Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What is PR in 2015? Industry elites offer a view

The road ahead for PR

A number of questions are being asked about Public Relations.

one of them is 'What is the future of Public Relations?"

To be able to answer such a question, we need to know where practice is today.

The Measurement Standard invited a number of people to offer their view of what would be key in 2015.

They talked of the new and developing areas of practice. We have looked at what they said and then used the new PR tools of semantics to identify what they believe as a group. This is what the leaders in the field said:

“Whilst 2014 saw a continued rise in content, 2015 will see more brands embracing different types of content – beyond the written word or static images – that engages and adds value to their audiences.  We will see a growth in multiple forms of content from far shorter and punchier blog posts through to animated videos and even interactive infographics.  Furthermore, there will be much more emphasis on mobile content – brands are starting to see the value of creating content specifically aimed towards mobile users, especially as mobile marketing is growing at a staggering rate with more and more of us reading content on our mobile devices.  Indeed, taking all this further, tailoring content to be unique and specific to different social networks as well as to specific devices should also become a reality too.”
Lilach Bullock
Co Founder, Comms Axis

“Big brands will truly embrace the scale of digital in 2015, with its ability to match or often beat traditional media reach. In realising digital channels can play this big broadcast role they’ll then start exploring what still makes them different & unique – the ability to carefully target different content at subtly different audiences to ensure maximum impact will be chief amongst the answers. For consumers it should mean far more interesting & relevant adverts that build personal connections with brands at scale.”

Jerry Daykin
Global Digital Director at Carat

“The over-arching trend for digital in 2015 will be about ‘joining the dots’. There has been a lot of activity and investment in people, technology, data, tools, content and so on in the last few years. But it needs to work together better. Be that better channel integration, more joined up processes and capabilities, data and systems that work together more intelligently etc. 2015 will be about getting the digital engine firing on all cylinders.”
Ashley Friedlein
President, Centaur Marketing
Founder, Econsultancy

“What I believe will be big in 2015 is the rise of the internal social network.  For years now brands have been developing a presence on external social media, but have been missing the opportunity to allow their own staff to collaborate with each other, breaking down departmental silos and crossing geographies.  The gold in developing a collaborative culture is unlocking the brilliant minds we sit next to every day, along with the network drives and local files of information just waiting to be shared.
In the future, your value to an organisation won’t be what you know, it will be what you share.”
Andrew Grill
Global Partner, Social Business – IBM

Getting smarter about which parts of the ‘grand vision’ digital brands can land as early birds, which customers notice and will appreciate. Value exchange around customer data is a prime example. Brands collect and hoard. Customers complain about low value for the effort. This is a mind-set challenge of thinking outside-in. Not a question of ‘must have’ tech. “You already know tons about me. Use to empathise around my key situations and personalise your responses. Just needs imagination.”
Thus a hot trend for 2015 will be ‘situational empathy’.”
Martin Hill-Wilson
Digital Strategist

Content marketing will be increasingly used by companies that need to intensify their efforts to produce quality, creative, educational, targeted content on a constant basis. More brands will run social ads to amplify and broadcast their content in their attempts to go viral and to reach new audiences. Furthermore, advertising campaigns will become more micro-segmented thanks to broader targeting options. The end of the Facebook Like Gate has sounded the death knell for massive fan recruitment campaigns, which is a very good thing as it will help to build more qualitative communities and to better collect user data. 2015 will also see some brands experiment with social commerce as new features are developed by social platforms. And finally, brands and individuals alike will continue to adapt their websites for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).”
Isabelle Mathieu
Consultant, Trainer, Speaker
Social Media and Web Marketing

“Digital has been a race to innovation and for many marketers that felt late; they have invested madly in Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps and anything, which seems cool and new. In 2014 realisation set it in that this approach wasn’t working effectively – fans are not always really fans.   The sense of purpose and the brand’s values will help marketers to leverage digital as a part of their global strategy.  Data will help them to make better decisions, and understand their customers and audience better.”
Gregory Pouy

“If 2014 has been the year of content creation, 2015 will be the year of content ROI. Continue to build content, but be smart about it. It’s hard to produce quality content in quantity, so think about how anything created can be leveraged and re-purposed. Ditch thinking about social as a free-place market. As with any form of advertising, inventory on social is limited and will go to the highest bidder. Measure the effectiveness of your investment by how your work affects your sales, not just your likes and followers.”
Mobbie Minister
Chief Strategy Officer at We Are Social.

