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Public Relations in the COVID-19 Era

Updated: Apr 6

Throughout the past 1.5 years, Saltine Communications has worked hard to adapt the business to meet the unique demands of clients as they struggled to survive and thrive in the new and unprecedented business landscape. The company’s efforts were rewarded when the agency grew during this period, taking on more clients and expanding the team. However, there were several trends that emerged during this trying time, which we believe will continue to shape agencies and many businesses this year.

An Evolving Media Landscape

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which publishes The Straits Times, announced the restructuring of its media business amid a trend of falling advertising revenues for newspapers around the world. They would transfer its media business to SPH Media Holdings, as part of a restructuring exercise meant to ensure the long-term sustainability of the media business. With advertising earnings dropping and expected to continue on a downward trajectory, it was no longer tenable for the media business to remain part of a publicly listed company, where it would be whittled down over time by market pressure and commercial constraints.

Around the world, traditional media companies have seen a similar decline, with advertising revenue falling owing to digital disruption. The Internet has not only allowed more media organisations to be born but has also allowed tech giants like Google and Facebook to siphon off a large proportion of advertising revenues.

As a result of the changing media landscape, PR practitioners must dedicate time and effort to identifying the ideal media contacts and updating media lists, as well as building new relationships with the media. Saltine Communications have always prioritised developing friendly ties with our media friends and have garnered numerous notable media features for our clients owing to the rapport we have built with local media outlets.

Emerging Content Creators

The changes in the media landscape also mean that many traditional media outlets do not have the same amount of staff or resources that they’ve had in the past, so they are not as equipped to accept our pitches and cover our stories. Therefore, we must think outside the box to identify new and innovative ways to give our clients a voice, such as thought leadership opportunities and popular social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Damien Foo, CEO of Motorist, a vehicular management app in Singapore, has been constantly invited on Channel News Asia to comment on COE prices and trends. In the long term, this creates better customer faith as it demonstrates the media’s faith in Motorist and presents as a very valuable endorsement from the media.

We also work with meeth, a luxury Japanese skincare brand founded by Japanese model and celebrity Sonmi, to constantly reach out to local influencers and send them meeth’s products to try. They then share their experiences with their followers on Instagram and eventually, the new impressions left to convert to new cult followers of meeth.

Using social media influencers can work to your advantage as everything has moved to the digital space and physical contact has been shunned in recent years. Saltine Communications has had a lot of success promoting our clients’ stories and products by collaborating with rising content creators, through a diverse range of opportunities. Now that more Singaporeans are adopting the working and learning from home measures, they are spending more time scrolling through their favourite social media platforms and looking for inspirational content. Every organization can benefit from capturing social media users with compelling stories and information they will be moved to share.

As we slowly move towards building a COVID-19 resilient nation, we believe there are even greater opportunities where PR professionals can continue to make an impact at this moment in time.

Read more about our clients' successes in the COVID-19 era here.

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