PR, like any other marketing discipline, is going through major transitions, and in 2011 I think we will see a number of significant trends which may evolve our industry further.
Here are five for your consideration:
1. No More PR Boxes
Everyone has their own perception and interpretation of exactly what PR is – thus the difficulty I had in explaining to my mother what I actually did for a living. However, the boundaries of this loosely defined discipline will blur even further in 2011. We are now seeing brand owners looking for creative campaigns rather than generic PR support – so PR can’t be put in a box and must innovate and collaborate in order to maintain a stand alone image.
2. Social media – common sense please!
Possibly more of a wish than a definite trend, however we’ve becoming increasingly jaded by the plethora of “social media gurus” and specialist social agencies trying to capitalise on the ignorance of marketing directors.
Much of social media is a combination of common sense and old fashioned communications techniques – it shouldn’t cost an arm and leg to implement nor should it be mandatory for all businesses to jump on the bandwagon.
We have journalists, we have bloggers and we also have journalists with blogs. However 2011 be the first year in which those seeking a way into journalism become a bloggers with a loyal following first, with newspapers and magazines giving commissions based on the popularity of a blogger. Those with the most followers win!
Everyone who is anyone has a smartphone now – and 2011 will see a further evolution. While those brand owners who produced an iPhone app last year probably think they are leading the way in mobile communications, in reality “mob.com” will be about much more than designing “cool” (but often useless) apps. QR (Quick Response) codes are starting to infiltrate popular society and there is great PR potential in developing mechanisms not just for data capture, but driving traffic to websites, shops, retail outlets and brand-related events. Also watch out for how PR can use augmented reality on mobile can engage with consumers in new and creative ways.
5. The Price is Right
The retail space is constantly being challenged. Twelve years ago the revolution started when online retailers went head to head with their “bricks and mortar” counterparts, and the pressure hasn’t subsided. This year we will see how retailers can connect to savvy consumers to offer instant deals, special offers and exclusive products. KGB Deals and Groupon have already made inroads into this market, and this model will be replicated (and improved) by established retailers, and of course shamelessly promoted through social media.