Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What are the new PR Trends for 2014?

One of the biggest trend in the industry seems to be inevitable equation of PR with digital or social media.  Digital media seems to be predominant in the western PR world, where the digital media professionals are trying to dabble into PR strategies. This may be alright for the western world, though I do not completely agree with this emerging trend, especially when we look at Public Relations function holistically.
Even PR Newswire in one of their articles on PR trends for 2014, limits itself to  "engaging digital audience with engaging content" as a major element.  Somehow the focus on print, radio, electronic, and outdoor has been pushed to the back burner, and has come to be known as "traditional" with digital, mobile and social channels ruling the roost.
  • The major trend for me in the high-speed information exchange global network, imperative too, would remain the PEOPLE.  You may call them publics, stakeholders, targetted groups, and what not; it is the human element that would be the foundation of all communication.  The tools can differ to reach out to them. Yes, the technology is relegating today's reality into obsolence in a jiffy. It is time to go back to the basics of communication management, and review the fundamentals.  
  • For people living in under-developed and developing countries, the information needs to be interpreted to them and involve them for their own benefit and convenience.  Therefore understanding their needs and aspirations is the key to the success of any communication. 
  • Secondly, we are crying hoarse about "engaging" the recipients of our messages through lively content.  The "message" had always been the key element in a successful and effective communication process.  Yes, the PR practitioners need to upgrade their skills and expertise in understanding the technological strengths and weaknesses of various digital outlets and develop content according to the channel for communication being used for delivery of the message. The diversity of social media has made it imperative to develop content appropriate to the channel being used and understanding whether it is ultimately reaching the targetted audience or not. 
  • Thirdly, the outcome of a PR exercise or a communication campaign would be another emerging trend.  No longer the popular measurement tools would suffice. The corporate especially are looking at RoI on each spend on communication, and tangible impact, which is possible only if the PR fraternity moves beyond the myopic selection of media to spread their message.  A campaign needs to have holistic view of the communication issues at hand and how this is going to impact the thinking, and the lives of the people involved. 
  • Lastly, but not the least, it is time for the professional bodies to actively engage themselves in upgrading and standardising the academics, research, continued training, and accreditation.  The professional practitioners would have to come forward to demand for it in order to achieve excellence for the PR profession, and have a talent pool of practitioners.
As we move into 2014 in a few hours from now, let us contribute to the success of PR movement. 









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