Sitting comfortably? Why there’s no standing still for the modern PR
The debate surrounding PR’s future is ongoing. It is a discussion which continues to spark strong opinions from all sides. My opinion? PR isn’t going away, but as with everything in business, it must learn to adapt and evolve along with the new innovations within the marketplace.
It is true that ‘old-school’ PR agencies and consultants are under threat as technology continues to spearhead our economic industries. PR cannot afford to lag behind and continue to use traditional methods of communication within their comfort zone, while avoiding innovation.
So what advances pose a direct threat to the ‘non-movers’ in the PR world?
There is a lot of discussion concerning the rise of automation and its effect on jobs in the PR industry. This fear-mongering battle between machines and humans is not anything new. Humans from all sectors are worried that they are dispensable as automation provides speed, accuracy and cuts vendors’ costs.
In my view, the PR industry has nothing to fear.
While it is true that automation will creep into more areas of typical PR job roles, such as sending press releases, replying to emails, and searching and collating news stories, the bottom line is that a role in communication needs a human touch. Stories and messaging need to be emotive and personal in order to stir an interest in consumers, B2B clients and journalists alike.
If anything, automation provides a fantastic opportunity to streamline ‘housekeeping’ or admin jobs, freeing up PR professionals’ time to concentrate on nurturing better relationships with journalists, becoming more immersed in the news flow, and to better connect with clients’ needs and demands.
It is by no means news that PR is increasingly becoming merged with content and social media, as well as marketing and sales. The cross-pollination between departments is partly driven by changing consumer behaviours; they no longer differentiate between channels, and this has encouraged companies to follow suit.
This change doesn’t mean stand-alone PR agencies will be made redundant, but they will need to fully immerse themselves within the client’s other offerings to ensure that PR activity is interwoven within the client’s outreach, marketing and messaging. PR must not work in silos, but rather contribute to each business’ sales targets, marketing campaigns or social media outreach. A unified approach is the key to deploying successful campaigns that allow for continued, seamless brand messaging.
Technological innovation shows no signs of slowing up, and it isn’t likely to either.
This is most evident at industry trade shows where companies showcase their ‘first-to-market’ inventions that, for the most part, wows attendees.
New platforms that continue to develop and are being adopted by forward-thinking companies include virtual reality and AI. These evolutions not only pose great opportunities in their initial announcements to market, but also in how PR messaging can be delivered in the future. By continuing to adapt to new platforms and tools, and by considering how these can help communication, build awareness or reputation for clients, PR practitioners will stay ahead of the competition in a highly dynamic market.
So, it is not a time for PR to quake in its boots, but instead, to tighten its laces and join the march into new ground. PR is an invaluable tool that can not only boost brand awareness but also strengthen relations, reputation and company messaging.
Like all industries, PR must take a step into the unknown, and evolve and embrace the changes that will inevitably pose as obstacles over the coming years, to continue to deliver successful and award winning campaigns.