It is a cliche to say PR has changed, we all know that . Internet and smart phones with low data costs changed not only how we consume news and views but what we consume.
Today we use our smart phones for entertainment , education , information, shopping , booking cabs , flights , hotels , food delivery , making payments.. and the list is long . It’s one device that our world revolves around.
And then the pandemic hit us. almost overnight we had to sit at home , locked down . It was this device that saved us , kept us sane , we stayed connected with friends, family , and news around the world .
As the intermediary print media disappeared in the lockdown , the change which was gradual got accelerated. Advertising money moved from print to social media.
The big shifts I have experienced working with clients and also co founding a digital startup that will continue in the future are as follows
1. The Intermediary is less relevant : Earlier organisations would chase media (journalists) , today every organisations can broadcast directly to its audiences. Social media has democratised content production. Anyone can be a broadcaster.
2. Journalists move to organisations: Journalists have a knack for news and storytelling , as jobs become scarce in traditional print media journalists moved to organisations in communications and content writing to tell stories on the digital media.
3. Content becomes Visual : 80% of the traffic online is video content as consumers shift to being entertained on social platforms. Visual storytelling will become greatly in demand in times ahead.
4. Influencers are the new intermediaries : Brands are chasing influencers on social media as they have a fan following which can be leveraged and the association also endorses the brand.
5. 24×7 On the Edge the story of a crisis : As there are advantages of being able to broadcast online there is also the other side , a negative side, in a polarised world news will spread rapidly and can damage the brand overnight . In this scenario reputation management takes a different meaning .
6. Storytelling takes centre stage : Consumers and stakeholders consume content and Brands will become storytellers. Every organisation has stories, stories of the founder , organisation , culture, people , clients and community. The future of PR is storytelling in the digital world.
7. Brands and good : Consumers , clients and employees are increasingly looking at brands to support good in communities . Brands and good will connect with stories of good told in the digital world.
8. Leadership needs to be visible: Leaders need to be visible , vocal and demonstrate character by taking a stand for what is right for their people , clients , community and our planet. Leaders that leverage the social media create a positive brand voice. The social media is also going to be a listening platform for leaders .
9. Leverage social media to build Tribes : Organisations and Brands can build Tribes on social media and engage them . PR is no longer just talking but a two way communication, it is building a community around the brand.
In the very early days of social media I had built an alumni and employees community at a leading Indian IT company on social media . We kept the community engaged with the organisation and it turned out to be the best brand ambassador and PR for the organisation.
I have started seeing many PR agencies aiming to reinvent themselves by training their staff in digital communication but this change is more deeper .
It is a shift that needs understanding of consumer behaviour in the digital world combined with good storytelling.
The digital world offers a level playing field , disruptions can happen overnight. The future is going to be exciting and an adventure for digital PR .
As a communicator I am looking forward to the changes, are you?