Six months into 2016, what lessons have we learned as public relations practitioners?
We asked our partners at worldwide agency network PROI to share with us the insights they’ve gleaned and trends they’ve observed from the first half of the year. Learn from their observations to finish this year strong—and prepare yourself for the future.
A common theme among our worldwide respondents was the need for a greater push into digital—especially social media. As Daiva Bumblytė of Publicum in Vilnius puts it, “Everything happens in Facebook. In Lithuania, Facebook is king.”
“Digitalization will continue to be the overriding theme and determining trend throughout the year and the years to come,” observes Uwe Wache of Klenk & Hoursch in Frankfurt.
The transition into social media will require new skills and new strategies. Sabine Pöhacker of comm:unications in Austria observes a strong revival of media relations in agency work, but qualifies that it has to be done “with all tools—offline, online, TV, including social media, bloggers, video, [and more].” She also recommends that all employees in an agency should hone their social media skills.
In Japan, Keiko Takagi of Asahi Agency in Tokyo takes a close look at the “digital influencer”. “Using digital influencers is still popular,” she says, but adds the disclaimer that “we should find a potential person who can be the influencer, and educate them [on how] to be popular.”
Tougher Competitive Landscape
Looking to the future, Jeff Altheide of G&S Business Communications predicts that “with slow economic growth around the world, we believe the competitive landscape is only going to get worse.”
Pöhacker puts it bluntly: There will be more expectations from PR, but with less money. For agencies, this would mean a shift from retainers to project-based work.
Our respondents offer different strategies to help cope with the changing landscape.
Bumblytė stresses the need for original ideas, especially when planning events that will attract media attention. She also believes that agencies should also focus on their corporate social responsibility in order to “foster trust in the community.”
Takagi recommends a stronger push into videos as content for campaigns.
Lena Soh-Ng, Senior Partner of Huntington Communications in Singapore suggests that agencies should think about their metrics—specifically, “a different way of measuring PR campaigns and results.”
Wache underscores the importance of old-school skills in a brave new world. Practitioners, he believes, should “[understand] digitalization, learning to work with leading edge digital PR tools while [still] maintaining best practice knowledge in ‘classical’ offline PR.”
Whatever your strategy, Altheide believes that this era of tougher competition will open up even greater opportunities. “Company leaders will be challenged to take market share from their competitors; they will expect their marketing and communications teams to find effective ways to do so, which will open up opportunities for agencies who can get the job done,” he concludes.
How about you? What have you observed about trends and practices in the PR business? Share your thoughts below!