As 2019 draws to a close, the time is opportune to reflect upon the developments in the PR industry in the past years, the outlook for the years ahead and 2020 in eager anticipation.
The year 2019 was in many ways remarkable, for the challenges that it posed for the PR industry, the demands arising therefrom and the way those challenges were addressed.
The maxim that ‘The illiterates of the 21st century are not those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” was proved emphatically, with considerable focus being placed on up-skilling and re-skilling.
2019 saw a surge in ‘influence marketing’; a testimonial to the fact that, in an increasingly impersonal world, first-hand user recommendations and word-of-mouth publicity have gained traction vis-à-vis large-scale mass promotional messaging.
On the technical front, the rapid strides made in the fields of digitisation and automation, conjugated with the ever-increasing stress on data and analytics, have paved the way for the rise of AI-enabled PR marketing and tactics.
Accordingly, the current industry scenario only shows that these trends will accentuate in the years to come, in terms of both depth and scope.
1. Organisations and individuals will intensify training and skill enhancement programmes. Undoubtedly, considerable resources will be allocated to personal and professional development.
2. Influencer marketing will gain prominence and form a crucial component of PR strategies and Communication plans.
3. Data-driven research and insights gained from Analytics will constitute an increasingly integral part of clients’ marketing and PR strategies. Hence, this translates directly into competitive advantages reaped by organisations that invest in data collection systems and Analytical tools.
4. The usage of methodologies combining Analytics and Behavioural Economics will become progressively prevalent. It endeavours to address aspects ranging from evaluation and demarcation of potential markets to identification of target segments. Determining the value proposition and the delivery thereof in the most optimal manner possible are equally important.
5. In the past decade, Social media and the Internet have become ubiquitous. It had already permeated in the fields of PR and Communication. We will now see an upsurge in the deployment of related features such as Digital Assets (videos, podcasts, images, etc.), SEO and Social Media monitoring.
Also, the continuing rise of Content Marketing, overall online presence, and keyword optimisation cannot be disregarded. This will spawn a whole new range of PR service offerings, enabling deeper market penetration and the creation of fresh revenue streams.
6. There will be a gradual shift from sales-oriented mass advertising to holistic brand building, facilitated by the factors enumerated above. PR professionals will evolve from storytellers to becoming story makers for brands.
As brand custodians, we should adapt to these changes and tackle the challenges of the morrow. Also, it enables us to form mutually beneficial partnerships with our clients.