Notified Blog

New Networks of Influence: How PR Can Adapt and Thrive

The way influence is gained has changed drastically. With the rise of social media (e.g. TikTok), online forums (like Reddit) and messaging platforms (such as Discord), new networks of influence have emerged - transforming how we share ideas and how opinions are shaped.

While these networks offer exciting opportunities for how to connect and engage with stakeholders, they also bring new challenges to brands looking to foster authenticity, create transparency and build trust.

This begs the question: How can corporate storytellers navigate this new environment and gain influence while maintaining control of their narratives?

Our recent webinar with PRWeek brought together a panel of industry leaders to discuss this topic and more!

Featuring Adam Christensen, Chief Marketing Officer at Notified, Bevin Maguire, CCO & VP of Corporate Communications at Applied Materials and Glenn Zaccara, VP of US Media Relations at UPS, the group shared valuable insights and important insights every corporate communicator should take note of.

Keep reading to learn more - and then watch the full conversation on demand.


Adam Christensen on Redefining Public Relations

Christensen offered his perspective on how to navigate this new decentralized landscape.

“It’s an incredibly challenging time for communications professionals,” he said. "Over the years, the size of PR teams hasn't changed - but demands are exponentially higher. We need to evolve with new tools and tactics, or risk becoming ineffective."

He proposed a two-pronged approach: “Embrace the new and the old” - embracing new technologies and recommitting to traditional strengths.

Embracing the New: Putting Tech To Work

Christensen suggested that we’re at an important "inflection point" for PR.

PR pros need to adapt by embracing new tools and tactics to engage with stakeholders across the digital spectrum. “We've often focused on a limited set of audiences. We need to consider the tools and tactics marketing and advertising use to reach these new corners of the digital world," he said.

"Technology can help us understand and identify where conversations are happening, allowing us to engage with influencers at scale,” he explained further.

Recommitting to the Old: Building Trust Through Authenticity 

Christensen emphasized that simply chasing the latest trends isn't enough. Rebuilding trust is paramount.

"There's a need to embrace the 'old school' too," he said. "Having a strong official communication presence – a website, press releases, clear distribution channels – is more important than ever. It's our stake in the ground, a foundation for trust in this noisy online world."

Glenn Zaccara on Targeted Communications

Zaccara stressed the importance of using targeted communications to cut through the noise and reach stakeholders.

"The competition for attention is immense. We need to prioritize and focus our efforts,” he said. “Audience targeting tools are vital - they help identify which influencers are most relevant to our brand and build relationships with them."

He also underscored the human element in building trust: "Building trust starts with personal relationships. It’s about picking up the phone and getting to know the key influencers.”

He continued: “Make meaningful conversations with influencers but remember - it does not happen electronically – meet them in person to build strong relationships. No matter how smart AI becomes, it can't replace the heartbeat of human connection. If you want to influence influencers, meaningful relationships are essential."

Bevin Maguire on Understanding Influence

Maguire stated that "understanding the relationship is key."

She emphasized the importance of understanding the relationships between influencers, journalists and your target audience. Just because someone has a large following doesn't mean they can effectively reach the specific audience your brand needs.

Here's how Maguire suggested navigating the new influence landscape:

  • Social Listening: Actively listen to conversations happening online. What are your target audiences discussing? Who are the influencers they trust and engage with?

  • Relevance Over Reach: Focus on influencers who are relevant to your brand and resonate with your target audience, not just those with the biggest platforms.

  • Multi-Channel Approach: Consider paid media strategies alongside organic outreach to reach your desired audience segments.

The webinar highlighted the complex reality of influence in today’s digital world. While new tools and strategies are essential, the foundational principles of trust and personal connection remain paramount.

For corporate storytellers, balancing these elements is key to navigating the new networks of influence.

Want to learn more? Watch the full webinar on demand!

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