Pr update september
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COVID-19: PR and Media Update - September 2020

It’s almost hard to believe it, but summer is nearly over!

As we’re all finding new ways to adapt to the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, brands and the media are finding new ways of working.

Here’s our latest roundup of news, updates and insights from the past few weeks based on our conversations with the media, as well as insights we’ve gleaned by keeping our ear to the ground.

The recession is official, but recovery ‘should’ be swift

The UK economy suffered its biggest slump on record between April and June as coronavirus lockdown measures pushed the country officially into recession.

The leisure boating industry has witnessed a huge 43% jump in year-on-year boat registrations according to a recent report published in Soundings Trade Only.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen prominent consumer brands like Wetherspoons, Selfridges, Boots, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Rolls Royce, and Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza owner, LGH Hotels announce mass redundancies, as the pandemic leaves a lasting impact on the UK’s hospitality, leisure and retail sectors.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as we’ve seen some industries, such as manufacturing, show promising signs of bouncing back and Bank of England Chief predicts that England’s economy is on course for a rapid recovery.

Analytics gives you a competitive advantage…still

Data has always been critical to helping make big business decisions, but with COVID-19, the need for businesses to be able to analyse their activity is more important than ever before. Bringing data from all sources into one integrated dashboard to tell the full picture has helped not just the Government, but big businesses make decisions to protect their teams, employers and other stakeholders.

Influencer marketing in the age of COVID-19

Influencer marketing has certainly been disrupted this year, but many of the trends have accelerated. This includes the trend towards unscripted content and the rise of everyday influencers from TikTok – and industries who had never considered this tactic before are also getting on board.

Reduced marketing budgets have seen cuts in big brands spending on influencers and also paid for social media campaigns, resulting in a greater opportunity to build brand awareness through influencers rather than direct sales. The opportunity to drive interest through influencers in any market is that it’s quick and easy to produce, at a time where large scale ad production is difficult. Use trusted and well-respected brand advocates and give them the creative freedom to talk about your brand in a way they’re comfortable with (not what you tell them). This will help businesses succeed further in creating more successful influencer outreach programmes.

Media landscape

  • The Guardian has announced plans to cut 180 jobs after a £25m revenue drop, due to the pandemic, which has resulted in an ‘unstable financial outlook’ for newspaper
  • Yorkshire Evening Post and Lancashire Post announced plans to go behind a paywall to generate increased revenue and further focus its commitment on “independent, high-quality journalism”
  • Immediate Media is planning to cut up to 113 jobs and close 12 magazines after the COVID-19 crisis badly hit newsstand sales and advertising revenue
  • BBC announced plans to cut its ‘tea-time’ Newsround TV bulletin after almost 50 years, as it shifts its focus to more online coverage. The changes will take effect from the start of the new school term in September and will also see the two morning bulletins reduced to one extended bulletin

Social Media News

  • Instagram Reels is here! This Instagram's TikTok lookalike feature and it has already been rolled out to 50 different regions, allowing users to create short, fifteen second long videos set to music. With growing concerns around TikTok’s security, this is great timing from Instagram.
  • Bots crackdown. It’s been important for social media providers to be seen to be actively closing fake accounts down for a while, and Instagram have recently taken new steps to do this with a new review and ID process. This means, if they detect a pattern of potential inauthentic behaviour, people will be asked to confirm if the account is real or not. It is worth reiterating that we would never recommend our clients to purchase likes or followers on any social platform for this very reason, you’re not getting followers, just robots.
  • TikTok has launched a new Tutorials platform to provide lessons on how to use the platform's various tools, in order to help brands maximise their TikTok presence
  • Facebook launches messenger rooms, allowing businesses to invite up to 50 people into what’s essentially a chat room. A bit like a Facebook group but more personal as a joinable video call.
  • Facebook introduces Messenger Lock as a privacy setting, so if someone borrows your phone to make a call, they can’t access your messages. If you’re managing a business’s communications, this is particularly important.
  • Facebook Provides Tips on How to Optimize Your Facebook Live Broadcasts