10 Chal­lenges Fac­ing PR


Like all spe­cial­ists in their re­spec­tive pro­fes­sions, PR peo­ple want to know the “next big thing.” Rather than look for the hot topic or in­no­va­tive tool of the month, pub­lic re­la­tions spe­cial­ists should fo­cus on the long-term and fun­da­men­tal gamechang­ers that chal­lenge the PR pro­fes­sion. In an ar­ti­cle for The Holmes Re­port ti­tled "The Winds of Change", Man­ag­ing Part­ner at Chap­ter 4, PR Agency, iden­ti­fies the fol­low­ing ten chal­lenges for defin­ing the fu­ture of PR. 1-The Mo­bile Mind Shift: Op­ti­mis­ing PR for mo­bile means think­ing be­yond how your con­tent will look on a smaller screen. It is a mind shift, Beker as­serts, and PR must de­ter­mine how client brands fit into con­sumers’ con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­li­a­bil­ity of mo­bile devices. 2-Hy­per-per­son­alised Con­tent: Cus­tomers de­sire in­for­ma­tion that is per­son­alised, sent through the right chan­nel at the right time. PR must ad­vise clients to shift from tra­di­tional chan­nels to hy­per-per­son­alised and more en­gag­ing tac­tics. Ex­am­ples of th­ese tac­tics in­clude Coke’s per­son­al­ized bot­tles, Ap­ple’s prod­uct en­grav­ing and Google’s Art, Copy & Code pro­ject. 3-A In­dus­try: PR clients and stake­hold­ers tend to look for sup­port in their im­me­di­ate neigh­bour­hood. At the same time, un­der­stand­ing ge­o­graph­i­cal and cul­tural specifics of dif­fer­ent coun­tries is cen­tral to learn­ing the mar­kets’ con­di­tions. The so­lu­tion: net­work PR teams in dif­fer­ent coun­tries to share knowl­edge and in­sight with each other for an ef­fec­tive, in­te­grated ap­proach. One ex­am­ple: uni­ver­sal PR mea­sure­ment stan­dards set by the Coali­tion for Pub­lic Re­la­tions Re­search Stan­dards. 4-Real-time Cri­sis Mon­i­tor­ing: Nearly 30% of com­pany crises spread in­ter­na­tion­ally within an hour, and over two-thirds of crises gain in­ter­na­tional reach within 24 hours. Most cri­sis ex­perts agree: it’s not a mat­ter of if your com­pany will ex­pe­ri­ence a cri­sis, but when. For­tu­nately, com­pre­hen­sive me­dia mon­i­tor­ing ser­vices al­low brands to main­tain their rep­u­ta­tion and quickly spot a brew­ing cri­sis on the In­ter­net, so­cial me­dia, print, broad­cast TV and ra­dio. The key: PR agen­cies and cor­po­rate staff must act quickly when they iden­tify one of the warn­ing signs of a cri­sis. 5-The Death of Tra­di­tional Jour­nal­ism: The role of me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions as gate­keep­ers of in­for­ma­tion and au­di­ence has faded. Brands can take over the role of re­porters and tell their own sto­ries and news in an en­gag­ing way. 6-Trans­parency: The risk of a com­pany los­ing con­trol over neg­a­tive news is sub­stan­tial. Brands can only ad­dress and re­pair bad cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences and cri­sis-caus­ing news with hon­esty and trans­parency. 7- Mea­sure­ment: PR cam­paigns re­quire mea­sure­ment to demon­strate suc­cess (or fail­ure). Clients de­mand (right­fully) to see re­sults for their money. PR firms must com­mit to mea­sure­ment-driven ap­proaches. 8-The Power of Im­ages: Im­age-driven con­tent not only in­creases con­sumer en­gage­ment and re­ten­tion; it also drives more sales. Face­book and Pin­ter­est lead in most rev­enue per vis­i­tor among all so­cial me­dia plat­forms thanks to their fo­cus on im­ages and videos. Beker pre­dicts next-gen­er­a­tion press re­leases to be dis­sem­i­nated via videos and so­cial me­dia posts. 9-Brand Val­ues: More com­pa­nies are pro­ject­ing their val­ues in PR and mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als. Brands like Red Bull and Nike make it the fo­cus of their cam­paigns. Com­pa­nies are also rec­og­niz­ing the ben­e­fits of cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­grams to el­e­vate their val­ues and give back to the com­mu­nity while do­ing so. CSR pro­grams are ef­fec­tive: a re­cent study shows more con­sumers are choos­ing cause-based brands over char­i­ta­ble giv­ing as their way of “giv­ing back.” 10-In­te­grated Com­mu­ni­ca­tions: Com­pa­nies must tear down PR,

mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing si­los to im­prove mea­sure­ment and ROI.

Boris Beker,

Tech­nol­ogy, glob­al­i­sa­tion, in­no­va­tions and new me­dia have changed PR, mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing. In a con­nected world, com­pa­nies and brands can’t tell and live dif­fer­ent sto­ries on th­ese three lev­els. They must pro­vide the pub­lic with one face and one sto­ry­line. --

Boris Beker

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