Flexibility is the key for communications in 2021

With PR and marketing we ground our approach to every brief in strategic foundations.

As an industry we have come such a long way from being the people that secure column inches, to professionals that take note of an organisations business objectives and fine-tune a communications strategy that will deliver impact to the bottom line.

However, the pandemic saw a marked change in our PR strategies, which have always fundamentally focused on long term strategic planning.

Last year, saw those long hard-grafted strategies and plans get pushed to one side. While they still sat there to inform decisions and approaches, the focus of our work had to shift to developing creative one-off ideas and delivering strong content that could be brought to life almost instantly when the time was right to break through the noise.

Now, we are in a situation where we are starting the year yearning to work out our 12-month plans and understand what is around the corner but, that just is not possible and is unlikely to be for some time.

Being nimble has always been inherent in PR, change is always at play one way or another and we have had to adapt plans accordingly. But now, agility must become our middle name to continue to help organisation’s flourish during continued uncertainty.

So how can we be masters of flexibility when it comes to communications:

  1. Plan work in smaller parts and for shorter time periods: shorter term-plans allow us to shift and re-prioritise work more easily, for best effect. For more insight on making a PR plan take a read of this article here.

  • Be bold: make the necessary calls quickly and responsively. Now, is not the time to second-guess yourself or wait until all the right people are in the room to decide – in that time, opportunities are likely to be missed.

  • Question what you know: so much of our work is grounded in experience, our knowledge that we have gained over time is our wealth but right now, what may have worked before may not work now. We are all on a learning curve and may need to test the waters on something that previously would have been a no brainer.

  • Welcome change: we must build contingency into all our plans, now more than ever before. And when change comes, as it inevitably will, we need to welcome it, even if it is at the eleventh hour.

  • Learn and adjust: we have always built evaluation into our practice, it’s fundamentally how we justify what we do but now the need for live in-progress review and reflection is more vital than ever so we can adapt in a world where nothing is predictable.

  • Constantly review your plans: we need to make the next right decision, one step at a time so any short to medium terms that are in place need to be reviewed regularly and reprioritised to ensure we’re working on the right project or task at the right time. We the importance of planning communications for the post-pandemic world in this blog here.

Ultimately, now is the time we can really shine. Gone are the days of spending the first 4-6 weeks of the year on constructing our plans to then focus on delivery. These are complex times and with that comes an incredible opportunity to bring our greatest thinking and strategic insight to play daily, adapting our approach to fit the times – that is empowering and can lead to a greater sense of accomplishment for both communication professionals and the clients we serve.