Five PRovoke16 Themes that Forecast the Future of Public Relations – an Indian take

I was fortunate to be in Miami for the Holmes report Global PR summit now titled PRovoke, held in end  October. Those were two days of speed learning. Detailed coverage is available on the Holmes Report site. I picked up one article that covered the gist of the summit.

  • “Don’t advertise. Don’t push products. Solve the problem” – this is self-explanatory. But in Public Relations we are confronted with this situation often. We need to constantly ask ourselves how we can work with brands to help solve problems and ensure happy customers. This is Public Relations. Most often we forget the fundamentals and focus on pushing down products in various forms. It’s a dog-eat-dog world but if communicators can take the lead in positioning themselves as reputation architects with a problem-solving approach immense goodwill can be achieved for brands.
  • “The new frontiers of storytelling” – Technology that includes augmented reality, artificial intelligence and virtual reality among others will dominate the way brands connect and stories are told in the very near future. What television was in the 90s, digital was in the 2000s. This decade is all about newer forms of technology that are gripping the world and the quicker we embrace them, learn about them and deploy them the better off we are.
  • “If you stand still, you die”– Change is the only constant. Innovation is at the heart of change. The more companies innovate the better their prospects of being relevant to the consumer. PR firms in India need to invest in innovation. They need to bring in new ways of storytelling and solving problems each passing day. Innovation must become a habit and a key performance indicator.
  • “Brands have to take a stand to stand out” – This is about bravery. But brands that take a stand end up in controversy and must be prepared for it. Brands that have taken a stand or have openly supported a cause are brands such as Tata Tea (Jago Re campaign) and Brooke Bond Red Label (Six pack band). These are memorable campaigns that make the brand lovable and ensures loyalty over a period.
  • “It’s really difficult to learn if you are not having fun” – This is about employee engagement that is driven by communications people in in-house roles and applies to consultancies where engaging appropriately with team members is paramount for success and retaining talent.

There was a lot more discussed at the summit. But to my mind these will be the trends to watch out for in the year ahead. Public Relations will revolve around good storytelling, solving problems, standing out, embracing technology and having fun along the way.

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Amith Prabhu
Amith Prabhu is the Founder of the PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS, India’s annual summit of reputation management professionals.

He is also the Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

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