Top 10 Tech Predictions for 2021

2021 predictions

Still holding on? 2020 was jarring and fast/ slow in all the wrong ways. To help you navigate turns still ahead, we asked the Highwire team for macro-landscape 2021 predictions.

Here’s our technology forecast: business applications will drive innovation, ransomware attacks will threaten the White House, and remote monitoring tools will keep flooding the heart healthcare space. We’re betting that Instagram will oust Amazon for lifestyle shopping and fintechs will provoke bank branches to shutter.  

Our deep relationships with the media and our clients give us perspective on how technology will reshape 2021. We hope these predictions — and our other blogs — will add fuel to your journey. 

 

Enterprise

Alex Cardenas, Account Manager

Business, not the consumer will drive tech innovation in 2021

For decades consumer devices have been the drivers of tech innovation: Mac computers, Wifi, Napster, iPods, smartphones, Google maps, et.al.

Not since the introduction of the PC in 1980 has a business application been the primary tech driver. But with the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence business will take the lead because A.I. applications will be most impactful inside the business/manufacturing environment.

Autonomous vehicles and FedEx are the data centers of the future

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions get updated every few years so it shouldn’t be surprising that we have new definitions of cloud. Hybrid cloud has reached a tipping point and the edge is now “on-prem:” forget about CAPEX-draining data centers, autonomous vehicles are now data centers on wheels and FedEx is one of the largest on-prem vendors in North America. This has huge implications for cloud, data and app development — and redefining hybrid strategies is the next major hurdle to competitive advantage.

 

Security

Ali Wilson, Account Executive

Cloud failures will skyrocket in 2021

COVID-19 has driven millions to work remotely–a change that happened almost literally overnight. Research indicates that organizations sped up transformation by as much as six years.

And it appears this change will, to a great extent, be permanent.

The problem is the change happened so quickly there was minimal attention given to preventative cybersecurity as security was forced from the centralized network. It was thrown to the wayside to appease evolving customer demands. 

So, we expect to see an uptick in (successful) cloud attacks in 2021, as bad actors take advantage of poor data management practices, new technologies in the cloud, and hidden holes and vulnerabilities in cloud environments,

Cloud failures will hit an all-time high and no organization or industry will be left unscathed.

Christine Elswick, SVP

Cybersecurity will be a renewed priority for the new administration

President-Elect Biden was the second presidential hopeful to employ a CISO on the campaign trail, and the first VP to see a chief data scientist in the White house. 

As he enters the White House in the top spot, we expect Biden will continue to prioritize cybersecurity at the federal level.

Amidst COVID-19, foreign adversaries remain quarantined with nothing but time on their hand and the  largely remote, and disparate U.S. Government is their top target. 

We anticipate a federal focus on data privacy and ransomware prevention among public sector entities.

 

Healthcare

Saige Smith, VP

More than 50% of those suffering from heart health conditions will adopt remote monitoring tools 

The cardiology space is archaic with outdated methods to diagnose, treat and track heart health issues. That’s all going to transform in 2021. We expect that close to 50% of patients with some form of heart health issues will adopt a remote monitoring tool. Individuals suffering from heart health conditions, like atrial fibrillation, will conduct an electrocardiogram and report their findings to their cardiologists from home. This will dramatically curb costs associated with these conditions and ensure space is reserved for patients experiencing critical health issues. We think this pivot to remote care will also occur in other critical care areas like monitoring for diabetes and infertility.

Ali Nix, Senior Account Manager

As distrust in government to provide healthcare continues, patients will turn to their employers

A poll, which surveyed people from eight Northern California counties, was conducted in May and then September. In the spring, 58% considered the federal government’s response to the pandemic “very poor.” In the fall, that group increased another 5%. As people continue to distrust the government’s response to the pandemic, this will affect other areas of healthcare as well. We also predict patients will turn to their employers for guidance on best practices, where to get the vaccine (when it’s finally available), and more. 

