The future of PR lies in its past. With several of the bigger names in the business intent on morphing into management consultant / advertising / digital agencies, a clear space is being created in the PR landscape for independent, niche businesses (such as mine), to thrive. The use of the word “independent” is important. Having previously worked for some of the world’s biggest PR firms, not being aligned to an international behemoth is a big plus in the Irish market.
Why? Because when you don’t have to consider the operational and revenue agenda of a multi – tentacled business you can operate in a smarter thinking, more nimble way. Clients then get access to the type of honest, unfettered advice that rings “true” and which helps to forge strong, long-lasting and collaborative working relationships.
In the bright shiny world of 2018 and beyond, so-called “traditional” PR skills of the past will once again become highly prized. For instance, “Storytelling” (the most overused and misappropriated word of the moment) is a core PR talent. In an era where Content is King, the capacity to identify what makes a story and then write compelling, engaging narrative that fits both the shorter reading span of a digital or tabloid medium and long form broadsheet stories will make experienced PR practitioners even more invaluable.
And simply because media continues to change doesn’t mean that the practice of media relations will. The ability to sell, haggle, negotiate and cajole is what brings stories and campaigns to life – and that’s experience that can never be replaced by an algorithm.
The other hot button issue for the PR business – Pricing – will become less contentious. Thankfully, and in a very welcome change, the industry seems to have divested itself of the bottom feeders who slashed fees to uneconomic and unsustainable levels. And there’s definitely a different mindset at play when it comes to price. In the Corporate, B2B and B2C sectors in which I operate, there’s a healthy respect for the value (and cost) of building and sustaining positive reputation and credible public profile. So, while my offer is not based on being the Cheapest, it’s got a lot to doing with being the Best. Besides, if I don’t value the professional service I provide why should I expect a client to do so?
Millennial Fatigue. You’ll be glad to know that the current fixation with Millennials will subside when everyone remembers that the real spending power lies with other demographics. And lastly, while the white heat of Digital has diminished as it becomes an integral part of every marketing solution, much work needs to be done on measurement and the impact (or not) of “social influencers”. Now, if we could only debunk some of the hysteria around “Data”………….