All signs point to 2022 being a very good year for public relations agencies. We’ve looked into our crystal ball and predict these trends for 2022.
Overall public relations trends
- Increasing emphasis on DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)
Customers want brands to take a stand on social and political issues, and clients are responding. PR agencies will need to evolve to take advantage of the trend. Priorities for 2022 include establishing core values for the client and increasing their visibility around DEI issues.
- Growing influencer impact
The use of social media will continue to grow, and influencer marketing will get even more important. As opposed to working with major influencers like the Kardashians, clients may be better served by specialized influencers in niche markets.
- Desire for multicultural expertise
As more and more companies market to diverse communities, PR professionals will need to be sensitive to a wide range of issues and concerns. Clients will look for agencies with demonstrated experience talking to and influencing diverse communities.
- Focus on data
Public relations has historically been about storytelling, not data analysis. However, savvy PR agencies are learning that data can inform and influence future efforts. (For example, data on website visits and page views, SEO improvement, and social media engagement reveal what interests audiences.) Also, performance data that shows that PR efforts increase traffic, conversions, and sales can lead to better budgets for PR.
Trends in PR talent acquisition
- Succession planning
Agency owners who’ve been in business many years will strategically pass the baton of firm leadership and operations to their second tier of management. These owners know that buyers consider this a major component in the decision to acquire a firm. The management team also is crucial to maximizing agency value.
- Location of work
Firms will still struggle with decisions on back-to-office policies. Should all employees come back to the office? Should all work remotely? Or should there be some combination? Vaccine and mask mandates will influence decisions.
Turnover at public relations agencies will continue, as will the need for senior level, experienced professionals. PR firms will need to utilize search firms more frequently for talent acquisition.
We anticipate 2022 will be a good year for PR firms in terms of both profitability and growth. This is compared to a flat 2020 and a rebound in 2021 by most firms.
- Mergers and acquisitions
Activity will continue on the up-swing, with PR agency buyers and sellers both looking at mergers and acquisitions as growth strategies.
We hope 2022 brings you all the best.