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A vision of the future of public relations, by Amelia Reyes

By: Amelia Reyes Mora – President of AF Strategic Communication – areyes@afcomunicacion.com

Life is a constant change, but the surprising thing about these last decades is the speed with which these changes occur. Unimaginable events have happened that have transformed our world view, generating uncertainty and anxiety.

For organizations to achieve their results, they need to be flexible. Success will depend on their ability to adapt. What has worked in the past will not necessarily be effective in the future. Public Relations are no exception!

We need to innovate to build beneficial relationships between organizations and their stakeholders, making very intelligent and creative use of the power of strategic communication. When talking about the future of Public Relations, we have to conceive it within a holistic vision, integrating other disciplines and tools that allow us to interact more effectively with stakeholders.

To achieve the interaction we seek with our audiences, we have to review the contents, properly manage the contact and presence, with and through social networks, and integrate the marketing objectives into our communication strategy. It is not about replacing PR with digital marketing. Trends suggest that customers look for agencies that offer integrated solutions.

Public Relationship Profile

New trends require professionals and agencies, creative communication strategy experts, with written communication skills, social networks, SEO, research, analytics, behavioral knowledge, creation of multimedia content, media buying, media relations, among others, according to the results of Global Communication Report 2017, prepared by USC Center for Public Relations. Very different from the old public relationship profile, a nice person, excellent host at parties and cocktails focused almost exclusively on traditional media management and event organization.

It is demanded that the Public Relations professional has a more critical, updated, and accurate vision of the tools he uses to achieve the results. In this context, the content is king, elaborate creative and exciting messages to capture the interest of an audience saturated with information.

Strategic communication planning is essential

We have focused so much on the channels, that it is forgotten that strategic communication planning is key to being successful in our purpose of attracting followers to our company and products; obtain that precious fidelity, differentiate ourselves from the deep sea of ​​options and the excess of information with which the public is constantly bombarded.

Activities as a support tool in Public Relations management allow us to strengthen relationships with our audiences, but we cannot confuse the medium with the objective. Let’s analyze if this is the ideal tool to achieve our purposes. We must use this tool for an end, after having evaluated different alternatives and conclude that this is the most appropriate and cost-effective.

Notoriety without the purpose of reputational benefit for the company is not the objective. The publication of a social event and the faces of the main executives will not always support the marketing goals or strengthen the reputation of your company.

New trends in the media

Printed media, for example, are redesigning their strategy, have turned to the development of their digital media and have websites that are increasingly strengthening. They are adapting to the habits and tastes of the new generations. The facilities offered by the multiple mobile devices that are at hand, make online media very attractive.

Economic crises significantly impact advertising investment in traditional media. The challenge to resist this situation has boosted creativity by actively integrating these new trends.

We are also seeing an increasingly gray line between editorial content and advertising, moving towards paid content, a field dominated by advertising, so that professionals and Public Relations agencies are required to handle the purchase in the media.

Opinion leaders have always existed. But some years ago to persuade the public, we relied on the opinions of journalists of high prestige and credibility. With your support, we influenced the public’s perception to create a good image and reputation of our company. New technologies have radically impacted this practice.

Impact of the new technologies

New technologies open a world of possibilities with the figure of “influencers” through digital media. However, its great proliferation has turned its virtual presence into a double-edged sword. You have to be careful in your selection; consumers are intelligent and seek authenticity in messages, a fundamental criterion in online strategy.

It brings more credibility to opinions and likes than messages from advertising campaigns. We must align the profile of the influencer to the brand, identifying those that match the values ​​and objectives we pursue. We must highlight the ease offered by portals, social networks to open conversations and that opinions are known, replicated, “reposted.”

Negative news 24/7 and the absence of borders can cause a company’s reputation to be destroyed or strengthened quickly. The organization that does not have a plan to react adequately to unforeseen situations is bound to fail. Remember that the question is not if a crisis will one day knock on your door, the real question is when.

In summary, the change will continue, and it will always be necessary to know, listen, inform, and persuade the public, create true bonds that will win us their appreciation, favor, and fidelity. We will return to the fundamentals of the profession.

The ethical practice of Public Relations, the quality of the strategy, innovation, authenticity, responsibility, ability to adapt to change, the value of the relationship and creativity will continue to be essential for the success of Public Relations management.

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