This will extend to mental health benefits and other ‘side effects’ of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, too. For example, multiple major benefits providers waived member cost-sharing for behavioral and mental health counseling services through the end of 2020. We think employers will increasingly be looking for ways they can support their employees beyond traditional support services and benefits.

 

Consumer

Courtney Geesey-Dorr, VP

Wearables will make a comeback and be bigger than ever 

After a rather unexciting presence as recreational devices like FitBit, look for a new, more serious role for wearables to monitor critical matters like your immediate air quality, blood pressure and social distancing alerts.

Instagram will dominate style-centric product sales

Amazon may lead the online marketplace but look for Instagram to become the winner when it comes to items driven by style.

Instagram has two advantages: (1) it’s a visual medium that showcases stylish ads and (2) it’s recreational social media, so consumers spend hours on the platform being exposed to the brand messages.

 

Commerce

Kim Paone, GM

50% of bank branches will disappear by 2023

Due to the shelter in place mandates in many areas of the US, mobile banking has moved well beyond early adopters.

And there are no signs of traditional banking and money management coming back.

Instead, look for banks to rapidly partner with new fintechs to ensure safe and contactless offerings while they close expensive branches as fast as they can.

Consumers get supply chain savvy as E-commerce sales skyrocket

2020 brought e-commerce demand to a new level as consumers avoided in-store. Due to a strained supply chain and out of stock items, consumers began expecting more regular updates on the status of their purchases. 

In 2021, consumers will expect a new level of transparency from all e-commerce brands.

It’s no longer enough to estimate a delivery date. They will want real-time updates on packing, shipping and the person who will visit their home for delivery. These insights will be key for the e-commerce brands that want to gain brand loyalty and trust from consumers.

Our Summit Takeaways: Luminaries on Rethinking DIBs

luminaries rethinking DIBsThe PR industry has not made enough progress on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIBs) initiatives in the past few years. A PRWeek study sheds light on the disparity: A mere 13% of PR agency board/C-suite members are non-white, while 24% of the workforce is non-white. The Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd’s death encouraged agencies to think critically about how they can support and uplift Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) voices in their communities and diversify their workforce. 

PRovoke hosted a panel discussion on Monday intended to spur change. Highwire Principal and cofounder Emily Borders moderated an insightful discussion with industry luminaries Elizabeth Bananuka, Neil Foote, Soon Mee Kim and Randy Moore. The panel was titled Charting a Course: How Agencies can Work Together to Accelerate Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.

The Highwire team felt inspired by the conversation, so we compiled five ideas we can’t stop thinking about. We look forward to applying these insights internally and hope you can implement these concepts to develop your DIBs initiatives in a meaningful way.

1. Where Morals and Business Intersect

Kim, Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Omnicom Public Relations Group stressed the importance of recognizing “diversity, equity, and inclusion as a moral imperative without question. It is also a business imperative.” Decisions within companies are typically made with business outcomes in mind. When it comes to DIBs initiatives, however, companies must set aside revenue goals and do what is right, both on an individual and organizational level.

The positive effects on business growth are proven. Racial and ethnic diversity improves financial performance by 35%, according to a McKinsey & Company study. Diversity also has a positive correlation with innovation. Harvard Business Review, which defines innovation as freshness of revenue mix, found that more diverse companies welcomed 19% more innovation revenue. Communications teams representing partners that strive for innovation should make DIBs part of their PR programs, encouraging their partners to rev up diversity programs. “DEI equals ROI” said Foote, President and CEO of Foote Communications.

2. Dissolving Performative Allyship

Remember when Instagram was flooded with blackout squares on Black Out Tuesday back in June? Individuals and brands posted black squares to their feeds to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. While the intentions here may have been sound, the result buried educational content on how to be an ally and didn’t do much to actually help people. 

The same applies to employer brands. Bananuka, CEO and cofounder of The Blueprint, reminded us that “ethnic minorities are not pets for you to use for your LinkedIn content.” Performative allyship will not cut it. Surface-level actions that are solely intended to show people they care do not truly make a difference in undermining systemic racism. Instead, organizations must commit to taking meaningful action in all aspects of business, such as recruiting, wages and the boardroom. 

