2013 was a rough year for some public relations practitioners as the curse of the “unlucky number 13” caused its share of unfortunate PR mishaps. Between social media mistakes that ruined some careers, mishandled celebrity crises, declining trust in the government and a crack smoking mayor, there have been plenty of public relations pundits offering advice of all sorts. We’ve learned from the past, but it’s time to take a look forward as we bring you our annual PR industry prognostications.
The following preview offers a snapshot of the first eight blog contributions. Through the next few weeks we will feature full blog posts from 14 PR industry thought leaders from different industry sectors. Their posts will offer an insightful analysis of the trends and industry tactics that are expected to change or impact the PR industry in 2014.
Please let us know your thoughts regarding these entries in the comment section below and contribute your predictions by using the hashtag #PRin2014.
PR in 2014 initial predictions:
Plenty of Jobs, Full-Time Positions Remain Elusive
Although the public relations industry continues to bounce back following a recession-related decline that forced many companies to cut jobs or remain lean, agencies and corporations will increase their reliance on interns and contractors instead of filling full-time positions. Millennials and other job seekers will have to make adjustments to their expectations while PR companies wait for hard proof that the current positive signs for future growth are a reality. (Ron Culp, Consultant and Professional Director Public Relations & Advertising MA Program at DePaul University)
Media Relations Is Evolving—Keep Up Or Get Left Behind
Content marketing will take center stage and the time is ripe for PR agencies to further their strategies by embracing some of the sophisticated new algorithms and testing schemes that enhance the likelihood for capturing views, enhancing clicks and boosting share rates. PR practitioners who rely solely on the journalists to advance their clients’ communications interests may eventually be left behind. (Peter Himler, Founding Principal at Flatiron Communications.)
Ethics 101: A Return To The Basics
The disingenuous messages from both public and private sector leaders that plagued 2013 show a clear need for a return to ethical communication. While public relations professionals are doing a good job of helping others come to grips with the need to be open, honest, and sincere, metrics show that trust in CEOs and government leaders continues to plummet. Effective public relations should be about building trust and confidence, and to do so key publics need to be told “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” (Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA is Associate Professor of Communication [Undergraduate] at Curry College in Milton, MA)
Break Down the Silos: Closing The PR/Marketing & IT Divide
For the chaotic and frenzied world of PR/Marketing to work seamlessly with the precise and logical world of IT without frustration, confusion or loss of productivity, a three part process consisting of collaboration, connection and transition must be met, but first each discipline needs to break out of its silo. If companies are able to become more integrated across disciplines, they will benefit by building a stronger support system to deliver communications with the interactive touch points necessary to provide a much better experience for customers. (Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO at Pure Performance Communications and co-founder of #PRStudChat)
Communication with conscience
Social and digital media have been a double-edged sword for organizations. While many embrace social networks as instruments that empower consumers and citizens by compelling corporations and governments to be more truthful, transparent and accountable, the complex reality cuts both ways; since audiences are at once inundated with information, distracted by multiple devices, and yet paradoxically less trusting of the media as sources of content curation, advanced communication tools can also facilitate those who would distract from or distort the truth. In 2014 it will become even more imperative for us as PR professionals to lead the way as the conscience of the organizations we represent. (Daniel Tisch, APR, Fellow CPRS, chair, Global Alliance; CEO, Argyle Communications.)
Relying On Data To Take Hyper-Personal Strategic Communication Even Further
Newly available data and tools will allow public relations practitioners to identify and nurture meaningful targeted relationships in an increasingly focused and personal way. PR pros that are able to take advantage of the information made available by “big data” to create individual experiences for stakeholders will find themselves ahead of the curve when developing strategic programs that will drive engagement with publics. (Valerie Simon, Director of Marketing Communications for Plymouth Rock Assurance and co-founder of #PRStudChat)
7 Trends To Anticipate in 2014
Public relations professionals can anticipate a number of changes and challenges in 2014. Among them, expect global brands to shift even more dollars to local strategies and forge truly targeted connections in an effort to build stronger relevance among consumers and ultimately achieve greater ROI; companies will also take a greater role in driving social good by implementing comprehensive corporate social responsibility initiatives that are deeply intertwined with their business models; additionally, more campaigns will be driven by consumers through crowd creation. (Elise S. Mitchell, President and CEO, Mitchell Communications Group, Inc.)
Terrific Time To Be In PR For Those Willing To Embrace Change
Public relations practitioners offer the most potent proposition for organizations; we work in an editorial environment, listening and creating a narrative to enable organizations to build their reputation by earning attention while also fostering a two-way dialogue. But if we expect to take our place at the head of the table, PR pros need to learn from our colleagues in advertising and digital. Moving forward, PR pros need to stop getting hung up on the future of the profession and get on with taking our ground. (Stephen Waddington, Digital & Social Media Director, Ketchum)
Laurent Lawrence is associate director of public relations at the Public Relations Society of America.