It’s that time of year: 2019 is coming to an end, and the predictions for 2020 have begun to roll in. It should come as no surprise that the ever-changing world of PR is no different, and those who hope to excel in the industry in the coming year must stay abreast of emerging technologies, shifting consumer perceptions, and evolving market expectations.
As such, here are four PR priorities to expect in the coming year:
1. Fighting Fake News
Those working in the world of communications must take a vastly more vigilant stance in 2020. Two out of ten communications professionals in the U.S. and Canada currently report that their organization has been affected by fake news, while nearly 60% of respondents to that same survey characterize fake news as a “serious threat.”
In the coming year, more businesses, nonprofits and other organizations are set to adopt policies and technical systems to detect and combat fake news misinformation. Media monitoring services are heading for a boom, and PR crisis management services should expand to include fake news-related setbacks.
2. AR and VR Get Real
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are well on their way to dominating the world of digital marketing. Communications professionals should already be seeking out ways to use this emerging technology to better deliver brand messages to the market.
At the moment, consumers tend to turn to VR for fun, and AR for more practical applications. Moreover, the use of AR by a firm can boost a brand’s reputation for innovation- this is not an opportunity to be sniffed at!
3. Brands Taking Stands
Research shows that brands who speak out on an issue and take a stance can actually increase customer loyalty, and win respect in the market. In 2020, this trend is sure to continue, with more companies taking stands on key social and political issues.
At the same time, it is highly likely that many of these social pronouncements will be duds, and criticises as inauthentic and hypocritical. It is vital that communications professionals conduct extensive research so as to effectively convey a brand’s perspective on pertinent issues.
4. Tackling Deepfakes
Advances in video editing have enable all types of people to create videos that appear to show their subjects doing things they never did, or saying words they never actually said.
In fact, free or low-cost video-editing tools for producing these types of fakes are now widely available, and are already threatening to wreak havoc on the communications industry.
“If they’re so inclined, these mischief-makers could create a massive public relations nightmare for brands,” says David Pring-Mill, filmmaker and writer, “people are currently talking about deepfakes within a political context but the business landscape isn’t immune.”
Prudent organizations will need to monitor media closely in 2020, and have an action plan in place in case of becoming a deepfake target.
2019 has been a big year in the world of public relations, but the year-to-come might be the industry’s most pivotal one yet.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.
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