What does 2010 hold for PR pros?
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a crystal ball – for that matter, I don’t even have a Magic 8 Ball – but there are a few trends I think we’ll see unfold over the next 12 months.
So to kick up some lively conversation about the immediate, short-term future of PR, here are four trends I think we’ll spot in 2010.
1. PR Pros Will Learn that Social Media isn’t a Three-Trick Pony. Okay, we get it. Corporate blogs and Facebook and Twitter. There’s nothing wrong with using them, but if you don’t think those three platforms are the beginning and end of many social media proposals these days, you’re kidding yourself.
PR people will begin getting past the shiny object syndrome of these three and realize that it’s a big digital world out there. They’ll start to better understand technology and the possibilities it unlocks online – or hire and/or partner with people who do.
Other than being a smart business decision, the next best reason is that many advertising and digital agencies DO understand technology and platforms, and how to leverage them to develop creative content and efforts online for clients. If PR people don’t get smarter about this in 2010 and look beyond “Tweeting 101” as a prominent example of the social media value they bring to the table, advertising shops are going to eat their lunch.
2. The lines between PR and advertising will blur more rapidly. The number of ways to get in front of and connect with customers is expanding fast. And we’re seeing blurring lines between which disciplines “own” which pieces.
I believe more PR pros will recognize this, loosen their definitions of what PR “is,” and instead focus on making smart communications recommendations that make sense for their clients’ businesses. Even if it doesn’t fall under the realm of media relations or experiential events or one of the other traditional pillars of the PR business.
Why not recommend a great idea using mobile marketing to help drive customers in-store during your event? Or a sponsorship and online display banners for a message board that is part of your social media marketing efforts? Even if you don’t execute the idea, you get credit for the idea – and for thinking more holistically about how customers interact with the brand.
3. More Brands Will Learn that Social Media is Not the Handsome Prince. The great news is that more companies began seeing that social media does provide value for their brands in 2009 and that trend is still growing strong. In 2010, though, more than a few of them will realize that a kiss from Prince Social Media won’t immediately and magically revive their Snow White of a brand.
Social Media isn’t the second coming of you know who. It is a smart channel to integrate strategically into a well-rounded marketing plan, but it alone won’t be a marketing cure-all for most companies. In the coming months, many will learn that first hand.
4. PR People will Become Smarter Business People. One skill that many PR people possess is the ability to get up-to-speed on a brand and its category quickly. Many times, though, that quick study leads to a superficial understanding of the client’s business. And if you want to truly impact a brand’s success, you should start with a deep dive into their business and their industry.
Where does the market research show the greatest opportunities for growth? How can you geo-target your efforts to line up with that? How can you support the sales team and open doors for them to expand distribution? Understanding the business more intimately will lead you to strategies and tactics that stand a far better chance of actually impacting the bottom line.
Your turn. What are your thoughts on these? What trends do you see popping up in 2010?
*Image from thesocialnomad.