17 trends in PR to keep in mind in 2017

This column has been in the freezer for over two months. This was part of the original series of columns at the start of the year around the theme 17. However, all energies were diverted towards the list of the top firms by revenue and this remained half done, which is not a good trend. Here are seventeen trends that are shaping the world of PR today.

  1. Media releases will be smarter – Gone are the days of the plain, vanilla boring media releases. Today people are experimenting with releases on WhatsApp. Releases in less than 140 characters and releases with multiple hyperlinks that help the journalist and the reader get a larger picture.
  2. Event curation will develop further – An increasing number of business leaders and their PR managers want to be seen and heard at events. Branded content and organic speaking opportunities will be mined extensively.
  3. Start-up focussed news – A lot of space in the business pages and in business publications will be devoted towards new-age companies also known as start-ups. For those managing traditional companies bearing this in mind will prove useful, especially when pitching a story.
  4. Fake news menace – The fake news menace has engulfed the world and PR practitioners will need to be extra diligent because very often this news affects brands. While India waits for its version of Snopes utmost care will be needed to tread this path with care.
  5. Augmented reality – The world is moving fast to this phenomenon. In simple terms it is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. It will be a great boon in Storytelling.
  6. One three D – It is not just a 360-degree video or a look and feel demo on an app but a real car virtually loaded on your browser. You get to feel each and every component of the car by literally getting inside the car. This can be applied to other product outreach campaigns.
  7. Data theft – There are an increasing number of cases of data theft and technology and finance companies are most vulnerable, putting them at both financial and reputational risk. Handling such cases deftly needs a new kind of expertise as it can be disastrous for brands.
  8. Writing will be key – Professionals who will command respect and rewards are those who can write well. And it is clear that good writing comes from extensive practice. The quicker one starts a regular blog to improve writing skill and showcase quality of writing the better.
  9. Award winning work will be a big deal – World over the smallest and the biggest firms are participating in award programmes in order to win and make that the high point of their firms. I will write on this in greater detail in my next week’s column as we get ready to talk about Fulcrum 2017.
  10. Crisis management skills will be crucial – Clients expect their PR partners to hit the ground running and this is especially true at the time of a crisis. Neither B schools nor C schools barring one train candidates for crisis management.
  11. Internal communications will be key – Both, as a function and a service internal communications and employee engagement will become increasingly common. No PR firm in India has cracked this in a big way and leveraged the need for internal communications.
  12. Contributor marketing will evolve – This is the most cost effective way of creating content and marketing it. All it takes is to get a bunch of employees to sign up to contribute to a regular blog and then socialise this content to all stakeholders.
  13. Speaker bureaus will become a PR offering – PR firms are moving from creating earned media to owning media in the form of expert speakers who are either standalone clients or leaders of client companies. While I’m personally against the pay for speak concept when it comes to salaried people, it is working.
  14. Fund raising will become a service – Several not-for-profit organisations are signing up PR partners to help them directly raise funds, both organically and inorganically. This is a grey area but it seems to be working for now to some extent.
  15. SEO will be important – PR professionals will need to learn and deploy search engine optimisation techniques to get utmost visibility for their client – both in-house and in consultancy. This is a key component of digital marketing.
  16. Subtle is the way to go – In your face marketing and brand name dumping is passé. The communication of the future will need to be subtle and done in a way that is neither pushy nor creepy. This is the art of public relations that very few have mastered.
  17. Smart is not an option – Every PR professional will need to read and write to get smarter. Any other smartness is mere over smartness. I have not heard from any of the young PR professionals (under 30) that I interact with about the latest book on PR that they read lately.
Amith Prabhu on BloggerAmith Prabhu on FacebookAmith Prabhu on Twitter
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 Founding Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

1 Comment on "17 trends in PR to keep in mind in 2017"

  1. Shashi Ranjan | May 18, 2017 at 6:59 PM | Reply

    glad to see the website and its content topics. this is very useful platform to understand PR and to be PR Professional & be PR Professional. Many Many Congratulation to Ms. Shree Lahiri and you keep us enlighten with your valuable notes.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.