Guest Post by Karen Addis, APR
With the new year upon us, everyone is asking what the future looks like for the public relations profession. As I write this blog, a new president is taking office, marking a whole new day for America and the world.
What is happening in the political arena is not that dissimilar to what is happening in our profession. It’s a new year of great change and with that comes a great deal of uncertainty and nervousness.
But look back at any point in history. With great change, there have been opportunities. Even during the Great Depression some industries and individuals experienced tremendous success.
The PR profession is at a pivotal moment in time. Are we going to capitalize on the changing times and rise up or are we going to slowly fizzle away?
Here are my insights into what I believe will be the five top trends to monitor in the coming months.
Redefining PR: We have seen — and will continue to see — the blurring of the lines among the PR, marketing, digital and advertising industries. Everyone is fighting for a piece of the pie and the desire to dominate the communications arena. The question is, who will assume the lead position and be in control, having a seat at the table?
Increasing Pressure on ROI: This is an age-old battle in our profession, but more recently it has translated into “what can PR guarantee?” For many CEOS, that means a direct contribution to the bottom line: increased sales, whether it means more product sold or more patients in beds. Will PR be able to effectively show its value to the C-suite?
Understanding Technology: No one would argue — even many techies — that the pace with which change is occurring in the tech sector is mind-blowing. But those who do not keep up with new products coming on the market and have a basic understanding of how to apply these tools will become marginalized.
Decreasing Staff Loyalty: We’ve already seen this with millennials, who often lack the loyalty to employers that their parents did. But why should they be loyal? Many of their parents worked hard and sacrificed much only to be laid off at the height of their careers. This lack of loyalty is already a starting to affect the ability for managers across the board, including PR professionals, to lead effectively.
Redefining Work: Decreasing staff loyalty is not only an issue with millennials. It is translating into the older generations, many of whom are going off on their own, forging their own path ahead and finding success. There is much talk about the workforce of the future where everyone is a “contractor for hire.” How will that affect businesses and what role will PR play?
No one truly knows what the future will hold, but as the saying goes, “expect the unexpected.” It applies to both politics and to our profession.