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Blogs  / November 4, 2021

PESTLE analysis: a new tool for your PR toolkit

by Sean O'Neal, President

Welcome back to our blog series about managing your corporate reputation with PESTLE analysis! This week, we’re doing a deep dive into what PESTLE includes, and why using it in your communications strategy can help you and your brand win.

What is PESTLE analysis?

PESTLE analysis is a tool that allows you to see and understand the macro environment of your organization or business from multiple perspectives. Specifically, it helps to understand external factors (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) and their impact on your company.

Political factors

These factors reveal how a government influences the overall economy or a specific industry, which may affect the way your business operates or generates revenue. Here are some examples of political factors to monitor:

  • Current legislature
  • Tax policies
  • Fiscal policy
  • Trade restrictions
  • Corruption

Economic factors

This category looks at the economy and how it may impact your company’s business decisions in the short- and long-term. Here are a few examples of economic factors that might be important to track:

  • Unemployment
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation rates
  • Foreign exchange rates
  • Consumer confidence and spending

Social factors

Social environment analysis in your country and / or industry may reveal particular attitudes, societal trends and behaviors to keep in mind for your business. Some examples include:

  • Cultural and lifestyle trends
  • Demographics
  • Population shifts
  • Buying behavior
  • Overarching issues such as pandemics

Technological factors

These factors examine technological advancements that are pertinent to the overall economy and consumer demand, as well as your particular industry or your specific company. Relevant technological factors may include:

  • Major technology breakthroughs
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Automation
  • Research and development
  • Cybersecurity

Legal factors

These factors account for both the external legal environment that your business operates in and your internal corporate policies. Here are a few examples of legal considerations to keep an eye on:

  • Consumer protection
  • Health and safety standards
  • Employment and labor laws
  • Copyright and patent
  • Risk and liability exposure

Environmental factors

These conditions are created by your organization’s physical environment, including global aspects such as the climate, pollution and geography:

  • Emissions & carbon footprint
  • Climate change
  • Geographical location
  • Weather patterns
  • Natural disasters

Why use PESTLE analysis for PR

PESTLE provides an excellent framework for organizations to have an awareness of the broader atmosphere and its impact on their success. This type of analysis allows you as a communications professional to be better prepared for any shifts, opportunities, challenges and any other adversity that may come your way at any moment.

That said, including PESTLE analysis in your PR toolkit does more than simply ensure that a crisis won’t catch you by surprise. If PESTLE becomes a part of your ongoing communications strategy and planning process, it can help you get the attention of your executive team. When it comes to brand reputation, the stakes are high and you are the primary reputation expert in your organization. With PESTLE analysis at your fingertips, you’ll be able to provide valuable input into executive decision-making and demonstrate how communications can influence the trajectory of your business.

Next week in our 4-part blog series, we’ll review best practices for making your corporate reputation with PESTLE—you don’t want to miss it!

Join us for Managing Corporate Reputation with PESTLE Analysis webinar on November 18th. In this session, our panelists will share best practices for managing corporate reputation with PESTLE analysis and discuss how to use sentiment monitoring, social listening and trending topics to deepen your understanding of the macro factors affecting your brand and competitors, with the ultimate goal of improving your corporate image.