3. Rethinking Recruitment 

Teams looking for BIPOC candidates ask, “Where do we find this talent?” These teams should rethink how they recruit and where they are looking for prospective employees. Instead of assuming diverse candidates will approach them, hiring managers must proactively seek them out and meet them where they are. As Moore, Chief Operating Officer of COOP, said, “The problem is not with Black and Latinx students, it’s with the organizations. Black and Latinx talent is out there.” 

Employers must also revisit job descriptions and requirements. Foote said that the “four-year degree is not the only marker for talent” and those diverse candidates who may not have impressive internships may bring other qualities through their lived experiences, such as juggling multiple jobs at once. Recruiters might step away from the top institutions that cater to white students and refocus efforts on other communities. 

4. Daily Discussion

DIBs should not be a passing reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. This work should not stop but rather should become an integral part of daily operations. Foote said this is “a daily conversation. Not saved for our annual meeting, but conversations that are happening daily.” Teams across the organization should examine what they are doing to be better allies and outline steps to integrate anti-racism work into daily activities. For example, PR teams might ensure diversity is included in every single creative campaign. Business development teams may bring diversity initiatives into the conversations they are having with prospects daily.

5. Influencing Organizational Structure

Executive-level advocacy is admirable, but “doing right” isn’t enough if a new-hire on the other side of the power continuum doesn’t feel welcome. Moore suggested creating affinity groups within an organization, for example, as a way to begin making an early difference. Known as the “grass top,” executives can pull levers that influence other influencers. They can activate more initiatives that also influence their organization’s “grass roots.”

Whichever way the initiatives originate and fan out, the ultimate measure of success is the BIPOC employee’s own assessment of inclusion. Efforts, metrics and statements on social media alone aren’t enough.

As Moore said, “Sometimes we see larger [DIBs] initiatives on the grass top, but if it’s not trickling down to the grassroots it doesn’t have an effect on the most important stakeholder.” 

Women’s Equality Day and The Road Ahead

Women’s Equality Day was designated in 1973 as a day to commemorate the passing of the 19th amendment but also to call attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Women’s Equality Day was the culmination of a massive peaceful civil rights movement by women, beginning at Seneca Falls in 1848, and though we as women have made incredible progress to be where we are today — we still have a long way to go. This commemorative day is even more poignant in 2020, as the nation reflects on significant groups of people who have been left out of this type of celebratory history.

Black women in America were left behind from the suffrage movement. Though the constitutional amendment removed sex from voting rights regulations, it did not explicitly allow Black women to vote. Yet, despite these challenges, Black women persisted. Martha S. Jones wrote that Black women organized suffrage schools where they taught each other how to pay poll taxes, how to pass a literacy test, and how to interpret the Constitution. While some managed to overcome the obstacles, many were turned away or forced to stay home.  

Today — women make $0.81 for every dollar a man makes. For women of color, that gap is even bigger, at just $0.75 to the dollar. Interestingly, the gender pay gap widens even further as women progress in their career — at the executive level, in a group controlled for job title, years of experience, industry, location and other compensable factors, women make $0.95 to the dollar, compared to a shocking $0.69 for the uncontrolled group. You can find even more information on the gender pay gap and the opportunity gap through Payscale.

Today, we asked some of our Highwire walkers what women’s equality means to them, as well as their thoughts on where we go from here: 

Carol Carrubba, Principal, SF:

“Women’s equality is an important goal but not a milestone we’ve realized in any way. Today, we celebrate a record high number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 and it’s still only 37. We are ecstatic to see our first Black female VP candidate in the U.S., but that took 230 years. Every step forward, no matter how difficult, minuscule or slow-going, is important and I am deeply inspired by the women who fight for what they want and who make the world a better place for all women. I count Emily and Kathleen, and my own mother among these brave champions and I hope I can also do my part.” 

