5 PR Campaign Trends that Left an Impact in 2019

By Ciara Ombao

Public relations has left a big impact on 2019 with so many PR campaign trends receiving mixed amounts of reactions. In order to move forward with a new PR strategy for 2020, your business can benefit from getting familiar with a thing or two about the PR materials that trended this past 2019 by either learning from their mistakes or leveling them up.

Here are 5 PR campaigns that left a global impact in 2019.

1. Quick-Time Response and Action

Responding to feedback in real-time has been more crucial than ever with companies facing controversy. Whether they’re dealing with comments, inquiries, or negative reviews, it was important for brands to address problems immediately so the outrage wouldn’t scale up further and actually improve their business by changing their values and policies based on the feedback they received.

A PR campaign that famously came into question in 2019 was Nike’s “Dream Crazier,” which was meant to encourage young girls and women to become athletes. This later came into question when several famous female athletes that were once sponsored by Nike came out saying that the company doesn’t pay for maternity leave and body shames their athletes. The company quickly responded and started looking into the issue in their contracts and disbanding certain programs. 

2. Eco CSR Movements

More and more brands took initiative into social movements this past year. The top trending campaigns of 2019 were those responding to the climate change issue. For example, climate Activist Greta Thunberg made a speech that was recorded on the British Band The 1975’s new album. The online movement “Plant 20 Million Trees” was started by YouTuber Mr. Beast.

3. Emphasis on Stories and Strong Relationships

Storytelling and relationship-building have long been important in the world of PR. But in 2019, PR professionals really started to reach past media agencies and influencers, forming partnerships with trade associations, content syndicators, vertical websites, and other entities.

Collaborations became much bigger as influencers began to dominate the online world. Makeup brands such as Morphe has been collaborating with beauty influencers with their biggest partnership being YouTubers Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson. 

4. The Rise of Earned Media

2019 saw more and more PR pros talking about earned media with their clients. “Earned media” refers to Facebook shares, retweets, viral videos, and other content that consumers share with others, often as a result of owned media and paid media. It works like good old “word of mouth” PR, which provides free, third-party validation. Earned media just happens to have an exponentially wider range because it’s online.

A notable example is the newly released music videos of Selena Gomez, which trended not only because her songs were suspected to be about her most famous ex, but also because it was lowkey advertising the new iPhone 11. The camera phone was the only equipment used to shoot both videos, which all came out it great quality.

5. More Authentic Content

Advertising has taken a much more authentic approach this 2019 by sharing true and inspiring messages to its audience. With so much mistrust in the world with dirty advertising tricks hurting people’s faith in humanity, there is a need to earn it back through integrity and staying true to what the brand truly believes in.

The #RealConvo campaign that was launched on Mental Health Awareness day encouraged people to use the suicide hotline when they are struggling with mental health issues. The campaign featured people, both influencers and everyday people, sharing their struggles and stories in order to urge people to seek help when they need it.

Understand that your company will most likely be switching things up if it wants to ride on these trends. Don’t be afraid to let go of old PR habits if they’re keeping you from staying flexible and relevant. You’ll thank yourself later on for bursting out of the brand’s comfort zone.

Remember to leave wiggle room in your PR strategies in case you notice other rising trends as the new year unfolds!

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Ciara Ombao
As M2.0 Communications’ Business Development Executive, Ciara guides potential clients into becoming partners, finds solutions to brand challenges, and takes the lead in campaign implementation. She treasures Aldous Huxley’s statement: “one can never really communicate anything to anybody.” But she hopes to prove him wrong by perfecting her communication skills. Ciara has successfully led digital campaigns for IVO, FastCat, and PayPal accounts. Prior to joining the M2.0 team, she worked with Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific and the HongKong Tourism Board.

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