Three Things We Learned from 2023’s PR and Marketing Hits and Misses

From February’s Breaking Bad/PopCorners Super Bowl ad to the ongoing TayVis phenomenon, 2023 was an interesting year in marketing and public relations. Together, we witnessed brand meltdowns, halftime show pregnancy announcements, and loads of pop culture nostalgia showing up in everything from fast food to movie theaters. So how can your business or brand benefit from studying the lessons of this year’s successful PR trends … and also from its failures? Here are Ad4!’s thoughts:

Trend: Influencer marketing 

Lesson: Know your audience

Remember that “incident” stemming from Bud Light’s April partnership with a popular TikTok influencer? Or when the company’s marketing VP appeared in a video criticizing the company’s loyal customer base as “fratty” and “out of touch?” Obviously, those folks weren’t so out of touch that they weren’t paying attention, and they retaliated with a historic product boycott that knocked the brand out of its longtime spot as the country’s best-selling beer, led to a 20% drop in sales, and stayed in the headlines (not in a good way) for six-plus months. It’s apparent that the company didn’t truly understand its target audience’s demographics and the value they provided. Your brand doesn’t have to make such a misstep to learn more about the folks who actually want and need your product and services — and the influencers they admire and follow. Let Ad4! Group help you find your people through thorough research, solid strategies, and introductions to the community!

Trend: AI-assisted content

Lesson: A little (but not too much) tech can be a good thing

Following its late-2022 introduction, ChatGPT and other AI-powered content creation engines started showing up in all of our favorite marketing and PR tools. Hootsuite, Mailchimp, Canva, HubSpot, Grammarly, WordPress … you name it, there’s probably an AI component (or seven) within it. Artificial intelligence is incredibly powerful, and it’s quite literally getting smarter every second. AI makes tons of tasks easier than ever for all kinds of businesses — there are even AI tools that help funeral directors write obituaries! Some people are terrified of AI, and we get that; the rumors that AI will one day take over jobs from billions of humans are pretty scary. On the other hand, some folks think AI can do it all, and — ironically — cut down on payroll expenses. As techies and creatives, our Ad4! team can see both sides of the AI argument, and we believe there’s happiness to be found in the middle ground. We leverage AI when it can help, but we know that it will never take the place of human instincts, connection, and talent.

Trend: Authenticity and ethical practices

Lesson: People want to know the real you and what you’re doing right

Authenticity online can be something of a double-edged sword — although individuals sometimes share only their highly-edited “best lives” on social media, they demand that brands be 100% authentic and are extremely sensitive to smoke-and-mirrors tactics. In other words, your company absolutely has to practice what it preaches. If you say you give back to your community, embrace sustainable and eco-friendly practices, or believe in diversity and equality, you have to show your social media followers and website visitors how you’re doing that. Your customers and clients want to know the “real you” — who you hire, what you believe, where you’re doing business, what you’re doing to improve the planet and exactly how that’s happening. The worst thing you can do is say one thing but do another. As Ad4! works with our clients, we dig in and really get to know them so we can showcase their authentic personalities, practices, and contributions in all of their customer or client interactions.

Now these are just a few of our words of wisdom and best practices. We have plenty more to offer, and we’re not afraid to share them with you. Next year, Ad4! Group will celebrate our 20th anniversary by looking back at two decades of trends and campaigns and looking forward to what the next 20 years hold for marketing and public relations. We hope you’ll join us!