Christi-Anne Weatherly, Intern, NY

“Women’s equality is intersectional and means equality for all women, not just those who look like me. It means equality for trans women, women of color, disabled women, women who are immigrants, and all women in between.”

Ross Levanto, SVP in the Boston office

“To me, women’s equality means championing and learning from the women in my professional life whom I have had the pleasure and honor to work with.”

Lauren Bishop, Digital Associate in the NY office

“Women’s equality has made strides throughout the past years and decades — through equal pay, equal opportunities, education, and more. Although there are still issues to be solved, the future is bright if we continue to make conscious decisions that make it happen.”

Jazmin Eusebio, Account Associate in the SF office

“Women are persistent and have been fighting for basic human rights for decades, including the right to vote. Unfortunately, women of color, especially Black women are constantly left behind and often work twice as hard to barely get where white women started – we continue to see this trend to this day. To me, women’s equality means continuously doing everything you can to uplift women of marginalized identities. History has shown it takes continuous effort to see this change.”

From the early days of Seneca Falls to today, many women have been left out of the conversation around equality. It is time for us to shift the movement to take a wider approach — one that is intersectional, inclusive, and considers wider representation. Equality means different things to different people, but at a base level, it is a fundamental human right and it continues to evolve. While women have made strides over the past century, the conversation around gender equality needs to continue to evolve to include trans and non-binary people. Two hundred years later is a better time than any to take a step back and re-imagine what our world looks like, and where we can grow from here as we look toward the next 200 and a more equal future.  

For more information on the history of Women’s Equality Day and where we go from here, please see here, and visit the National Women’s History Alliance.

What does women’s equality look like today for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

How A Solid IR/PR Strategy Can Help Win Over Investors Amid a Global Pandemic

How do you make the most powerful impression as you prepare for a financing round or IPO? By illuminating your company’s successes, its strong financial future, and the C-suite of visionaries behind the brand. Even in times of crisis or economic recession, focusing on the power of a strategic, IR/PR communications approach should always be a top priority.

As seen in PR Daily, Highwire partnered with Gilmartin Group, a strategic advisory firm, to develop a recommended phased approach to key IR/PR strategies every company should consider and implement to increase its Wall Street visibility, especially during a worldwide pandemic: 

  • Phase I: Craft communications plan and refine corporate messaging
  • Phase II: Execute your communications plan
    Phase III: Deepen your credibility

What challenges are hindering your company’s progress in garnering investor interest? Let us know at healthcare@highwirepr.com and we’ll provide three bespoke PR and IR solutions.

Virtual Walker: Reflecting on My Fully-Remote Internship

When I first learned about Highwire, I was drawn to the amazing office culture and one of Highwire’s core values – collaboration. Fast forward to my start date –which was one week after shelter-in-place orders had just been announced due to COVID-19 — and I had to rewire and adjust to working from home, all while onboarding and learning the ropes of my new remote internship. I was nervous to “e-introduce” myself to people I had never met and had a lot of questions without being certain who I should ask. 

Thankfully, Highwire has helped me seamlessly adjust to remote work and has made me feel like I belong. Within my first month, my fellow Highwire Walkers reached out to me to set up 1:1 meetings and happy hours, and Highwire’s mental health awareness discussions, and Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging trainings allowed me to connect more deeply with my colleagues. 

Now I’m more than halfway through my remote internship and have been reflecting on what’s made me #AlwaysWired and #AlwaysWinning. I hope that through my experience, I can empower other remote interns and new hires by sharing my own challenges and positive experiences. 

Drinking a ton of “virtual” coffee

A sense of belonging is one of the most important parts of joining any company, and I’ve had to get creative to form connections with my colleagues while we’re all remote. By connecting with my teammates outside of our weekly calls, I learned how they like to work, their communication styles, and what they love about PR and Highwire. In tandem, I’ve connected with colleagues and management for online working sessions and interactive trainings to mimic the hands-on experience of working at the Highwire office. I love talking about what to pitch next and which new targets I can add to our media list, but I’m also so grateful to have conversations about what podcasts to listen to, new places to visit around SF, and how to be a better ally. 

