PR Trends for 2021

The start of any year is a time for planning and preparation, gathering our thoughts and ideas for clients and focussing on activity for the year ahead.  

However, with another lockdown well underway 2021 may bring as many unexpected challenges and curveballs as 2020.  

This was the theme for a recent PRCA Trends session looking ahead to what the key themes are for the PR and communications sector. 

Here are three key takeaways from the session that we wanted to share: 

  • We are on the path to recovery 

It’s clear many of us are starting to feel cautiously optimistic about the year to come. After a year of cut budgets and different sectors scaling back, it has been a difficult time for many practitioners as they work out how to weather the storm. 

However, let us not forget that some sectors are still booming. Tech, online retail and healthcare have all massively benefited during the pandemic. In fact, analysts forecast a four percent growth in GDP this year, and five percent next year, meaning that a recovery is absolutely realistic.  

  • Humanising spokespeople 

Our new virtual work environments have given us a window into people’s personal lives like never before. Whether it is a small child or an excited puppy interrupting a serious conference, this insight into home life has made everything more personal. No longer do we have to look polished and effortless, as we know that we are all struggling against an ever-changing background and the challenges it throws at us.  

But how does this affect the way that brands and businesses should represent themselves? There is an acceptance of being more authentic, and real in the way that we present to the outside world. This helps people feel more connected and is a great way to engage more meaningfully with your consumers/audiences. 

  • Data driven PR 

As an industry, PR has not seen the increase in use of tech and automation that we see in other marketing disciplines.  

Several of the panellists highlighted that as comms professionals it is vital that we look to capture, track and analyse media, social media, search data, web analytics and first party data. Not only that, but we should be using this data to inform corporate comms, brand messaging, creative, content strategy, campaigns and even which influencers or communities to focus on and work with. 

Brands should consider data driven PR as a way to understand audiences more deeply, including why they behave the way they do, why they make certain choices, and what will drive them to take action. These behavioural insights help us understand conscious and the unconscious motivations that inform decision making, and tailor our messaging to fit them. 

In the current times we can’t afford to ‘stumble blindly’ anymore and we need to adopt a data-driven approach to communications. In every campaign we build in robust metrics for not only measuring success, but also tailoring our approach and campaigns based on the data we receive.  

For more advice or support on any of the themes in this article, give us a call or drop us an e-mail at or call us on 0117 925 1358.