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Navigating consumer change: PR and marketing trends in 2022

Navigating consumer change: PR and marketing trends in 2022
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By Dulcie Keates-Miles, Director, Lead on Consumer Communications

As time goes on, people change and evolve. What we care about, what our needs are, what we like and don’t like… And as consumer communications practitioners we need to be agile in this ever-changing landscape to be able to deliver PR and marketing campaigns that garner maximum impact. Tried and tested strategies and tactics of yesterday won’t always work today. We have delved into the consumer PR and marketing trends for 2022 and beyond to help you to navigate consumer change.

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In a rapidly evolving consumer PR world – question everything you know

Audiences are changing. Gone are the days of ”either/or” audiences. Of strict – and restrictive – divisions between individuals. Of business or pleasure. Of work or play.

This sort of black-and-white thinking has been becoming less relevant for some time. And the pandemic has served to speed up its demise, as the previously well-defined lines separating areas of our lives have been broken down. Out-of-office working. Home schooling. A shift in values. A clearing away of the surplus to reveal what it is that matters to us.

What does that mean for consumer PR? It’s simple: interrogate everything you thought you knew. For brands, it’s no longer enough to “read the room”. You’ve got to make sure that the room you’re addressing is the right one.

In a post-pandemic world consumers can’t simply be placed into one neat category and forgotten about. The world around us is evolving fast; and so are the people who occupy it. So, what you think you understand about your target audience? It may no longer ring true.

Let go of received wisdom and demographic profiling based on assumptions

Here at Instinctif, we look at value graphics over demographics. We examine the many elements that make up the rich, kaleidoscopic whole of a consumer’s world; bringing them together to create audience groups as complete and multi-faceted as the individuals within them. Not only this, but we are continually thinking ahead and analysing the landscape to ensure we are able to engage with consumers meaningfully. Enter the Instinctif Partners Navigating Consumer Change PR and Marketing Trends Report launched this month.

The report reveals five trends we have forecast, detailing how they have materialised and what you can do with your communications to tap into them, all brought to life with examples. Here’s a teaser:

1. New purpose pioneers

2022’s consumer doesn’t just care about your product or your prestige. They want to know you’re doing good. But it’s a taut tightrope to walk, as they’ve also got a keener nose for purpose-washing than ever before. What’s needed is authentic, clear, and to-the-point communications, supported by demonstrable actions.

2. Individually unique

In the past, audience segmentation seemed simple. Young vs old, urban vs rural. But in 2022, lazy assumptions just won’t cut it; identities and needs are more blended and run across a greater number of lines than ever before. Brands must capture and respond to each customer’s needs and preferences, as traditional stereotypes are melting away.

3. Connected escapism

Languishing – the word of the pandemic, as consumers commonly reported finding their senses dulled and their capacity for joy numbed. With the tidal wave of challenges of the last few years, people are eager to focus on wellbeing, combat isolation and foster a sense of fun – and brands should hop aboard.

4. New ways to engage

How do you cut through the noise when people are getting bombarded by up to 10,000 digital ads per day? It’s hard to capture the attention of consumers, often scrolling their phones whilst typing on their laptops at the same time. What’s needed is dynamic new thinking, formats and contextually relevant content to make consumers sit up and listen (or watch, as the case may be).

5. Putting trust in different places

It used to be that earned media value was calculated in multiples of the equivalent advertising space. But consumer trust as a commodity has been severely tested over the past two years. Where media and brands were once given credence until proven unreliable, consumers now come to communications with a pre-programmed expectation that misdirection may be happening.

Now and in the future, brands need to invest in honest, creative storytelling to engage consumers around the real-life benefit of their offering.

To deep-dive into the trends further enter your details below.

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