It’s no secret that the events of 2020 took an unprecedented toll on society; but for those in the public relations community, communications have never been more important.
Tunheim is a leading member of IPREX, the $420m network of independent communications firms with 1,100 professionals in 100 offices around the world.
IPREX recently released insights about the lessons of 2020 and implications for 2021 for the independent PR and marketing industry, based on inputs from its offices around the world. Despite – or maybe because of – its many challenges, 2020 heightened the need for communications services.
Given the disruption of the global market, the flexibility of the IPREX model is positioned well for what brands and organizations need, as opposed to highly centralized approaches to communications.
Taken from answers from 26 agency owners around the world, IPREX offers important insights on communicating in 2021.
Uneven Disruption and Uneven Recovery
Firms with deep experience supporting hospitality, tourism, and travel suffered alongside their clients, as the impacts of the pandemic brought much of that sector to an abrupt halt.
While these firms continue to recover, many IPREX firms also expect to be impacted by the emergence of new or changed trade dynamics, from the aftermath of Brexit for the E.U. and the U.K., to the next generation of China-U.S. relations under a Biden administration, among a myriad of others.
Global Scale Challenge Reinforces Global Scale Solutions
While each country, region and metropolitan area around the world shaped its response to the challenges of COVID-19 based on local realities, the capacity to share experiences, stories and data created a strong awareness of the value of global connections.
Alliance efforts in the future won’t be a return to past practices or models, but new forms of global cooperation, collaboration and partnership with independent firms on-the-ground in key markets operating with the benefits of shared talent, technology and best practices.
The Complicated Future of Facts Means More Communications Needs
Both the pandemic and the accelerating polarization of societies around the world have contributed to the fracturing of traditional sources of public information, undermining citizens’ confidence in official messaging from government and private brands.
IPREX firms have seen an increased demand related to developing strategies to reinforce the credibility of those institutional players. This need isn’t likely to abate anytime soon.
Specifically, IPREX firms report a rise in the increasing sophistication required in using digital and social media tools for the delivery of effective messaging.
Purpose-Driven Work on the Rise
Many corporations supported by IPREX firms are engaging in unprecedented efforts to ensure they are meeting their obligations to all their stakeholders: customers, employees, communities and investors.
Corporate social responsibility efforts are moving into new levels of investment and sophistication. IPREX firms report clients are increasingly coming to their agencies for environmental, social and governance (ESG), sustainability and purpose-driven work.
Equity and Systemic Racism Demand Thoughtful Navigation
Set off by events in the U.S. (in particular, the death of George Floyd), but reverberating around the globe, issues of racial and ethnic equity have now been raised to a level of awareness such that brands and organizations cannot sit on the sidelines.
Authentic and inclusive voices, as well as clear intentionality, are now reputational commitments being made by IPREX itself, as well as by the clients IPREX agencies serve through their public relations and strategic communications services.
Is your organization thinking through complex stakeholder communications? Let Tunheim help you think it through. Contact us to get started.