to make up for the loss in the workforce. I was just talking to someone about the benefits being offered; unlimited PTO sounds terrific on the face of things, but if you step back to consider it, 1) is there even enough time to use that PTO? and 2) does that just mean if a person leaves the organization, they don’t get paid out for any unused days?
You’ll realize that people are too smart for these games. They’re over it. People are going to be more intentional about where, and how, they work. And be in the place they want to be.
Sophie Maerowitz, Senior Content Manager
We’ll continue seeing TikTok lead short-form video content in just about every industry. It may once have been fashion influencer and dance challenge central, but it’s now used to share niche industry intel and career advice in a highly educational and entertaining format, and much of the media is in on it.
The 2022 U.S. news cycle will continue to be highly election- and coronavirus focused, so PR pros will want to keep an ear on any major points of debate and help craft expert angles for their sources/executives.
Execs will trigger crises at their companies by forgetting Slack and Zoom are not on a closed circuit, so internal comms risk mitigation will help circumvent external comms crises.
Major climate and weather events are not going away, so PR pros should be ready with regional climate emergency crisis plans.
Nicole Schuman, Senior Editor
Truly successful communication will reach the intended audience with clear and pertinent information. We will continue to see PR as an essential tool, particularly in regards to the ever-evolving COVID-19, and delivering messaging to the public will remain of utmost importance.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 percent of adults in the United States have some sort of disability. I have and continue to see an increased interest in disability communications, and innovations surrounding their delivery. Public-facing companies and organizations will, and should, take the opportunity to make their websites and press releases accessible for all, especially during a public health crisis.
This also goes for social media posts and multimedia, as so many get their news and information from social platforms. Most platforms have enabled more accurate captioning for the hearing impaired, and enriched alt text for the visually impaired. Those responsible for content will find more learning opportunities on how to optimize accessibility for those who need it. This includes advertising as well.
To our PRNEWS community—thank you for reading and engaging with us this year. And the best to you in 2022.