PR and marketing in 2022: insight from South West business leaders 

17th November 2021

What does the future of PR and marketing look like? Business leaders are planning ahead for 2022 in one of the most unique situations that people have faced. How do you prepare your business for life when dealing with a pandemic?

AMBITIOUS and Insider Media spoke to business leaders in the South West to find out what their approaches to PR and marketing will be in 2022. Which areas will be their focus? Where are they increasing their investment? And, where they’ll be choosing not to spend. 

The answers show that business leaders in the South West are planning to invest: engaging with their core customers and visitors more than ever before. And not just their customers. Thanks to a skills shortage across many sectors, using online to source new recruits is alo where businesses will be investing. As a result, online activity is becoming more important than ever for PR and marketing activities. 

Life really did move online during the last 12 months and while in-person events are starting to come back, digital has taken the lead on many aspects of businesses. As well as B2C companies, B2B businesses are seeing the value of social media and how to use it for success.

Mike Ribbeck, Insider Media Editor said:  “As the purse strings tighten, business leaders look at expenditure and decide which are the most important functions to protect and which areas of the business are expendable. 

“The reality is that, rather than bringing the world to a standstill, the pandemic has accelerated many of the trends that were reshaping the world that we all live and work in. The digital revolution has picked up pace and businesses from all sectors and different sizes have made the transition to operating virtually.

“All of that means that the need to get the message out about your business and the services it can offer has never been more important. 

“And the channels of communication to potential clients and business partners have continued to multiply with social media playing an even more important role when it comes to marketing and PR. 

“According to our survey, the majority of businesses have maintained the level of spending or even increased. 

“One of the most interesting findings was where businesses will be concentrating theory efforts. The two main areas that stood out were content creation and social media.”

Our survey has found that there are six core areas where business leaders will be focusing their PR and marketing efforts, including content, PR and SEO. Results from our survey include:

  • 43% of those surveyed will make social media a priority in 2022. 
  • 81% of respondents focused on ensuring they are more recognisable to potential customers.
  • 62% of business leaders are building reputation and credibility through thought leadership activities.
  • 51.4% of businesses are focusing on content creation for 2022.
  • 35.1% of businesses are focusing on PR next year, leaving a huge opportunity for savvy business leaders.

​​Phil Smith, Managing Director, Business West, said: “In the past 18 months, South West businesses have wrestled with a unique and complex set of challenges as a result of Brexit and the pandemic. 

“Whilst business impacts such as social distancing measures are temporary, labour shortages and inflationary pressures look set to continue (at least in the medium term) and could have a stymieing effect on our economic recovery. 

“As the government looks to recoup some of the £300bn+ that it spent during the pandemic, SW businesses will no doubt be anxious about potential tax hikes and rate increases.”

It is encouraging that businesses recognise the huge part that PR and marketing play not only in boosting their brand and growing sales but generating awareness of new products and services too.

It is also evident that marketing has a vital role in attracting, engaging, and recruiting talent into the business (as well as helping to retain talent). Indeed, today’s job candidates discover and weigh up potential employers in the same way they find consumer goods, restaurants, and hotels. It is mission critical that marketing budgets reflect this digital shift.

The amount of online content consumed by the average person doubled to seven hours a day. Social media activity increased by 12.3 per cent with the average person spending nearly two and a half hours on social sites. 

A clear, resounding message from the businesses we spoke to is that we are going through an accelerated pace of significant change.

The pandemic hit the fast forward button, transforming consumer perceptions, expectations, and behaviours almost overnight. There are no pause or rewind buttons – consumers and the world have moved on. This has profound implications for how we market ourselves. Failure to keep up with the pace of change could mean being left behind forever.

Download your copy of the white paper now.




AMBITIOUS by name and by nature, we are a PR led communications agency that delivers integrated strategic communications - online, offline and everywhere in-between. Proud to be crowned winners of The Drum Magazine's RAR Best PR Agency of the Year.

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