Ten trends for Public Relations in 2020

Every year I try and meet new people, talk to experts, read various articles to put my finger on the pulse of the profession for the year ahead. 2020 will certainly be a remarkable year. It is the year in which the Olympics will be held in Japan. It is the year which will be a significant one for many because a year like this comes once in 100 years. Let us quickly look at the trends that will emerge stronger in the months ahead.

  1. More video – Tik Tok took the world by storm in the past year. Whether you like it or not, you cannot ignore it. An increasing number of brands are embracing video. The technology and devices allow for easy video capture and sharing.
  2. Beyond media relations – A larger group of people are realising the Public Relations is much more than media relations. It is unfortunate that some in-house professionals still refer to media relations by calling it PR in short but that will change.
  3. Greater use of Tech – The rise of companies such as Alpha M and Wizikey will enable greater use of online tools to manage some of the aspects of Public Relations. We will see at least half a dozen such offerings in the English-speaking world.
  4. Impetus on Communities – Communities such as IRF and One Source in India and similar groups around the world will gain more traction as people will long to belong to a professional tribe. 
  5. Paying for earned will become a norm – A lot of earned media will be derived from partnering with and curating events in different forms. Very often the power of events as contents is forgotten and this will emerge as a new way of engagement.
  6. Owned assets will gain more traction – Sections on company websites that tell stories of various stakeholders will be adapted more. This is a western concept which is being replicated intelligently in various Indian companies.
  7. Product launches will no more gain weightage – Maybe there is scope for a product launch portal where all products that are newly launched get showcased for a fee rather than expecting existing outlets to carry news about the same.
  8. Social networks are losing ground – The traditional social networks are no longer the cool thing they once used to be. Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are still powerful but there is a fatigue setting in.
  9. Standing for a cause will be key – For brands and corporate organisations acting with purpose will be an important aspect of outreach. Remaining quiet and not being part of a movement is a thing of the past.
  10. More journalists will join PR – A trend that has been gaining momentum will be seen more often. The exodus of journalists to corporate communication departments or PR consultancies is becoming increasingly common, 

These are my observations for 2020. Please place yours in a comment or tweet to me at @amithpr. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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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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