Today, Feb. 2, 2021, many may describe their life as a “Groundhog Day.” Since the pandemic hit and the days cycle through, we’ve lived, worked and remained at home for almost a year now—adhering to stay-at-home guidelines. Much like people, brands and organizations can find themselves in a funk, putting out the same messaging year after year, which, while reliable, can lose the attention of a fickle populace.
One thing economic historians likely will include in their accounts of Jan. 6, 2021, is the reaction of some of the country’s largest companies. It started with several blue-chip firms denouncing the violence and the 147 lawmakers who voted in favor of overturning election results.
On January 6 at 2:55 p.m.—about 20 minutes after insurrectionists breached the Capitol building—beauty influencer Amanda Ensing tweeted, “There’s not enough popcorn in the world for what’s about to happen.” Ensing has long been vocal about her political and religious views on social media. Sephora, partnered with the influencer on a skincare campaign, was forced to answer for its choice of brand ambassador.
You never know where you’ll find a PR takeaway. Even during the pandemic, you can spot media coverage on the walls of your local Five Guys. And it’s often coverage from national and local outlets. In addition to a dangerously delicious burger and fries, some PR lessons are on the menu.
“Trust” could easily win as an early word-of-the-year in 2021. After a deluge of misinformation campaigns through the 2020 presidential election, confusion from the top when it comes to battling COVID, and a recorded public skepticism for media, many organizations, brands and public figures see trust as a fundamental need to reconnect with communities. It’s a necessity in messaging, and it’s on communicators to figure out the best way to delive
Proving that there’s no time off for some PR pros, we asked those on Twitter Sunday, right after Dr. Deborah Birx’s interview on “Face the Nation,” about how they’d advise her. More than one dozen PR pros gave her a lot of good communication, crisis and reputation advice for free.
COVID vaccine messaging is about to get another shot in the arm through the release of a new confidence campaign called “Because of This,” launching Tuesday. “Because of This” includes four PSAs which strive to remind Americans of the reasons for vaccination: the importance of our close, personal relationships. The ads include real people who provided personal footage for the campaign.
With emergency approval of vaccines, the need to communicate the importance of prompt vaccination seems obvious: Without 75-80 percent of Americans vaccinated, herd immunity, leading to a return to normalcy, will not be reached. And now, with the discovery of an additional, more contagious virus strain, getting Americans vaccinated promptly seems even more critical.
In years past, launching product was a boon for publicists. It was fairly easy. In 2020 and beyond, not so much.
In addition to breaking through the noise of COVID-related news, brands with product launches were forced last year to compete with stories about social justice and the election. Combine that with shrinking newsrooms and an inability to host live events and the appetite for product launches was just not the same.
The PRNEWS staff comes across many examples of brand advertising and communications every day. We have compiled an assessment, with staff members providing their choices of the most notable, good or bad. This week, we placed a special focus on 2020 brand pivots.