Sharing challenges and taking action

I felt a shift in my performance at Highwire once I began to share what I was struggling with. It was easy to think to myself “I should be better at this” and get into a negative mindset without actually reflecting on how to improve. Highwire’s culture is heavily focused on real-time feedback and radical candor, and I found that candidly sharing my challenges and listening to actionable advice from my managers and colleagues helped boost my confidence, not hinder it. I collected all of my feedback and created checklists before submitting an assignment — now I can mentally go through that checklist without needing to pull up the document. Taking constructive feedback is challenging for a lot of people, but I was constantly reminded by my colleagues that everyone is still learning. 

Overcommunication 

We hear this one a lot at Highwire, but I’ve grown to rely on overcommunication to feel successful in a remote internship. I constantly check my teammates’ Slack statuses to see what they’re working on and update mine whenever possible. I’ve especially enjoyed the fact that Highwire Walkers that use their Slack to set an intention, goal, or fun conversation starter. In addition, if I’m working on an assignment and struggling with it, I use Slack to ask a quick question or to jump on a quick call and walk through the problem. 

While everyone has their own work style, I hope my experience has shown the silver lining of starting a new role remotely. I’m thankful that Highwire has used this unprecedented time as an opportunity to check in with employees, recommit to belonging, and let all Highwire Walkers know how much value we add to our agency.

PR to Support the 24/7 Coronavirus News Cycle

The coronavirus health crisis has had an impact on every aspect of our lives in recent months. Imagine you are the editor of a publication written for those that work in healthcare. The impact in their virtual newsroom has been especially profound. 

As editor in chief at HIMSS media, Jonah Comstock is working through the new normal for the teams at his publications, which include MobiHealthNews, Healthcare Finance and Healthcare IT News. His summary of the news landscape right now: Even if the topic of a story is not COVID-19… it really is.

Comstock recently sat down virtually with me to discuss the current state of his editorial team and how PR people should evaluate and approach editors like him. Hint: Everyone thinks their technology is a vital solution to the current coronavirus-driven health IT challenges. 

You can watch the roughly ten-minute video interview embedded below. 

The video interview is the latest episode in Highwire’s series “PR: Forever Changed” that investigates how PR for innovative companies, including those in healthcare, security, enterprise software, financial services, and consumer markets, has dramatically shifted in 2020. You can subscribe to the Highwire PR YouTube channel to be alerted to upcoming episodes.

PR to the Rescue for Digital Content

The evaluators, buyers and users of innovative technologies, healthcare services and consumer products are consuming digital content while they work and entertain their families from home. The digital content is vital to vendor marketing strategies, and based merely on a survey of Highwire clients, many companies are right now evaluating the content they create and promote. 

PR professionals have always called themselves storytellers. For innovators, their skill set allows them to connect their clients’ offerings to the needs and states of the world. The opportunity now for PR is to create fascinating digital content that builds interest in goods and services, relates to emerging trends to inform, and shows empathy and compassion for how dramatically our world has changed.

What will emerge are new best practices for digital content and digital experiences and how they aid marketing efforts. 

A new video interview, embedded later in this post, discusses the role of digital content with Tim Washer, a storyteller who has worked for major tech brands to define their stories. 

Tim’s impact on my thinking regarding high-quality content started back in 2012, when he previewed a Cisco project, The Network Effect, at a MarketingProfs concert in Seattle. The indelible story of a shack in Africa that served as the link to the world for a small village demonstrated to me how exceptional content can tell an emotional story even for B2B technology companies. 

Tim is also very funny, and today he gives presentations to corporate audiences. My roughly 15-minute chat is available in this post as well as on Highwire PR’s YouTube channel.

The video interview is the latest episode in Highwire’s series “PR: Forever Changed” that investigates how PR for innovative companies, including those in healthcare, security, enterprise software, financial services, and consumer markets, has dramatically shifted in 2020. You can subscribe to the Highwire PR YouTube channel to be alerted to upcoming episodes.

