Napier is a proud member of Eurocom Worldwide, the global PR network for B2B and technology. The Eurocom network gives us access to some of the best B2B and technology expertise across the globe, as well as insight into the latest updates or trends from the global PR industry.

Most recently, Eurocom launched a survey working with medium-sized enterprises in the B2B and Technology industry to gain insights into COVID-19 and its impact on Brand PR and Marketing Communications.

Here are the six key things we learnt from the survey’s results:

Communication practices have had to change

Close to 80% of respondents noted that they have either partially or completely had to rethink their communications practices and corporate messaging during the global health crisis, with some even needing to rethink and change their target markets.

This is not surprising given the varying restrictions imposed across different countries around the world affecting not only travel but the general events industry, such as exhibitions where key announcements are often made.

Offline events should not be ruled out for the future

The pandemic has created a trend for online events. From virtual exhibitions and stands to press conferences via meeting platforms, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, it is clear that what was once considered only as offline events can now take place online and have been proven to be successful in this new format. However, despite this triumph of digital prowess, a total of 56% respondents believe that either offline events will continue to play an important role in their communications strategy or that we will experience a comeback of offline events after the crisis. One survey participant highlighted how the “COVID-19 crisis has shown the potential but also the limits of a 100% digital approach, in-person events and networking will continue to have a role in B2B”.

The adoption of new digital tools has been accelerated

It’s not only offline events embracing the digital age during the pandemic. Companies themselves are also recognising the full potential of digital for communications; the implementation of new digital tools and demand for digital campaigns has increased significantly. Out of all survey respondents, 37% stated that the digital transformation is being accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, over 40% of respondents claimed that the virus is the reason behind the major shift towards digital and content marketing practices with the capabilities of social media further increasing communications with customers and stakeholders.

Our content development has changed

We are close to the end of 2020 and as the global health crisis continues, COVID-19 remains the hot topic on everyone’s mind and is infiltrating all areas of content. The survey showed that 26% of respondents assumed that scientific thought-leadership based approaches transmit credibility and will play a key role in gaining customers going forwards, while 71% of respondents deliberately pitched COVID-19 topics. One participant in the survey commented, “The COVID-19 theme can be an opportunity to stress CSR or brand essence content that shows how the company’s solutions contribute to society and/or to global mega trends”.

Internal communications are vital

Government guidelines on working practices during the pandemic have varied from country to country and key messaging has changed from company to company, but regardless of the set-up, internal communications have been vital. Over 50% of respondents asserted that they have adapted internal communications and messaging to focus on the global health crisis, with one-third of participants either in the process of or due to add dedicated crisis communications procedures to their internal communications practices. Additionally, close to 80% stressed the importance of having motivated employees to enhance the company’s brand and products, which can be challenging to maintain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The value of PR and MarComs agencies

Lastly, the survey demonstrated the value of PR and MarComs agencies as they take the lead through the crisis. The survey reported that 45% of respondents declared the crucial role their PR and marketing communications agencies have played in strategically leading them confidently through the crisis or providing expert-level support, advice and creativity to ensure PR and marketing activities were able to progress, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

To read the full results from the survey, please click here.