Thought Leadership

3 Key Trends Influencing the Future of Communications

*This article was provided by Cision, a PRSA partner.

The Media and Communications industry is evolving rapidly. With new technologies and innovations emerging every day, our roles become more challenging and complex. At the same time, this disruption creates more opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves, establish thought leadership and make stronger connections with buyers and influencers.

Brands that do not adapt a progressive approach to marketing and communications will fail to keep up with competitors and become increasingly disconnected from their customers. So how can you ensure your brand is prepared for the future?

Having a comprehensive communication platform is critical for making your brand communications more intelligent, more focused and more effective. By bringing together all aspects of your communication workflow, your brand has everything it needs to create messages that resonate, build trust among key influencers and buyers, and make connections with the right audience at the right time.

The future of communication is here, and with it brings new practices and challenges that brands must adapt to – or be left behind. As we usher in a new era of communication, you must understand the state of the industry today and where it is headed tomorrow in order to be effective.

Earned Media’s Increasing Importance

Relationships drive business, and if you’re only focused on your brand’s own connections, you won’t be able to expand your reach to new audiences. With trust in brands continuing to erode and paid media decreasing in efficacy, it is critical to leverage advocates to make a tangible impact on your audience. The connection between your brand, your customers and industry influencers is now more important than ever.

Earned media is rated more effective compared to owned and paid media by 81 percent of senior marketers, according to a recent study conducted by Outsell. Directly conversing with consumers through your owned channels and paid media, while still important, doesn’t result in the same level of engagement and trust as earned media does. Using earned media tactics such as seeding stories, monitoring social and other media, sending press releases, pursuing speaking opportunities and managing communities are necessary to be effective.

By identifying those people who are driving the critical conversations in key communities and engaging with them with compelling content, your brand can tap into that influence and more effectively connect with current and future customers.

Less Fragmentation, More Integration

For brands to be successful, they need to create compelling and consistent content that not only attracts buyers, but nurtures them throughout the entire customer journey. Siloed marketing, PR and communications processes work against this, leading to disjointed and disconnected customer experiences.

A cohesive ongoing brand narrative, built in coordination with all marketing and communications teams in your organization, creates a more inviting environment for influencers and consumers, ensuring a more productive and beneficial experience.

Software can play a big role in uniting your teams and strategies. By organizing a company’s different campaign programs and processes in one place through an integrated communication platform, you can drive more efficiency across teams and foster more meaningful relationships with customers.

Better Data and Measurement Tools

Communicators have long struggled to prove the value of their efforts. But to stake their claim on a seat at the executive table, demonstrating true ROI isn’t just a need– it’s a requirement.

Relying on metrics like followers and likes doesn’t give you the full picture of your brand’s performance and how your programs are driving buyer behavior. And other senior executives won’t be inclined to further invest in marketing and PR unless you can show exactly how and where your efforts are impacting revenue.

You must demonstrate new KPIs that focus on business impact and growth, such as pipeline and conversion rates. Having an integrated technology and analytics infrastructure in place to measure the ROI of your communication efforts is critical for optimizing performance and driving business growth.

By pinpointing exactly what’s working and what isn’t, you can continuously improve, connect the dots and make the communications decisions that move your business forward.

*This article was provided by Cision, a PRSA partner.

Ken Wincko, in his role as SVP of Marketing at Cision and PR Newswire manages the company’s global marketing strategy. He is also a member of the Executive Management Committee. He has more than 20 years of marketing, product and business development experience in bringing innovative marketing programs and solutions to market for both B2B and B2C organizations.

Prior to Cision and PR Newswire, Ken held senior-level marketing and product leadership roles at Dun & Bradstreet, ADP, Citigroup, and IBM. Ken is an advisory board member of the CMO Council. He is a frequent speaker at major industry conferences and has been covered in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, TechTarget, Information Management, The Demand Gen Report, and MarketingSherpa.

About the author

Ken Wincko


  • I think that this article really touches on 3 crucial points on today’s trend of communication. Being relatively new in this field, I get to read a lot of articles and material who point to the importance of adapting in the new marketing and communications trends and I think that this was a really nice wrap up of some key points that every business should be aware of. The effectiveness of earned media is something not to be neglected and the importance of an integrated communication platform should be the aim of any Marketing Strategy while the data measurement has enabled businesses to make information based decisions. Not only are the businesses able to measure the traffic and basic metrics for their websites through Web Analytics, the use of Social Media Listening Tools allows them to better understand their customer behavior by measuring sentiment and engagement which can measure the contribution of the PR communication professionals on increasing brand awareness or building brand trust.

  • Thanks for putting the strategy for using SM tools into such a clear and concise view. This shows you why PR/SM should be at the top of the food chain for businesses that want to move forward and stay out in front!

  • For any company… is there any study that explain how to invest in it? I mean, before, the investment was to create a website… few years later create profiles in social media… now it is so important to have a content manager… is it more important to have a good website than social media? is there any study that says for istance: website development and maintence 40% of your investment, 30% social networks, rest SEO, content…

  • Thank you for sharing this article. You touched on some very important points. As a PR student, I agree that in today’s digital world we must work harder than ever to not only attract customers, but engage them throughout the entire process so we can foster good solid relationships with them.

    Another important remark you made is the measurement. If you want people to invest in your brand, you can’t just rely on followers and metrics. You must show them the full picture of your brand’s performance if you want them to further invest in you.

    Lastly, put your efforts on earned media rather than paid media. Work on the relationship between you, your brand and your customers.

  • This was really interesting to read. Social media today is so important to understand. I thought an interesting point you paid was that we have tools to help pinpoint exactly what’s working and what isn’t, so we can continually be improving.

    • I totally agree with you Paige! The social media world is changing so fast and is so easily accessible by many. Flow of information is nearly instant and I know personally from my job that I am always needing to keep up with the latest changes.

  • This was really interesting to read. Social media today is so important to understand. I thought an interesting point you made was that we have tools to help pinpoint exactly what is working and what isn’t, so we can continually be improving.

  • Paige I totally agree with you. Social media and the internet makes the flow of information almost instantaneous. So many people have access to the information as well making social media a crucial tool in PR. In my job, I am always having to keep up with the latest in order to do my job the best that I can.

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