What Every PR Agency Should Know About Post-Pandemic Brand Events
The pandemic affected many things–especially live events, the workforce and healthcare–as we know it. It also changed how we did PR, with a lack of client resources, budget cuts and varying restrictions on hosting public events.
Now, the world is discovering the continued risks and impacts of a post-pandemic world. Luckily the PR industry has adjusted, so we could continue to get the job done. And with the right planning and adjustments, PR professionals can succeed in hosting PR events in our new normal. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your next brand event.
- Many events are now virtual. Online events are more popular than ever. Studies have found that people attend multiple digital events each month. During lockdowns, this allowed us to have fun from the comfort of home, while staying safe and healthy. Today, the convenience of digital events allows people to meet with industry leaders from around the world vs. dealing with geographic limitations.
- Influencers are front and center. With group gatherings less popular and more people working remotely, there has been a shift away from VIP events. Because of the lack of in-person events, and more events moving online, influencer marketing has reached a new level. An influencer is someone that the customer can connect with in a genuine way—and brand recommendations from people on your social media feed are a valuable asset.
- The best PR campaigns reflect customer values while showing empathy. The emotional needs of customers became apparent during COVID-19. Businesses adapted their PR campaigns to align customer communications with their needs to connect. The tone of strategic communications has become more comforting, compassionate and humorous. Consumers want to know that brands are showing gratitude for their workers and contributing toward meaningful causes.
- Lockdowns and economic issues helped boost a sense of community across the world. Studies show that more than 80% of consumers plan to shop locally in the years ahead, which could cause problems for PR firms that serve multinational clients—unless they pick up a new approach. That means tailoring news to target the interests and needs of consumers. That also means adding a local touch to reach a specific, regional customer base.
- Many successful campaigns during the pandemic included positive mentions of competitors and other local businesses. This showed that people cared about their community and the economic situation of their competitors. It was a “we’re in this together” mentality that worked—and made everyone feel a little more hopeful.
PR Tips For Brand Events Moving Forward
It’s been two years and counting since the pandemic began. Thankfully, restrictions have loosened and the outlook is better, but events must be carefully planned. Here are some tips for a successful PR event in today’s pandemic world.
- Organize a list of invitees and stick to a firm maximum number of participants. Be accountable for knowing who is in attendance.
- Make sure you are familiar with the cancellation policies of any suppliers. Remember that COVID-19 could once again surge, and you need to work with a venue that will offer a full refund or let you reschedule your event if the need to change dates arises. Make sure you have a flexible agreement with wait staff, photographers, and caterers, as well as other necessary team members for your PR event. Double-check your supplier policies; nobody wants to miss a detail that could cost your brand thousands.
- Remember that location is key to a successful event. While outdoor events depend on the weather, they do provide a safer atmosphere and better ventilation, allowing you to have more attendees.
- Social distancing is imperative. When you plan your event, consider the high traffic areas where people will congregate. How can you spread things out to avoid pile-ups? Having a good time is the goal, but you also want to keep people safe and avoid the spread of COVID during future surges.
- When serving food, consider that you don’t need everyone sharing serving utensils. Now that in-person events have returned, nobody wants to see strangers’ hands all over the buffet line! Consider providing single portions with their own cutlery, small finger foods that attendees can eat with sanitized hands, or having the catering staff handle the serving process.
Successful PR and Brand Events During A Pandemic
With the right planning and efforts, your PR agency can still have successful PR and brand events in the pandemic era. Many brands have continued to thrive or even gotten stronger by revamping PR campaigns and adjusting to meet audience needs in a much different world than we knew two years ago.
Trust Relations Team