Mental Health Awareness Month: How to Encourage Mental Well-being

Photo by Finn on Unsplash

Since 1949, May has been recognized across the country as Mental Health Awareness Month

This year, the importance of the month becomes even more relevant, as we all face new challenges and work in our “new normal.” 

Quarantine can have a wide range of effects on an individual’s mental health including increased feelings of stress, fear and loneliness which can lead to anxiety, depression and other problems. Additionally, these feelings can degrade physical health (cardiovascular fitness, immune fitness) through the disruption of recuperative behaviors (sleep, leisure). 

Trying to balance all of this added stress while maintaining professionalism at work can be extremely difficult. In line with 2020’s Mental Health Month theme, ‘Tools 2 Thrive,’ we’ve compiled a list of five ways that Highwire is encouraging our employees to thrive in the midst of the pandemic.

  • Cut Down on Media Exposure

With the information on the state of the pandemic changing so rapidly, many of us are glued to our screens in search of the most recent updates. Working in public relations, our jobs revolve entirely around what is happening in the news, so while it may not be possible to cut out media entirely, look for ways to refocus on the good happening around us. Consuming too much covid-focused or local news can activate stress responses, leading to serious damage to both physical and mental health. To limit this, Highwire created a separate slack channel for COVID-19 news to give employees the option to choose the amount of exposure they are comfortable with. While it may seem difficult, cutting down on media exposure is vital to keeping stress levels manageable. 

  • Separate Your Work Life From Your Home Life

Now that our offices and our homes are one and the same, for some, logging off for the day has become a difficult task. What’s more, keeping busy with work is one way we might look to distract ourselves from the larger problems surrounding us. With parents doubling as home-school teachers, and roommates and spouses fighting over “conference rooms,” maintaining boundaries between work and home can be a challenge, but taking the time to create space for each piece of your life can help with your mental well-being. To help keep our balance, Highwire integrated our #TimeBackChallenge to encourage employees to cancel unnecessary meetings, and share what they used that time for instead. Additionally as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, our leadership team is encouraging employees to take a mental health day or two to re-center. 

  • Take Screen Breaks

For many, working from home means staring at their screen all day supplemented by quick runs to the kitchen or to walk the dog. Without the proper amount of time taken away from computer screens, our brains begin to become mentally exhausted. This is also known commonly as ‘Zoom fatigue’. 

Constant video-conferencing can cause our  brains to feel overwhelmed by unfamiliar and excess stimuli. This exhausts our brains, creating a strain on our mental health. For this reason, taking the occasional 10-15 minute break from your screen can help keep your mental health in check. To encourage our employees to take brain breaks as needed, we hold weekly mindfulness meetings, allowing employees to unplug and relax.

  • Don’t Stop Communicating

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, physical workspaces offer an excuse for communication and connection. In order to stay mentally balanced, humans require a certain level of socialization, and with shelter-in-place restrictions, we need to adjust our communication techniques. Communicating with co-workers, even while working remotely, can help boost social contact levels to increase mental and physical health. To increase socialization, Highwire dropped thought starters into popular slack channels. Examples include: tips for keeping the little ones busy in our ‘Parents’ channel or best quarantine recipes or fails in our “Bon Appetit” channel. In addition to this, certain slack channels have taken to after work video-conferencing happy hours to keep the socialization going. Our health and beauty channel has a weekly “bring your own face mask” happy hour.

  • Be Transparent 

As with any big problem, this is easier said than done. Instinctually, we feel the need to compartmentalize our work life and our home life in separate categories. But what happens when one starts to affect the other? With many workforces being remote, it is increasingly difficult to gauge your co-workers’ well being. This puts the responsibility on each individual to be transparent about whether they need a hand. To help educate our Highwire family on how to approach mental health struggles during the pandemic, our Diversity & Inclusion committee is holding virtual discussions based on recent studies and articles throughout May. As a sign of support, our leadership team also held a training for Mental Health Awareness Month on how to approach work-related stressors and ask for help. 

