Public Relations trends to watch out for in 2018

As 2017 ends and we gear up for another calendar year here are a few trends for the year ahead. Feel free to read my piece from last year here –

  • Public Relations will grow in stature – The focus will move back to relationships and good content, which are the cornerstone of Public Relations. This will not remain merely a profession that revolves around media relations and paper pushing. There will be two types of firms, one that behaves like a consultancy and the other that is a media relations enterprise. Clients will choose one or either.
  • Societal good will rank high among priorities for brands – Public Relations for brands will mean doing good and earning points from customers for the effort. This will evolve as the world begins to understand the paid, earned and owned media concepts better.
  • Media Relations will become increasingly specialised with a smaller team within firms doing the outreach – Several firms will have dedicated teams for media relations and rest of the staffers will focus on creating content, spotting trends and helping brands become digital.
  • Ad agencies will vie for the earned media bit and PR firms will vie for the paid media piece – Cross pollination will take place. Some firms have already graduated to calling themselves communications marketing firms and this will be both, a cause of concern and a reason for celebration in the world of Public Relations consulting.
  • The three As of Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality will become the currency of conversations – While everyone tries to learn and understand more about these concepts, training programmes and conversations will revolve around deciphering these three As better. The firms that win businesses in the future will be those that get these three clear-cut.
  • One-person shops are becoming rampant and they may not survive their third anniversaries – In 2017 several one-person armies were born but in the long run they will find it hard to deliver quality campaigns. Some will remain small, maybe because they were created to remain that way, but many will fold up before their third birthday.
  • Brands will be made and broken online – Brands will behave the way they want to offline. However, they will be made and broken online. We saw that in the Indigo Airlines fiasco. We saw that with Maggi couple of years ago. Activism is gaining greater ground from customers with high expectations.
  • Outputs and outcomes will now have outtakes as part of the measurement – As per AMEC, this refers to the response and reactions of the target audiences to the activity. How attentive were they to the content, what was their recall, how well-understood is the topic, did the audience engage with the content or did the audience subscribe to more information.
  • Fake News will dominate social networks in splits and bursts – The menace is here to stay as mobile phones and those who use them wield considerably high amount of power. How individuals and brands deal with it on 2018 will determine its significance in the years ahead.
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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.

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