PR professionals today require a broader range of skills – way more than press release writing, client management and media skills. While these will remain core to the profession, with the influx of all things technology, the young brigade needs to ramp up their skillset with the changing shape of the business. Here are some areas that we can start on:
Ability to understand and adapt to technology
Technology has entered every sector, every day of our lives today. It doesn’t matter whether your clients are in retail, hospitality or even Bollywood, technology is everywhere. You can no longer be immune to the tech conversations. Even consultancies are adopting technology to run their business, so there’s no escaping it. You need to understand and function within the implications that technology has on our profession and portray to the client that the campaign is in keeping with the evolving PR landscape. And the technology bar is only going to rise higher. Additionally, technology has given us so many more mediums of communications. It can be a real friend if you want it to be!
Data analytics & measurement
It is imperative that you interpret your campaign in data terms to measure its impact. Once you know what your client wants to achieve, it is easier to track your results using analytical techniques. It allows you to regularly monitor the campaign and reboot or realign when required. There are a whole lot of tools out there – Google Analytics is one you can start with. It can tell you how many people are seeing your article or how many are clicking on your social media posts. It’s only a matter of time before AI creeps into our business. Before that happens, get a grip on measurement techniques and analytical tools so its easier to adapt when the game upgrades. In all likelihood, your client is already running analytics to create your score card using criteria such as sentiments and quality to measure the proverbial PR ROI; you need to elevate yourself to the same playing field for the game to stay fair.
Develop a global mindset
Many of us are already part of global PR mandates. But are we really thinking globally or are we only concerned with what’s happening in our market? Of course, India is different and one might even say it will remain so to a large extent, but the world is getting smaller. In the coming years, the ability to collaborate will be the preferred approach for achieving organisational objectives, breaking away from the hierarchical approach of the present. Everyone, including entry level executives need to start thinking of the larger global picture for every business so that everyone can add value at some level. We are already seeing Indian brands, including start-ups, crossing boundaries; getting left behind is not an option. Along with working on your mindset, be open to relocating and lateral movement if you get the opportunity. It increases your exposure to different work cultures. Picking up an additional language is not a bad idea either.
Fastest finger first
The future is going to belong to those who think at lightning speed, make faster decisions and create brief but impactful communication. Currently, two factors are creating the need for speed – availability of information at speeds that are improving every day and the reducing attention span of audiences. Research on advertising is already showing that an ad either cuts it in the first second or doesn’t cut it at all. It won’t be long before similar challenges come to the PR drawing board also. Ability to compress, say more in less, in tighter deadlines and still staying on spot with communication objectives is going to be key. In short, short is really going to be sweet and sexy!