The last few months have seen the COVID-19 pandemic affect people and businesses across industries all over the world. The circumstances have led to a drastic change in how businesses operate, and at the same time, transformed the concept of public relations. The way a company conducts its public relations in sensitive times like these is vital to its reputation. Our clients clearly understand this well, and I have noticed a positive shift in their mindsets towards adopting new-age tactics and exploring strategies outside the realm of traditional PR.
Until recently, communication strategies were still preferential towards traditional PR channels, such as press releases and interviews through the legacy media, like print and radio. Post-COVID-19, with the print of major newspapers and magazines coming to a halt in the UAE, clients realised the value of employing digital PR tactics. Radio, too, saw a significant drop in its listeners, with people no longer commuting to work and, thus, no longer listening to the radio. This meant clients had to commit to exploring contemporary methods in the digital space to ensure they can still reach their audiences. While press releases and interviews are still important tools, some of their angles can now be converted to online videos or infographics that make the communication better-suited to a target audience.
A disruption such as this should have happened a long time ago, with digital undoubtedly being the future. The COVID-19 era has, however, given this transition the push it needed. A PR professional must adapt to this development and transition their clients’ communication strategy with the times.
In the next part, I’ll discuss some of the tips that PR professionals should take into consideration to prepare themselves and their clients for the post-COVID-19 phase.
Reem Masswadeh is Client Services Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me