South Africa has recently been in the news for the wrong reason – a contagious strain of the coronavirus detected in the UK, US, Canada, Israel, and several countries in Europe and Africa.

The variant drove a second wave of infections in our region, resulting in beaches and public parks being closed over the festive period, alongside a new curfew being introduced and an alcohol ban being reinstated. Luckily these rules have now been eased, and life is a little more normal again as people return to work and schools start opening doors once more.

Here are a few interesting trends we have noted from past months:

Cybersecurity comms is booming

We’ve seen an uptick in cybersecurity clients, and have signed four new brands in this space since the beginning of lockdown. As companies embrace digital business models, exponentially more data is generated and shared. This means companies are exposed to new digital vulnerabilities and, unfortunately, South Africa still lags behind in its approach to cybersecurity culture.

As such, there is huge need for these solutions to provide effective protection and privacy, and there are great opportunities for brands in this space to do great comms work.

Trust is everything

Now more than ever, trust is essential to doing business and anchoring relationships. People want to do business with people they know, or who come recommended by trusted sources. It’s hard to build rapport over Zoom, and it appears companies currently don’t have the appetite to try to establish new relationships.

Since lockdowns first began, all of our new clients are either previous clients returning to work with us, ones that existing clients have referred to us, or referrals from the likes of Brands2Life Global.

In comms, it’s clear that your company’s reputation is now more important than ever.

The media landscape evolves even further

The saying actions speak louder than words has never rung truer. Currently journalists are less interested in stories about what a company does, but how they are supporting others and making a difference. We’re living in tough times, so stories about how companies enable people to perform, live, operate and make the world a better place are significant.

Print news is continuing to decline as more people consume information from online sources. And while this will continue to morph, the way we approach media must as well. With fewer opportunities to get publicity for clients, creativity and authenticity are the key ingredients for success.

With the current state of the media industry, sponsored content is coming out of the fringes and taking prominence. We experience a lot of push back from media houses and requests to pay for content. This is forcing PR agencies to come up with new solutions, with a renewed focus on long-term strategies for success. Necessity is the mother of invention, as another saying goes, and one thing to emerge from the pandemic is a tenacious approach to being innovative so we can continue to deliver for our clients, in the same way our partners around the world do too.