It’s more important than ever for us to lean on one another, and to support our colleagues when they need it. 

At Highwire, we’re proud that we were able to integrate meaningful strategies that improve the overall wellbeing of our employees. What are some “tools to thrive” that you’ve implemented during quarantine? Share with us below!

Appetite for Industry Expertise Unsatiated: Role of Trade Reporters, and Their Sources, Increasingly Vital

Despite all the talk of a digital world, physical industry trade events remain a main vehicle for networking because all the thought leaders in a given industry are in one place. Reporters rely on these events to check in with their sources or to find new ones, according to a recent Highwire hosted video chat with two key reporters covering vital industries: cybersecurity and healthcare.

Of course, with physical events currently not happening, reporters are now looking to other ways to maintain relationships with key industry experts and to hear about what’s driving innovation and business. This is just one example of how the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted how reporters do their jobs, and the role they serve given the changes we are all working and living through.

In this video chat, featuring Dark Reading’s executive editor Kelly Jackson Higgins and Rajiv Leventhal, managing editor of Healthcare Innovation, we talked about the role and lives of industry media in recent weeks, since the spread of coronavirus completely changed our world. 

The editors also discussed best practices for PR professionals whose roles have also forever changed. The roughly 15-minute chat is available in this post as well as on Highwire PR’s YouTube channel.

This is the first episode in a series, “PR: Forever Changed,” that investigates how PR for innovative companies, including those in healthcare, security, enterprise software, financial services, and consumer markets, has dramatically shifted in 2020. 

What is the role of PR as we all recognize a new normal? These five episodes will attempt to answer the question or at least initiate a worthwhile discussion. You can subscribe to the Highwire PR YouTube channel to be alerted to upcoming episodes.

You Want an Award-Winning PR Program? Here’s What It Takes

As communications professionals, we know that the best award submission starts with innovative clients and a strong PR program. 

At Highwire, we’re lucky to work with industry-leading clients whose partnership leads to creative PR campaigns. When we collaborate, we think strategically about what type of campaigns not only map back to business goals, but that are award-worthy in their own right. 

In 2019, we celebrated several award wins including a Stevie and two Bronze Anvils. This year, we were recently announced as finalists for PRovoke’s Technology Agencies of the Year, as well as finalists in two categories for the SABRE award.  These awards bring together the best firms, execs and campaigns, not just in tech PR, but in the broader communications industry to recognize innovative thinking, excellent client services and more.

While the hard work of building an award-worthy campaign alongside our clients is the first step, what else goes into a winning submission? To guide our efforts for these submissions, here are a few key tips we kept in mind:

  • Contextualize the opportunity: Our clients are part of larger industry ecosystems and our campaigns are too. Make sure that your submission highlights why that campaign mattered at that specific moment in time. Was there a national health crisis that this technology was looking to help fix or a new piece of legislation that it tied back to? Whatever that context may be, you developed a campaign taking it into consideration, so be sure that it’s showcased in your submission. 
  • Leverage industry accolades: Chances are your client has validation from 3rd parties. Incorporating these into the award submission can serve as a powerful way to show why the company and this campaign is at the forefront of their industry. This can be anything from research partnerships with academic institutions, peer-reviewed publications, participation in industry cohorts and prior award wins. While they may not be directly tied to the campaign you’re nominating, it goes to show how the company, and its campaign, is connected within the broader ecosystem.
  • Highlight impactful metrics: We all know that data is key when it comes to showing impact and award submissions are no different. While we may be tempted to showcase the sheer number of placements a campaign garnered, it’s always best to lead with quality over quantity. Did your campaign help drive an enormous number of leads, bring in a high-quality new customer or reach a new social audience? These are the numbers that drive huge business results for our clients and show how PR had a direct impact on our client’s bottom line, and should be front and center when demonstrating a campaign’s results.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Highwire partners with organizations, please feel free to explore our case study page or reach out directly at hi@highwirepr.com