What are some of the key considerations for organisations wishing to review their Public Relations (PR) and Investor Relations (IR) strategies in 2024?

Our team enjoys extensive experience in the fields of Financial Services and Business to Business Communications and we have identified local and international trends that will be key to supporting strategy in 2024.

These are some key considerations when capacitating your advisory team to support your Public Relations (PR) and Investor Relations (IR) / Communications functions:

Industry specialisation is key: 

Business to business communication is distinctly different from communication with a consumer market and requires a niche set of skills and understanding of the South African media landscape.

The South African business media landscape has faced several structural challenges over the last decade with many publications succumbing to economic pressures or scaling back operations.

Understanding of the business media landscape and the publications will be key.


Business journalists and content creators have changed

If you were a follower of investment content in 2023, one of the most engaging stories was the “R500 000 challenge” between Magnus Heystek (a leading financial advisor) and Piet Viljoen (an asset manager) where they debated the merits of local versus offshore investing on Biznews.

For publications like Moneyweb, the likes of Simon Brown, Jimmy Moyaha and Petri Redelinghuys have straddled multiple roles as content creators and investment professionals.

Publications such as Moneyweb and CityWire have introduced specialist advisor platforms to help them feed their content requirements while introducing a specialist layer of content creation for investment trends.

Partnerships with these alternate content creators will be key to expanding reach when it comes to communication in 2024.

Data-driven storytelling 

Alongside Artificial Intelligence (AI), “Data-Driven storytelling” is viewed as one of the biggest trends to watch across PR / IR channels.  

Regulatory compliance for many financial services brands and Investor Communications teams coupled with conservative management have found themselves erring on the side of generic or “safe” content at the expense of engagement. 

In a world charged with many contentious topics including politics, social and geopolitical matters, many leadership teams are uncertain what issues to comment or engage on. 

Data-driven storytelling allows organisations to lean into their areas of expertise and information to inform stakeholders about developments in their industry.

Owned Media – Clients became “Competitors” 

One of the most disruptive trends for business media over the last decade has been the rise of Owned media channels which have become a direct competitor for traditional media houses. 

Financial services businesses in particular have made extensive investments in micro-sites, podcasts, events, video series and sponsorships in recent years. These Owned media platforms allow for targeted engagements with existing and potential clients but are content-hungry  – content creation can be a costly exercise and organisations need to do a cost-benefit analysis between internal resources versus outsourcing these activities.

Selecting the right advisory partner to work with you around growing your Owned media platforms will be key to supplementing your Communications strategies in 2024.   


Paywalls and Bought media

The last 2 years have seen a rapid acceleration of business media houses moving content behind Paywalls in an attempt to drive subscription models.

The strategies have had mixed results for all stakeholders with media houses trying to find a balance between subscription revenue and display advertising.

Communications teams have been impacted as access to their insights are being hidden behind these paywalls. This in turn has meant that they have had to invest in more Bought media to raise their profile and thought leadership positioning.  


Social impact, Sustainability and ESG are rising in prominence

While Corporate Social Investment (CSI) activity has always featured prominently in Communications activities, organisations are having to go beyond “feel good” stories and showcase their Social Impact, Sustainability and Environmental, B-BBEE investments, Social and Governance (ESG) investment activities to various stakeholders.

This requires:

    • Identifying partnerships that align with organisation and stakeholder goals
    • Setting impact metrics and reporting frameworks
    • Reporting on projects

The right communications advisory partners will understand the requirements here and be able to showcase work that has been done and eliminate friction in demonstrating impact. Despite elevated interest rates and consumers being under pressure, forecasts suggest that the South African economy will grow in 2024 and there will be an increase in Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity. This is likely to create a vibrant communications environment and we look forward to being a partner of choice for your organisation in 2024.

If you would like to find out more information, please e-mail Marc at Marc@decusatio.co.za