From the first public relations activity traced some 3000 years ago in the ruins of ancient Babylonians and Sumerians (now in Iraq) to its modernised version today, the public relations sector has evolved with time for the better. With the rising technological revolution, business has flourished at an unprecedented speed. It has become an inevitable part of every organisation, generating about USD 15 billion in revenue worldwide. Its growing need in the modern world can be speculated by the latest PRovoke Media report indicating a surge of 10.6% in the global PR business, all thanks to technological advancement.
From OTT, E-mailers, SMS, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, there are endless modes of communication, constantly consumed by always online consumers. These platforms have widened the reach from national to hinterlands, helping the business to target large groups of audiences at any given time.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the PR business was also affected, with a 4% decline in 2020. However, we innovated quickly, experimenting with new modes of communication like podcasts, virtual events, and influencer marketing. The crisis gave way to opportunity, where brands understood the impact that PR can bring during tough times. Be it external communication or crisis mitigation across employees, civil society, or Government, PR helped brands come together and fight. The trust and credibility that our sector can bring is far more than any other amplification models. This is why the entire sector bounced back by 11% within 18 months.
Evaluating the current trends, here are a few recommendations to future proof communications:
With digitisation and the rise of social media, people will turn to online media for relatable stories and real-time responses. Consumers will continue to play a role in how consultancies pitch their clients to the media. The future of public relations would be more about what consumers want to read.
An integrated model of communication
While social media platforms will continue exploding, they will not diminish the importance of traditional communication. The right approach would be to utilise all available means to reach the ultimate objective of delivering the right message to the right audience through the right channel.
Empowering the workforce
The need to empower the workforce as per the changing dynamics will remain the topmost priority. No matter how much technological development we undergo, the human touch will remain.
The ICCO world PR report 2021 predicts 53% growth in the use of Artificial intelligence, 40% in data science, and 38% in SEO. This means that the campaigns in the future will be data-driven.
With a large population of internet-savvy 18-49 year olds who read only 28% of the words, the demand for condensed content would rise. GIFs and short videos will become more effective. Compiling such content would require more brainstorming and a carefully crafted content strategy.
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This article was first published in the PRAXIS 2022 special edition print magazine of Reputation Today.