Long live the Public Relations professional

It is the year 2025, in a public relations firm. What do you see around you? The same people doing the same thing? Writing press releases, chasing journalists, tracking coverage? Well, if you have been keeping up with the developments around, you would know that public relations is one of the most rapidly-evolving disciplines in the world, and the future promises lots of exciting new avenues.

While I am not a fortune-teller or a seer with divine vision, the changes in wind directions in the past few years and the growing innovations in the business tell a story that I have been keenly listening to. Before I share my understanding of it, there are some home truths that I don’t believe will change. This will always be a business with building, nurturing and protecting reputation through influence at its core. For that, public relations professionals today and tomorrow will need to have, creativity, result-orientation and agility.

With that established, let’s do some future-gazing together on the kind of skills the public relations professional of tomorrow might have.

Audio and video capability

Visual storytelling is already playing a pivotal role in communications. This is only going to increase and specialisations within that will emerge. The ability to produce audio and video content creation will continue to be two of the most important skills a consultancy would need.

Programming

With technological advancements like artificial intelligence, programming and developing to create more customised solutions, find better-suited influencers and media opportunities as well as run more effective campaigns. But, of course, the real impact happens when artificial intelligence combines with human emotions and ingenuity.

Data science

A person who can interpret and analyse data to help a business in decision-making, and in this case a specialist who can identify the right kind of media channels, the right influencers as well as the right type of content, will be in high demand. Also needed will be data visualisers—those who can interpret data in the way that it can be communicated visually and in an easily understandable format.

Experience creation

Increasingly, people prefer immersive experiences rather than just information. People with skills in creating brand stories through virtual reality, augmented reality, interactive interfaces, and more, will be needed.

Purpose

Brands will always need to communicate their social relevance and purpose and they will need people who can help them do that. How they interact with, work for and develop the communities where they are present and communicate that, will continue to be something they will look at their consultancies to help in supporting.

Hybrid roles are an emerging reality, which both organisations and employees need to accept.  As technology and the digital age permeate our lives and all walks of life, the hybridisation of job roles is inevitable.

The only way to stay ahead of the curve and be relevant is to stay open and agile, adopt this change and deliver integrated communication solutions. I am geared up for the future, are you?

Atul Sharma
Chief Operating Officer at Genesis Burson-Marsteller
A trusted advisor to clients across a variety of industries, including corporate, technology, telecom, venture capital, consulting, aviation, automobiles, retail and consumer durables Atul has been a part of the public relations industry for almost two decades. He has counselled diverse businesses, Indian and multinational on public relations, marketing communications, advocacy, crisis and issues, messaging, positioning and stakeholder outreach.

1 Comment on "Long live the Public Relations professional"

  1. Brilliant article Atul. The only thing missing is an overall understanding of the integrated communications space and a need to develop varied skills sets that go beyond story telling and the ability to tie every campaign to tangible results and sales.

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