Last week The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), the global voice of the public relations and communications community, launched the World PR Report 2020. The highlight of the report was that there is wide optimism about the growth of the PR market. The report had insights from across the world with region-wise results as well. A few takeaways from the report and my two cents below.
- Expected areas of investment for 2020 saw high investment on measurement and analytics, influencer marketing and multimedia content creation but least on professional development
The profession across the world is grappling with one prime challenge – measuring the results of the work done i.e. the impact created. The work conducted across traditional media, social media and influencer marketing – how do you measure the ROI is the crucial ask of clients.
However, the noteworthy point is that the least investment will be on professional development. A profession that itself faces a PR problem, is not spending much on professional development isn’t putting its best foot forward to solve that problem. This is something that PR leaders across the world need to think and act upon.
- A decrease in earned media of POSE (Paid, Owned, Social and Earned) media
The current allocation of Earned media will decline and the share will be distributed amongst the rest in the pie – Owned, Social and Paid. Given the major chunk of work done by PR is earned, and now social and owned is also becoming a part of the KRAs of PR professionals, it is time to acquire the relevant skill sets.
- Challenges in talent management
Talent has been a big problem in the PR profession. The major challenges that exist are retention of key talent, hiring of mid-level staff and training of junior and mid-level staff. Finding people from non-traditional PR backgrounds and motivating junior employees also form a part of the existing challenges. In the days to come, having a motivated and driven junior workforce will be a greater challenge.
- Future relevant skill sets
Being relevant is the most important for survival. With the changing ecosystem, it is a must that not only new skills are acquired but also the previous ones are strengthened. The traditional media relations will continue to remain important, specifically in India. The ones that are much needed in the next decade are research, insight and planning, data, measurement and analysis, creativity, crisis counsel and multimedia content creation. Purpose and CSR along with influencer marketing, social media community management, media relations, and marketing and business development will be important as well.
Does PR lead to sales? Will putting in money on influencer marketing result in better consumer connect? Is social media marketing going to take over traditional media relations? These are the questions that have become redundant now and new set of challenges await us. However, there are a few issues too that still haunt us such as the use of AVEs – 61% of respondents in APAC region said they use AVEs because their clients expect them to. Another one is being able to differentiate between real and fake news and ethics in PR – well, we are still doubtful about that.
In this context, where exactly are we headed? The blog by Ella Minty that can be read here says that the report raises more questions than answers. While the community is headed towards growth, how are we really addressing these issues – some of them we had been grappling for long? The age-old question of PR for PR – is still relevant and valid? If yes, how do we really do it? It is food for thought for everyone in the profession and specifically, for the leaders.