2017 was a whirlwind—never a dull moment.
Here, at the beginning of the new year, it’s time to stop to reflect on what PR pros have learned—and what they have yet to figure out.
Here are seven lessons to take away from 2017:
1. Fake news is now just a part of our reality.
Post-truth was the word of the year in 2016. Like it or not, the public no longer trusts the news media—and this directly affects what public relations professionals do.
So, what does that mean for communicators? It means that it’s more important than ever for brands to build a community of loyal fans and followers, and it means industry insiders need to double down on fact-checking and working with reputable journalists and publications.
2. A strong crisis response game is paramount.
2017 came with its share of major brands in crisis: United Airlines, Pepsi and Uber headline a long list.
A crisis can strike anytime and affect any brand. That means we need to be ready. Ready with a crisis communications plan that includes a sincere apology, followed by steps to help stem the damage and rebuild trust.
3. Reputation management should be priority No. 1 for brands.
In light of the above, brands must protect their reputations at any cost.
If your brand is hit by a crisis or somehow sucked into a fake news vortex, it’ll already be ahead if its reputation is unblemished. It will be even more prepared if it has stayed in the public eye with positive news stories.