Creativity In PR 2022 – the results are in! Welcome to my summary of the report, which was conducted by Now Go Create in partnership with Provoke Media…
Unlike last year, the results of our Creative In PR survey weren’t analysed on a laptop during gaps between home-schooling duties!
While we’re still not out of the Covid woods just yet, many of us have been able to draw something of a line under the past two years and return to something more stable. But what does that mean for the industry? Has a much-hyped ‘new normal’ emerged, or has everything settled back to where it was pre-pandemic?
Last year’s poll painted a remarkable picture a resilient industry coping extremely well under the circumstances. As Dan Margulis, Executive Creative Director, Global Creative Leadership at FleishmanHillard, noted at the time: “Creativity has always been the way out of a crisis.”
For the most part, PR professionals working from home in 2021 told us that both their own and their agencies’ creativity had been operating at a higher level than it was before the crisis.
A creative workforce up to the challenge
In fact, the industry seemed to be firing on all cylinders, keen to rise to the challenge for bigger and better ideas. Interestingly, a third of beleaguered creative directors told us they actually led their teams better during the pandemic.
This year we wanted to find out whether the creative energy that emerged during lockdown was still alive, or if we’d fallen back on old insecurities about PR’s seat at the table.
Those old tropes are hard to shake off. But the good news is that our survey results contain… lots of good news. Some respondents clearly see that creativity within their agencies is better now than before the pandemic. Client appetites for big ideas appear to have grown too – as you’ll see.
We couldn’t do these surveys – which began a decade ago in 2012 – without you, the hard-working PR professionals who took the time out to answer the questions. So once again: thank you.
Creativity in PR is ‘inspirational’ to many
Like last year, our respondents are remarkably bullish about the impact of Covid on creative levels within their agency. More than three-quarters (76%) see creative levels rising to ‘inspirational’ or ‘good’ post-pandemic, compared to 67% prior.
And there is a significant increase in those that see ‘inspirational’ levels of creativity: up to 28% now versus just 16% before the Covid era, perhaps reflecting the elevated importance of empathetic PR work during the past two years.
In-house respondents, meanwhile, are similarly enthused. 64% rate their PR agency creative levels as ‘inspirational’ or ‘good’ now, versus 50% prior to the pandemic.
The power of authentic creative work
Authenticity remains the top driver of great PR work in 2022, according to agency respondents, ahead of engagement and courage. Those results, largely mirror 2021, but there is a big jump for purpose & belonging which now narrowly outranks ethics, storytelling/humour and behavioural change.
All of those drivers, furthermore, reflect the heightened priorities of the past two years, where brands have been expected to play a more responsible, reassuring role in society, living up to the values that they often profess.
Social purpose is as strong as ever
This year, we attempted to delve deeper into the broader societal and business trends that are influencing creative strategy and work over the past 12 months. To little surprise, perhaps, social purpose and ESG emerges as the most influential of these, according to 79% of respondents.
That puts it well ahead of other factors that brands are taking into account when developing creative ideas, including authenticity (59%), employee engagement & worker safety (39%), reassurance & belonging (33%), and immersive experiences (26%). Disappointingly, the UN Sustainable Development Goals garner little support.
Influencers maintain their grip
When it comes to developing activations meanwhile, digital reigns supreme — led by influencer marketing (64%), social media (54%) and experiential (50%) trends. The metaverse garners only lukewarm support (21%), while product placement appears to have had its day for now at least.