We asked PR and growth experts: What is your vision on Public Relations in 100 years from now on? Which trends are you seeing now that could lead to the future vision you created? Here’s the future tendencies and forecasts on Public Relations:
“Because public relations is about nurturing relationships between organizations and people affected by organizational decisions, the practice in 100 years will be fundamentally similar to what it is today. People will be still humans; and humans will still need relationships. The basic function of public relations thus will remain to nurture relationships in ways that help organizations in their business and that benefit society at large in our humanity.”
— Bey-Ling Sha, dean of the College of Communications at Cal State Fullerton.
Everyone is influential
“I predict the future of PR will be even more visual and entertaining. It is hard to imagine a world with more activity and shorter attention spans but PR will find new creative ways to tell stories using the latest tools and technologies to educate and inform people. PR may just be second nature with everyone being influential somewhere and sharing that info with their public. It may just be part of overall communications by then and not even a separate entity.”
— Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls
“This year we have seen that people genuinely want to be with other people. They want to speak to people, and they want to see their faces (not just text and email). But, we have also learned how much time driving takes from our days. So, I envision continued efforts to drive face-to-face meetings without having to drive there. Which is why I believe in 100 years, as we look to reach and grow our client-base with personalized meetings, we will host them via holograms. We will be able to meet “in person,” but we won’t have to drive there.”
— Karen Gordon, VP of Growth at Goodshuffle Pro
“The key concepts that will define PR in 100 years are trust, relevance, and digital, with an emphasis on specialized tools. As we have seen a shift toward increasingly digital interactive environments stakeholders are increasingly skeptical given the constant bombardment of digital messaging across platforms. Key to breaking through that bombardment and staying connected will be the maintenance of relationships with stakeholders with an emphasis on constant communications regarding the relevance of the organization to the stakeholder and the value they bring to their lives. As audiences become more fractured and segmented across multiple digital platforms practitioners will need to focus more heavily on segmentation and more importantly learn to use the new digital tools that will allow them to interact and connect with those stakeholders on those platforms. The speed of shifts in preferences and platforms will increase exponentially as “homegrown” social media and digital options become available to compete with the dominant US and western platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram) on a global basis. A good example is “VK Kontact” in Russia. Moreover, the need to stay current with the changes in technical skills needed to manage those platforms and the messages they carry will also become more crucial, with those skills likely becoming necessary core skills that will drive competition among practitioners. Those skills may extend to coding, and the ability to craft “virtual” content especially if the trends indicating the merging of entertainment (including gaming) and “news” based media continue to accelerate.”
— Dean Kazoleas, professor of communications at Cal State Fullerton
“Public relations is already seeing a massive shift away from legacy media like traditional magazines as well as cable television toward digital channels and years from now these new digital channels are going to be the best way for companies to connect with audiences and earn exposure that brings them more conversions online.
Audiences across new applications and online platforms are growing and soon the channels that public relations pros have worked so far to earn coverage through won’t be worth the investment but new, more immersive tech platforms will become the best way to reach target audiences and tell stories through earned media attention that makes them money. We’re seeing big companies market and advertise through new social applications and developers are creating new networks to engage users all the time, so the trend toward viral hits and the attention that comes with great digital content is going to continue meaning PR pros might not need to even pitch stories but rather post them.”
— Katie Fellenz, Head of Marketing at Trust & Will
“Public Relations begins and ends with our ability to build relationships. One hundred years from now, those of us who have stayed focused on our clients and their needs will serve as the heroes who were able to keep PR pure. Media will still count on us to provide accurate and meaningful stories while our children’s clients will appreciate that they are the story; not us.”
— Arden McLaughlin, Owner at Definita
AI and metrics driven
“At Plat4orm Public Relations, we believe corporations will see PR agents as part of their larger business strategy. PR will be a necessity for branding.
We think that the field of PR will become entirely AI and metrics driven. We will see an increase in machine learning tools, which will influence and inform data-powered decisions and campaigns.
We foresee that PR will be a mix of using multiple channels with audiovisual components becoming increasingly important. Traditional media, while always at the core, will need to be built upon to include sharp visual aesthetics, which has become a branding expectation today.”
— Valerie Chan, CEO at Plat4orm PR
“One of the shifts in PR that will continue to occur in the future, and to a greater extent, will be the segmentation of media outlets and decreased audience numbers. Clients often request to have a story on the most watched television show, but as programs and outlets become more niche and with smaller audiences, companies will need to adapt their expectations. And the reality is that these niche groups will probably garner a better response because of the specific target audience that is viewing a story or campaign. The strength of these smaller communities that watch a program, read a publication, or engage with a social media account, irrespective of size, will multiply the PR efforts taken on behalf of a company or organization.”
— Elise Assaf, assistant professor of communications at Cal State Fullerton
Personal reputation as the new currency
“In 100 Years, Public Relations may be the most important industry on the planet. Everything will be transparent. They’ll be no such thing as privacy which means PR will be personal, not just commercial. Like today’s Hollywood elite and tech stars, people will need PR presentation because personal reputation will be the new currency. It will drive status, employment and access to different levels of society.”
— Dean Trevelino, Owner at Trevelino/Keller
“Even the most junior public relations professionals will literally pitch media worldwide, thanks to advances in instant language translation. A single PR pro could instantly pitch a new product launching out of Ohio to reporters for the business and tech beats in Tokyo, Paris and Mumbai.”
— Jonathon Narvey, Founder & CEO at Mind Meld PR
Mindful work practices
“There is a developing trend across the general workplace that is, unfortunately, not witnessed as much in public relations as it should be. The trend is mindfulness — the ability to engage in our work with a clear focus and purposeful intent. PR people work in a 24/7 media marketplace where the communication demands are increasing beyond what reasonable human beings can be expected to endure. As this unfolds, PR leadership more often than not responds by telling us to just work harder, to ‘power through it.’ The result? Workplace-based anxiety and dysfunction is pervasive. Other industries have responded to the challenge by systematically engaging employees in mindfulness training. (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s system of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction [MBSR] is one of the best known.) For the most part, that’s not happening in PR. Our leaders need to ‘get with the program’ on this because if they don’t, our ability to function professionally is at great risk.”
— Doug Swanson, professor of communications at Cal State Fullerton
PRontheGO.com — The Creative Entrepreneur’s source for PR hacks.