What to expect in PR in the next 10 years

Trends and shifts occur continually, though at varying speeds. Here’s a look ahead.

In a recent Forbes post, Greg Satell presents several trends he believes we’ll see over the next decade in marketing.

He made some great points about where we’re heading, and I thought I’d add what shifts and trends the PR industry can expect.

From messages to experiences

It wasn’t long ago when we were all about the key message.

These days, it’s more important for us to learn how to tell stories—visually, creatively, honestly, and effectively—to give something of value to the communities we’re trying to reach. It’s about getting to the heart of the matter, not massaging messages via sleight of hand.

From rational benefits to the passionate economy

The PR industry has a tradition of billing by the hour for the services we provide. That doesn’t take into account the big ideas we create in a few minutes nor the passion required to deliver out of the ballpark results.

It’s time to move beyond tracking increments of quarter hours and start showing clients we don’t view them as numbers on a ticking meter. This means a shift in our pricing model that demonstrates we’re committed to giving clients our all and producing the breakthrough work I mentioned in the first point.

From strategic planning to adaptive strategy

Not long ago we’d get a client briefing and prepare a full-year plan. That brief was like the Bible, and we wouldn’t waver from it because it was, well, the Big Plan.

Now we should take a 50,000-foot strategic look at the year ahead, but map out the detailed planning every quarter and fine-tune it each month. We should constantly listen—to our community and to the world around us—and be prepared, happy, and open to shifting to new opportunities.

From hunches to simulations

I’m a big believer in gut reactions and left-field concepts that you know will help you achieve your goals. I’m a big non-believer in focus groups, those artificial gatherings responsible for the maintenance of the status quo because the wrong mix of five or six people in a room focuses too closely on whether a picture should have a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

It’s important to test our ideas, and what better way than in a real-life, real-time simulations, actual experiments? Then when the results merit it, we should adapt quickly.

From brands to platforms

I’m going to interpret this as a shift from brand-centric push communications to the helping model Jay Baer articulates in Youtility. PR can be agoraphobic and unwilling to veer from the tried and true (as in simply posting a news release and expecting people to be excited). We need to journey outside our comfort zone and figure out a more meaningful way to connect.

How about actually starting with a conversation and abandoning the canned pitch?

The PR industry 10 years from now

Do you think the next 10 years are going to bring about as much change as the past 10 did? What will the industry look like in the not too distant future? Where do you think PR is heading? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section.

A version of this article first appeared on Spin Sucks. Martin Waxman blogs at MyPallete and can be found on Twitter @martinwaxman.

Topics: PR

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