“The biggest theme for me next year is data. More specifically how to harness data-driven insight and marry that with brilliant creativity.
We must ensure that our creative output is enriched by the possibilities of data-driven digital marketing, rather than being diminished by the purely rational, data-only approach.
Success in modern digital marketing requires a blend of data-driven insight and creative flair that produces ideas that are bigger than the sum of their parts.
There will always be room for pure creativity and pure data science, but the most fertile ground for brands in 2015 will likely be in the places they overlap.”
Christian Purser
Chief Digital Officer at M&C Saatchi Group

“2015 will be the year of the creation of value through ‘member engagement’ (brands should drop quantitative KPI to focus on more relevant content and qualitative KPI). It will also be a year of transition as the new rule will be «mobile first, web second» both in terms of content visibility and content accessibility (Facebook apps, etc.).”
Christophe Ramel
Social Media Manager (acti agency)

“Even though a number of channels have changed over the past few years and will continue to change, It does not mean ‘to be everywhere at any time’ but to follow a clear target. This applies to the social media giants such as Facebook or Twitter as well as many new channels like Yik Yak or Snapchat that change the communication in social networks annually. It is only possible to keep the orientation in the new channels when one defines clearly which audience should be reached.”
Ira Reckenthaler
Wildcard Communications

“If we consider Snapchat and what it represents – the notion of impermanence – how would our thinking of knowledge management change?
The knowledge base has become the keeper of information. When something resides there, it becomes powerful, unquestioned. But the reality is that it results in complacency, it becomes a dumping ground.
But how would we think about the knowledge base if it was somehow impermanent. Impermanence would force us to make decisions, to decide what was important, what was not, what should be in, what should not.
Once we free the knowledge base, we can truly start to free the way we think. This, together with Don Tapscott’s ‘shared canvas’, Clay Shirky’s ‘one another’s infrastructure’, suddenly takes on new significance. And for me, perhaps the biggest shift may be the start of a new type of worker who recognises that knowledge resides in the individual. The question is, how prepared is the organisation for this?”
Guy Stephens
Social Customer Care Consultant

2014 was a watershed year for measurement. There is growing realisation that media measurement should not define your business performance metrics, but that business performance management must determine your approach to measuring media and influence. The easiest trend to predict is one that has begun, and 2015 will witness the continued maturing of all things measurement. (See http://eulr.co/AMEC2014.)”
Philip Sheldrake
Managing Partner, Euler Partners

“Brands will truly become social in 2015. Consumers deluged with inappropriate content will fight back. Much of so-called content marketing is the equivalent of direct mail in the 90s and noughties – too often it’s inappropriate and spam. The difference between what came through your letterbox and what is served on your Facebook or Twitter feed is the volume. Our news feeds are packed with brands trying to hijack a news event or own a moment. They don’t really care about what you think, but in 2015 they’ll have to. The brutal truth is that brands which fail to engage with their audiences on a social level will be ignored.”
Stephen Waddington
European Digital & Social Media Director, Ketchum
President of the CIPR

“I’ve been working with the Managing Director of Social@Ogilvy EAME, Marshall Manson, on our big trend predictions for 2015 and the main one [of the three that we came up with] is that we believe Twitter will move to an algorithmic content serving model at some point in the New Year.
What this means is that, similar to Facebook before it, brands will come under greater pressure to deploy Twitter’s suite of paid products in support of any branded content they create.
We’re calling this ‘Twitter Zero’ and, when it hits, Promoted Tweets will become a necessity.”
James Whatley
Social Media Director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, London

These perspectives were parsed through semantic analysis software which revealed the key interests:

This graphic was created using Wordle (http://www.wordle.net).

Yes, content, brands social Facebook, digital Twitter and mobile are rising up the today agenda very fast. The top of mind practices in 2015 are clear.

Using semantic analysis as a more informative tool a collective view of today's PR emerges. The experts contribution to the Measurement Standard showed specific top of mind practice revealing fast evolving activity in the PR sector viz:

  1. social media experts
  2. social media management
  3. media experts think
  4. digital marketing trends
  5. social media managers
  6. social customer service
  7. media managers can’t
  8. managers can’t ignore
  9. marketing trends social
  10. social media trends
  11. trends social media
  12. use social media
  13. data driven insight
  14. facebook or twitter
  15. social media director
  16. content creation will
  17. businesses use social
  18. change how businesses
  19. know about social
  20. media and digital
  21. year of content

Source: http://www.ranks.nl/.

The focus once may have been on media relations, events, lobbies and the like. No longer. The digital prophet has persuaded leading figures in the PR industry to look at a changed area of practice.

This is information we need to teach students the trade of PR. But is it enough. It shows practitioners what has to be in their portfolio of services too.

It is a subject that can be taken a long way. Defining PR has been an interest of mine for a long time. PR can be a discipline that interferes with culture, It is a practice with many faces that seem to go on forever and ever. It can be a business and wealth driver but today there is this new practice that is significant for the future of PR.