Predictions are easy, and the PR business is no exception. We don’t yet have the flying cars that were predicted when I was in grammar school, but I’ve never stopped prognosticating. Our team has looked into the not-too-distant future to scope trends that all PR practitioners need to be aware of and embrace.
Engagement is an art, not necessarily a science
Skilled communicators can gain a great deal by understanding the sociology of peer groups and the psychology of identified audiences. We already know that it isn’t enough to talk at a consumer by broadcasting a new product message. Success is achieved through a personalized approach that takes into account intangibles like emotions, values, or lifestyle. Only then can the monologue evolve into a true dialogue.
Embrace the [media] disruption
Begin with the premise that non-traditional media/content producers like bloggers, citizen journalists and influencers need to be treated as partners. Start a relationship by approaching these third-party disruptors with no agenda other than sending facts and news. Allow them to disseminate as they see fit. Marketers don’t own your brand anymore; your customers do.
Metrics are not optional
Slowly, we’re moving toward acceptable measurement practices that will help ensure the future of our industry. PR outcomes are still not easily measured, but the days of “vanity metrics” like impressions and AVEs are dying away. Aligning the PR strategy – and the spend – with business goals is now the first step in program development.
Big Data = Smart Data
Someone once said they went into PR because they were lousy with numbers. Well, many of the most successful PR stories incorporate “numbers” – statistics, percentages, analytics, formulas- creatively packaged to make news for a client (particularly when the client is between “real” news stories.) Another plus? These stories can be told visually in very engaging ways that work with the way we consume media now and more so in the future.
Customize your next “dream team”
With specialization and niche marketing creating a greater need for PR people with diverse skill sets, “core” teams are going to need flexibility to meet the demands of introducing new and different products and services. As great as it is to have a giant pool of PR resources at your fingertips, the “smart money” is betting that we’ll be bringing in key players on a per-project basis, creating a smart strategic and financial model for sound PR servicing.