In the coming year, there will likely be some big shifts in public relations and marketing communications, other changes will be more subtle and slow. One or two changes expected should involve a move to a more professional appearance across the board with communications firms.
Some of what to expect:
Shifting for the Good
For decades the public relations profession has taken some hits because there are those who use it in less than honest and honorable ways. Last year the PRCA ousted Bell Pottinger in England from its ranks for some pretty scandalous behavior on their part. This action shows them taking a stand to improve the reputation of the industry and its use of ethical practices in the future.
Additionally, in Helsinki at the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) presented 10 principles of ethical behavior for professionals to incorporate into their practices. Various other leaders and organizations in communications and public relations are equally involved in moving toward higher standards expected from everyone in the business.
But it’s not just about more honest behavior, the trends to improve the future in the industry include more diversity, gender identity acceptance, and fighting against “fake news.”
Changes and Challenges
As the explosion of data available through social media increases, a change and challenge of the future includes dealing with that vast amount of information. It is also centered on quickly using information garnered because of the ability of social media to connect people with institutions, brands, organizations, and leaders. Public relations and communications professionals, already working around the clock, may find an even greater need for vigilance. One unanswered tweet can sometimes turn into a movement within hours. No one can afford to ignore a customer’s concern.
Along with that is a need for more training with the talking heads of any PR client. Helping them to say things the right way in a five-minute press release can save hours of clean up and apologies. Hearing concerns, answering them quickly, fixing problems when they happen and responding always with the appropriate amount of care is necessary and therefore, bound to become a problem for someone sooner or later because very few people can respond perfectly every time. But helping people know how to use the social media platforms they use in proper ways should be a big step forward for all professionals.
Is there more? Of course, there are so many more issues that we could discuss here, but these are some of the biggest ones.