Evolv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion


The state of the PR in­dus­try is gen­er­at­ing some heated de­bate as many com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als ar­gue that ‘PR agen­cies’ are al­ready dy­ing out and will cease to ex­ist in the next 10 years. What's your say?

The PR in­dus­try to­day is flour­ish­ing and will con­tinue to do so in the next 10 years and be­yond. The role of PR pro­fes­sion­als has never been more im­por­tant, as the need for out­stand­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions strate­gies is grow­ing, driven by high de­mand from a dig­i­tal­ly­con­nected and in­for­ma­tion-con­sum­ing so­ci­ety. With a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of PR, many sec­tors have now recog­nised how the in­dus­try con­trib­utes to na­tion­build­ing, hu­man de­vel­op­ment and global re­la­tions by strate­gi­cally get­ting key mes­sages out to the wider pub­lic. This role will be con­sis­tent in the next decade or so.

The ba­sic prin­ci­ples of PR will re­main un­changed al­though the chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion will surely evolve along with cur­rent and fu­ture trends. One such ex­am­ple is the dis­rup­tive so­cial me­dia net­work that gave PR pro­fes­sion­als a new mode of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with au­di­ences. Per­haps, in 10 years or so, press re­leases will be re­placed with mod­ern plat­forms that are more ef­fi­cient con­duits to tar­get mar­kets. How­ever, re­gard­less of what the in­dus­try looks like in the fu­ture, PR agen­cies will re­main rel­e­vant with a good story as its strong foun­da­tion. The way PR is mea­sured and eval­u­ated has also changed, with less em­pha­sis on out­puts and more fo­cus on how ideas have af­fected con­sumer be­hav­iour and re­sulted in out­comes and busi­ness ob­jec­tives. How has your PR strat­egy changed in the past 10 years?

Over the past 10 years, Ori­ent Planet has im­ple­mented key strate­gies ad­dress­ing var­i­ous de­mands of the in­dus­try. An ex­am­ple can be seen in our in­te­gra­tion of so­cial me­dia in our cam­paigns amidst the wide­spread pop­u­lar­ity of the all-im­por­tant on­line so­cial chan­nels. This has led us to es­tab­lish a ded­i­cated so­cial me­dia unit, Ori­ent Planet So­cial, in re­sponse to the clam­our for a two-way street of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Ori­ent Planet So­cial is also part of our strate­gic ex­pan­sion plans. We are now strength­en­ing our dig­i­tal ef­forts to thrive in the in­for­ma­tion age.

Ni­dal Abou Zaki

What are the chal­lenges you’ve been fac­ing so far?

We see still the need to lay more em­pha­sise on the im­por­tance of dig­i­tal PR cam­paigns as part of an in­te­grated com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy nec­es­sary amidst the ever-chang­ing me­dia land­scape. PR pro­fes­sion­als will also have to in­crease client aware­ness on the im­por­tance of cri­sis man­age­ment and brand build­ing es­pe­cially dur­ing tough times.

In to­day’s highly in­ter­con­nected world, PR pro­fes­sion­als must work twice as hard to en­sure that their clients’ brands are seen and heard by tech-savvy con­sumers. PR agen­cies that evolve along­side th­ese trends will have the best chance of suc­ceed­ing and flour­ish­ing.

Re­gard­less of what the in­dus­try looks like in the fu­ture, PR agen­cies will re­main rel­e­vant with a good story as its strong foun­da­tion.

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