Report: PR pros say ‘public relations’ doesn’t describe their future

A recent survey revealed that a majority of public relations executives believe the industry as it is now will not describe their roles in the future. Many believe it’s moving to the marketing side.

You might not want to hear this, but marketing and PR are merging.

Though many PR pros (and marketers) are quick to point out the significant differences between the two practices, some at the executive level are seeing more similarities.

A recent study from University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism reveals that 87 percent of PR executives believe the term “public relations” does not describe their future.

Simply put, they don’t think that that PR will accurately describe the work they do in five years.

Only 8 percent of the 800 PR executives surveyed believe that PR will be a “distinct and separate function” from that of marketing. Nearly 60 percent said these functions will be more aligned in the future, and 20 percent predict that PR will eventually move into a subset of marketing.

Fred Cook, director of the USC Center for Public Relations and chairman of PR firm Golin, said in a statement:

Monitoring this trend toward convergence, and understanding its implications, is one of the most critical issues facing the public relations industry today. We’re seeing a lot of consolidation on both the agency and corporate fronts, which has the potential to diminish the role of the PR professional.

The study also identified the top PR industry trends for the next five years. These should come as no surprise for communicators:

  • Digital storytelling
  • Social listening
  • Social purpose
  • Big data

I can only imagine that these survey results will spark strong opinions. Let us hear yours in the comments.

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Topics: PR

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