A PR view on 2022: A disruptive news agenda, greenwashing call outs and Wordle
PR and communications professionals should prepare for a busy year ahead. While January will be remembered as the month that we all played that fun word game, we will need to spend the rest of the year getting set for all systems go.
Communication practitioners and businesses need to understand that life isn’t returning to how it was pre-Covid. This is our new normal. Pre-pandemic memories will remain, but we need to understand how to navigate the year ahead.
Chris Leaman, our Senior Account Executive, has identified some important themes that will come to prominence and what the industry should expect from the year ahead.
Call out on greenwashing
‘Going green’ is now common knowledge – making a commitment isn’t as special as it was five years ago. While it’s still important to share and voice a business’ green credentials (it’s the only way we can strive for a greener planet), it’s unlikely that the commitment is truly ‘ground-breaking’.
Shouting about how you won’t print on non-recycled paper is not enough. You will need to fully understand your business’ impact. Making a loose attempt or claiming a ‘world first’ will only backfire.
“The strategies in place – if implemented – would reduce emissions by 40% at most, not the 100% implied by the term ‘net zero'”#Greenwash alive in self-styled corporate pioneers
BBC News – Climate change: Top companies exaggerating their progress – studyhttps://t.co/K8uf8xlfQC
— Andrew Simms (@AndrewSimms_uk) February 7, 2022
‘Going green’ isn’t easy, and no one expects an overnight transformation. You don’t need to claim your business can run before it can walk. Calling out of green commitments is expected to continue and increase throughout 2022. Be committed, brave and honest with your business’ journey.
Patagonia is a great example of how a business can share its own journey, while encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. Every business is different and being bold and loud about your commitment may not be the right step for your business, but ensure honesty is part of your strategy.
A cloud of disruption ahead
Many businesses are enjoying their most lucrative period for more than two years, with travel becoming simpler and workforces returning to the office or settling into a hybrid-working routine. However, the outlook isn’t necessarily completely blue skies ahead.
Many governments and private services are already preparing their publics and customers for price hikes. Keeping the lights on whilst many were unable to work has cost millions. Whilst there was almost a sympathetic and united public sentiment during the pandemic, news this year could swiftly wash away any feeling of goodwill.
Whilst increased bills are never happily received, with the first real year of travel on the horizon, increased outgoings will be a difficult pill to swallow. The ongoing reaction to the climate emergency and the resurgence of fake news is also testing the public’s patience.
A combination of sensitivity, delicacy and transparent communications will be crucial to weathering this brewing storm.
Organisations that have been able to retain PR & marketing teams or agencies will have a brighter outlook on 2022 than those who sadly couldn’t. Locally, recruitment has been the hot word of 2022 and those who have sustained their reputation during the lockdown years will see better results.
However, both agencies and in-house teams can expect more opportunities and job movements in the year ahead. The fight for talent and what seems like a more disruptive news agenda, is bringing more organisations into the conversation. 2022 could be a very busy year for PR. Who will shout the loudest?
Keeping your finger on the pulse of the fast-paced news agenda is going to be a difficult ask this year. We’ve already seen how quickly news can escalate and how dynamics in situations change. If you’re looking to keep your business’ reputation positive and stay involved in the news agenda, start thinking about what is making your business stand above the parapet.
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