I chose a career in PR because of the ever-changing nature of the industry. I can never expect the same day-to-day with my consumer clients due to the unpredictability of the retail industry and the enhancement of technology. It’s so important to stay in tune with the hottest trends, but one trend that has not only been pertinent to my consumer accounts, but across a wide variety of industries, is personalization. Personalization is tailoring content toward a specific target, so every consumer gets a customized experience. There are three specific personalization trends within the consumer industry that I have noticed have increased my client’s capabilities:
1. Customer Loyalty
More and more retailers are using personalization to increase customer loyalty, and gain crucial information about their customers’ shopping preferences. While PR isn’t directly related to quarterly sales, we are driven by data, which helps us tell a compelling story. This goes further than simple demographic results. Personalization when it comes to shopping can go as far as predicting what a customer will buy based on their purchasing habits. As an example, should a person continuously buy a certain brand of paper towels, makeup or clothing, technology and personalization allows our consumer clients to anticipate that with the information collected from past purchases, giving them the ability to send coupons and rewards they will want to use. By understanding how our customers’ are working to use personalization as a customer loyalty tactic, it allows us as PR pros to identify opportunities to position our clients as innovative, strong brands.
2. Mobile App Development
Every PR pro needs to be ‘in the know’ when it comes to what technological innovations are shaping the industry’s our clients are a part of. For years, mobile apps have been a huge focus for many industries – and consumer is constantly having to stay ahead of the next new update. For example, on Wednesday, LinkedIn announced the fully redesigned Pulse mobile app, which delivers personalized articles to the newsfeed based on the LinkedIn user’s job, followed pages and network connections. By using Pulse, I can quickly sift through daily news articles that are personalized for me—even disliking content with a swipe left, or saving an article with a swipe right. In an area where there is a lot of noise, it’s important as PR pros to be able to identify where our client differentiates compared to its competitors.
3. Digital platforms
The rise of social media changed the world as we know it. This has not only effected business strategy and PR, but also changed our reality. According to Adweek, there are more than two billion active social media users worldwide—that’s roughly 28% of the world. With these stats alone, we can understand how important it is to target consumers strategically through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many more widely used platforms. Social channels are constantly changing their platforms to create an easy, intuitive and personalized user experience. This year, Facebook rolled out new updates that changed the way consumers are able to view brands and friends in their newsfeed. Forbes mentioned how its new algorithm creates content only each specific user cares about so it’s less likely to be missed. For me, having the power and ability to stay on top of this extremely fast paced industry allows me to stay one step ahead of what’s going on so I’m armed with the knowledge I need to position my clients in the most influential way as well as keep an eye out for any barriers that may arise.
Personalization isn’t completely new to the PR world—we all know that building relationships is a crucial part of PR, but this isn’t something that will happen overnight. A quick glance at your media list and name swap on an email blast is ineffective. If you want a long-term relationship with a reporter, you need to dive deeper—read and comment their stories, check out their social pages, and keep the conversation going. This way, when your client is counting on you for a new product launch, you have the perfect person to pitch. Although improved personalization trends are crucial, it’s imperative to stay grounded and focus on preventing the simple errors. You might have taken the right steps or completed detailed research, but an overlooked name spelling could cost you the big story.
At the end of the day, staying aware of industry trends will only help you represent your client more efficiently—making you the PR pro to trust. Has personalization improved the way you approach PR? Let us know and comment below!