Earlier this month, I sat down with Diane Schwartz, CEO of Ragan Communications, on ARPR’s Marketing Sandbox podcast. At one point in our conversation, she very confidently said, “I think 2020 was the year of the communicator. CEOs and the C-Suite really saw the value more than ever of the communicator’s role in the business.”
I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I think this sentiment will continue into 2021. If PR gained a seat at the table in 2020, that seat is only going to get bigger in 2021 due to a bevy of corporate communications issues. Here are the two biggest:
Corporate restructures are on the rise.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” And while Charles Darwin was talking about animal evolution, he might as well have been lecturing Silicon Valley, Wall Street and Main Street in 2020.
For many companies disrupted by the pandemic, restructuring is critical for short and long-term survival. As Deloitte recently said, “The dramatic changes the pandemic has brought to the business environment should prompt most companies to explore new ways to get the most effective returns from their resources, assets, and capital in a new environment.”
Whether a restructure involves workforce reductions, outside investment, executive changes or more, they all require corporate communications. At some level, every corporate restructure has elements of crisis communications, customer messaging and internal stakeholder engagement, which necessitate heavy involvement from skilled PR leaders.
Expect a high volume of mergers & acquisitions.
Economists and business analysts agree that we’re about to see an uptick in M&A activity for a variety of reasons. They include:
Opportunistic corporations seeking to grow market share with good deals
Beleaguered founders ready to exit after surviving 2020
Corporate restructures looking for economies of scale and efficiencies
This spike in transactions will keep corporate communicators busy in 2021. And while your board of directors and investors love to see the earned media that rains down after an M&A announcement - be careful that it doesn’t siphon too many resources from proactive brand comms. This means you might need heavier PR muscle so as to not lose mindshare with your most important audience - your buyers.
As your company prepares for another year of in-demand corporate communications, download ARPR’s playbook, How to Integrate PR Into Every Department Within Your Tech Company. In it, you’ll learn how and why PR should have a seat at the table with HR, sales, customer success, product development and especially the c-suite to achieve strategic PR and marketing success.