PR Trends: What’s Informing our Ambitions for 2024
As the biting January wind shakes us out of our Christmas coma, we couldn’t think of a better time to explore what this new year might have in store for us. After yet another challenging year for most, 2024 is brimming with uncertainty and dynamic shifts, as well as a feeling of optimism and hope – so we’ve explored some of the key trends informing our behaviour for the year ahead, from prioritising building connections and embracing joy in everything we do.
- Experience Over Things
In the midst of political unrest and a barrage of disheartening news, it’s no surprise that people are seeking solace in experiences rather than material possessions. Of course as PRs, product send outs are part and parcel of what we do, but we also know the value of in-person experiences in creating meaningful connections with brands. A notable shift recently is the increasing appetite for ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), where individuals seek a physical experience from the digital world. Analogue media is making a comeback, resonating particularly well with the younger audience who crave a break from the constant digital noise. Podcasts, once solely auditory, have become more visual, offering a sense of inclusivity that connects listeners to the content on a deeper level.
And yet, we can all agree that nothing beats in person experiences, from a Disney On Ice meet and greet to an immersive pop-up. Last year we built a garden for QVC in King’s Cross station, offering passers by the chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, while learning all about QVC’s garden category and chatting to its expert gardening ambassadors – bringing the brand to life in a meaningful and memorable way.
- Building Connections & Embracing Authenticity
In the same vein, building connections is at the heart of what we do, from connections with media to our longstanding relationships with clients and our team – and it’s what’s made us as successful as we are today. While PR can often feel transactional, we know that media come to our events because they like us and because we’ve spent time nurturing real friendships. Likewise, the longevity of our team (both Jonathan Kirkby and Juliet Price at the helm for 12 years, Grace Carroll for 7 years, Leonie Hyman for 5) is because we all genuinely love working together.
This longevity is mirrored in our client relationships too, having worked with QVC, Feld Entertainment and Pernod Ricard UK for 25+ years combined. Client relationships are like any relationships, they’re built on honesty and trust. This year, we want to continue to work with brands that are authentic. As an agency we’re not luxury or trend-led, but we’re also not fast fashion or wasteful, we want to work with brands that are aimed at real, everyday people – this is our heartland!
- The Power of Escapism
In today’s troubling political climate, consumers are looking for escapism more than ever, and while social media for some leads to doom scrolling and despair, for others it’s a sanctuary. How often have we followed the lives of influencers, showing their mundane trip to the shops or brand-new Ninja air fryer (thanks QVC!), as a form of escapism from the news cycle.
While being sensitive to the news agenda, in 2024 we want to embrace joy in everything we do, from our campaign messaging to our media events. This December, we held a festive pub lunch for White Stuff – and it was total bliss. Not the most decadent or high budget event, it was a chance for media and influencers to cosy up in Christmas jumpers and have a proper belly laugh with comedy duo the Scummy Mummies, and it was exactly what we needed to engage media in the newest collection. This year, through both our client and team events, we want to continue to bring people bring together in a joyful way, whether its pub nights, picnics or Taylor Swift concerts (the dream).
- Financial Sensitivity
In the face of economic uncertainty, it’s important that brands are attuned to financial caution, offering solutions that align with the changing economic landscape rather than alienating consumers. As an agency, we always try and be as waste free as possible – media and influencers receive a lot of gifting, so we need to be ever conscious of not spending money on things that they don’t need or that won’t enhance our outcome, whether that’s securing social or press coverage.
In 2024 we want to continue bringing to life what we already have, in a purposeful and meaningful way. For Disney On Ice events, we know that parents are excited about their kids meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse, rather than the other frills – so why waste budget overcomplicating our brand activity?
- Evolving with the media landscape
As the media landscape continues to evolve and news brands fall upon hard times, affiliates revenue is becoming more important than ever, with lifestyle titles becoming like shop windows for the best products. In 2024, we’ll need to work even closer with our clients, advising them on the most valuable investments, while working with media teams to ensure we’re pitching stories and product that works for them. We want to lean in to these changes; bring it on!
So what are our goals for 2024? To stay authentic and honest, be sensitive to the news agenda and financial climate, and keep connected – while spreading joy!