Spotlight: ADPR Talk Digital Trends and PR Disasters

In this instalment of our “Spotlight” series, we spoke to Sophie Foyle from ADPR about digital trends, PR disaster stories and creating an effective communications strategy.


What are your predictions for trends in marketing and PR this year?

Video is going to continue to be a really important part of all marketing communications strategies this year. Others will include greater personalisation of customer content from brands and the increasing use of AI technology.

Specifically on the PR side, the role of authenticity in influencers is going to stay a hot topic and I think brands across the board are going to be more scrupulous with the influencers they choose to work with.


Have you found that companies are adapting their briefs or strategies to focus more on the digital side of PR?

We have been employed by brands to generate online PR for the benefit of their SEO for many years, so it’s not something new. Today, brands are seeking a comprehensive strategic communications service that covers all parts of the marketing mix and digital PR lets us reach a wide, global audience really quickly.


You’ve worked with some fantastic brands, from Clarks Village to Helly Hansen. What’s been the most memorable PR event that you’ve worked on and why?

We were lucky enough to manage the PR and communications for technical sportswear brand Helly Hansen’s sponsorship of the Walking With The Wounded South Pole trek with HRH The Duke of Sussex. That was an incredible event to be involved with for all of the ADPR team.


Can you name the worst PR disaster story of recent times?

Facebook had a shocker of a year in 2018. From its data breach of 29 million accounts to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and its founder being called to testify before the US Congress, Facebook in 2018 is a textbook case study of how not to do it. In today’s climate, brands must act with transparency and honesty at their core. Zuckerberg of all people should know there’s no hiding in the internet age! Facebook should have held their hands up immediately and they might have stood half a chance of being able to guide the story.


If you had to give one “ultimate” PR tip to brands, what would it be?

To really work hard on developing meaningful objectives from the outset. If you don’t know what success looks like, how do you know if the campaign is working? Your overall business objectives should inform the communications objectives. They need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) and they need to be realistic – something that communications can achieve. For example, increasing sales would be a business objective but increasing positive sentiment about a brand would be a communications objective.


Thank you to Sophie from ADPR! We’ve definitely noticed the increasing importance of video in online marketing strategies – it’s going to take off even more this year. It’s interesting to hear that brands are moving towards seeking a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy, rather than focusing on a particular area or service.


For more information on creating a digital PR strategy, take a look at last week’s blog post! You can also keep an eye on the blog for future interviews and digital marketing updates.