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PR predictions – who will be the 2015 winners and losers?

This may be the festive season but the battle lines are already being drawn up for 2015’s major business PR battles.

So who are the likely participants and where will the publicity skirmishes be won and lost? We look at three industry sectors where challenger brands are threatening to disrupt the status quo.

Germany vs England – supermarket warfare

England vs GermanyAnother month, another negative story about big British supermarket chains…this time, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Asda customers took to Twitter to complain about the cancellation of Christmas shopping deliveries due to a ‘computer glitch’.

All this against the backdrop of a Tesco PR blackout and a Teutonic uprising in 2014, as Aldi and Lidl continue to win customers over with their tempting discounts and no nonsense marketing. Have you seen the Lidl Christmas advert this year? No, nor have I.

PR Prediction: This will be messy and drawn out. The established players have plenty of ammunition in the form of huge marketing and PR budgets but they need to stop customers drifting away in search of discounts and recreate a sense of brand loyalty and trust. There may eventually be a dignified truce in this battle, and an acceptance that established supermarkets and discount chains can co-exist amicably, but a high casualty count seems certain first.

Organic food brands  vs fast food chains

fast food vs organicIn this battlefield, the challengers are organic, gluten free, lactose free and nut free. The resisters are intolerant of all of the above.

A demand for healthy, personalised food has grown steadily through 2014 as people prioritise nutritious treats over mass produced nuggets and burgers. The emergence of Whole Foods, Nakd and others has seen the health food market explode in the face of Burger King, Wimpey and McDonald’s who have had a particularly tough year with an employee strike over wages to contend with too.

PR Prediction: In 2015, McDonald’s and other fast food providers need to strike back. The challenge is to re-invent brands that have historically served a simple purpose, a quick fix. If they can respond to a consumer demand for customising and creating your own dishes, with complete visibility over ingredients, then they can evolve successfully and reclaim a share of the market. The challenge, however, is convincing consumers that they have made the change and only a smart PR and marketing offensive will ensure that happens.

Online vs High Street estate agents

online vs highstreetThis one has been coming to the boil nicely and is ready to kick off next year.

Estate agency is one of the oldest professions – not to mention one of the most reviled. Bold shop fronts and window cards have dominated the nation’s High Streets for decades but now the industry is changing. Smart online portals where buyers and sellers interact directly, arranging viewings and transactions without the need for a branded Mini, are becoming the norm.

Traditional agents will fight back, citing their powerful property marketing and readymade black book of buyers but ultimately consumers will vote with their wallets.

PR Prediction: the balance of the estate agency industry will begin to shift noticeably in 2015, with online agents such as purplebricks.com targeting consumers with messages revolving around convenience and value. By the end of 2015, selling your home online at midnight and saving on High Street agency fees will be commonplace. And our High Streets will start to look a lot different with some of the estate agents moving out, unable to afford the overheads.

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