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2024 Vision: Emerging PR Trends

Published on March 4, 2024, 3:56 p.m.
by Halston Seton.

As the new year begins and technology advances, staying on top of evolving public relations trends is a must. Year after year the PR industry evolves by capitalizing on social, cultural and technological trends that result in bigger and better campaign strategies.

So, what trends shaped last year’s campaigns and what do PR professionals have to look forward to in 2024?

Best of 2023

A PR campaign that gained immense exposure was Rhianna’s

Photo via IMAGE Magazine

Super Bowl halftime performance. The artist incorporated her brand Fenty Beauty into her act by fixing her makeup with the Invisimatte Blotting Powder. Not only did Rhianna take

advantage of her performance to promote her company, but she also announced her second pregnancy during the show.

As a result, Fenty Beauty generated $5.6 million in earned media within the first 12 hours after the performance. Rhianna, herself, generated a 390% increase in music sales. Rhianna used storytelling to foster a meaningful relationship between her and her fans. By telling the 118.7 million Super Bowl viewers she was pregnant, the artist created an emotional connection between herself, her brand and her audience. This strategy sent hundreds of thousands of people to social media in order to discuss the news, driving more publicity toward Rhianna’s various brands.

Another PR campaign that generated buzz was “Barbie.” Among various “Barbie” partnerships, Dreamhouse x Airbnb was one of the best campaigns the industry has seen. This partnership allowed two lucky guests to stay in an Airbnb, inspired by Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse. Free of charge, guests received the full “Barbie” experience by dancing on Ken’s disco dancefloor, lying by the infinity pool, looking through Barbie’s wardrobe and much more.

Photo via Elle Candana

Inspired by Dreamhouse x Airbnb, Alana Doyle, senior associate at GoPuff, said, “The ‘Barbie’ movie set the gold standard of PR launches in the entertainment industry. With over 100 relevant brand partnerships, The ‘Barbie’ team capitalized on the opportunity to expand the brand’s reach and create a steady drumbeat of newsworthy moments leading up to the premiere — including the genius Barbie Dreamhouse collaboration with Airbnb.” This campaign led to great exposure for the “Barbie” movie on premiere day and left fans anticipating what Barbie and Ken would come up with next.

The Dreamhouse x Airbnb campaign had a unique message, and according to Advertising Week, sincerity stands out. The campaign strategy evoked power for women along with nostalgia for all “Barbie” lovers. Instead of making women feel silly for their life passions, “Barbie” pushed women to embrace their passions. As a result of this emotional connection, “Barbie” reached a wider audience of those who felt underrepresented.

Back to the future

With such successful PR campaigns in 2023, brands face pressure to make their campaigns even better in 2024. Here’s a look at PR trends predicted for 2024.

A humanized perspective and authenticity
Individuals’ demand for unique experiences while being part of a community is a growing social trend. By incorporating more relatability, authenticity, compassion and humor into campaigns, brands will see an increase in audience engagement. Getting to know a brand’s target audience in a personal way levels up the brand, giving it an advantage.

While artificial intelligence is gaining popularity in 2024, it does not compare to the emotional, strategic approach that humans can achieve. Mia Oliveira, assistant account executive at KC Projects, said that the issue with AI is that it has no advanced human emotion. She stated that this is a large downfall to AI and believes human strategists are essential for an authentic feel. In addition, it is important to stay true to a brand’s mission and values. This builds reliability for the audience, leaving individuals feeling confident about the brand.

According to PR Lab, simplified messaging will be prevalent throughout 2024. Because so many brands offer similar products and services, the last thing consumers want is complex messaging, packaging and logos. People’s attention spans are continuously decreasing, so focusing on a simplistic approach is the best way to capture a brand’s audience. This year, brands should focus deeply on the audience’s wants and needs to generate clear, simple copy and illustrations. As a result, the brand’s social media can expect to see an increase in impressions, as this technique will also lead to a wider audience reach.

In-person events
The reason in-person events are vital to PR is because of the meaningful connections that are fostered through these experiences. In-person interviews, meetings and events build on a brand’s credibility, showing its audience its values and personality.

Artificial intelligence
Although AI is unable to produce the same level of emotion as humans, it is still going to be a hit among PR trends this year. AI will not be used as a substitution for human strategy; instead it will be used as a partner in professionals’ work.

Photo via Forbes

According to Forbes, AI will be embraced as an aid in analyzing data, producing content and creating strategies. Doyle said that she currently sees AI being used as a tool “to help with the framework of first draft communication materials, or to ideate new concepts and messaging options — all with the need for continued human invention.” Users of AI need to educate themselves on how AI works, its limitations and when it becomes unethical.

Essential skills
It takes certain skills to be able to keep up with PR trends. The most significant skills PR professionals need to obtain in 2024 are social listening and adaptability. This entails knowing what is happening in the industry and what people are saying about your brand online. Social listening requires research, so staying up to date on current events is the best way to expand on this skill.

Social listening goes hand in hand with adaptability. Oliveira pointed out that the industry is always changing, along with consumers’ wants and needs. She said that professionals need to be insightful when it comes to trends, figuring out how to evolve with the consumer.

On the lookout
Some brands to keep an eye out for in 2024 are Dove, Tito’s and Tropicana, Doyle stated. She added that these brands have already made an impact on the PR industry in their campaign efforts, and she is eager to see what will happen next.

2024 will be the year of personalization and originality for brands across the globe. Be on the lookout for new trends and how your favorite brands take advantage of them this year!

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