Edward Bernays, the father of Public Relations, defines its functions in three simple acts- inform people, persuade people and integrate people with people. As people and their preferences changed, we saw the industry evolve and saw new channels of information emerge. The industry has come a long way from being largely reactive to integrating with a much livelier narrative. As our news stories, communication and audiences mature in keeping with the changing times, the PR industry too finds itself in a dynamic state of change. The year 2018 will be no different and is sure to bring the industry new developments.
The elusive digital landscape
Technology and more importantly, social media has completely changed the nature of the industry. With stories and their reactions in real time, the PR professionals should be pro-active as opposed to their traditional reactive stance. The stories must be customised and cultivated over time to capture the attention of the audience. As the internet gets cluttered with more content noise on an hourly basis, the readers will get more selective in their choice. The digital media will require as much strategy, diligence and regard as the traditional journalist or editor.
We have come a long way from regarding the traditional press release as our only source of communication. We may even have surpassed content in any written form altogether. Visual storytelling promises to be a part of the PR exercise in a big way come 2018. Not only is the medium easy to consume, it is also a compact form of content that packs in a large amount of data.
We live in an age where the distinction between internet personality and celebrity is a thin line. With impressive numbers in ‘followers’ and a loyal fan base, they have emerged as a viable and inevitable medium for any brand to really connect with its target audience. Brands often employ the voice of an impartial entity to endear its customers. Its onset has already begun with brands like Sprite, Louis Vuitton actively employing this technique to reach out to its target audience.
Big Data will be well, big
From simple tools like running analytics on your latest content post to using complex softwares to segmenting your target audience, data will drive the industry. It will not only help us create benchmarks against competitors and formulate content strategy, but will also give us insights to creating content that is more aligned with the market. Already firms like Mastercard have created an engagement engine that will track its conversations across 56 markets in real time and will also give them global insights on their markets.
As we adapt to the new challenges that the territory brings, the PR industry must display flexibility in its operations. Standard Darwanian laws will apply and those who find themselves unable to integrate the new changes, stands to lose a major section of their audience.
Author: Victor King, Founder & CEO, Absolute Communications Group