What’s coming for PR in 2012?

Two PR pros take a look at the tea leaves and predict 2012 will be a hyper-local, “essentials-only” year.

As 2011 winds down, folks whose job it is to predict or pinpoint public tastes are looking ahead. But not too far ahead, Marian Salzman, CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, said on a PR Week Webcast this week. No further than 12 to 18 months.

“You need to be grounded in the very near future,” she says, because social media has facilitated “unprecedented changes of taste.”

Even the practice of spotting trends is different, Salzman said. You’ve got to keep your eye constantly on technology and, specifically, hashtags.

Along with Celeste Lee, founder of Tenth Muse Consulting, Salzman stared into her crystal ball to predict the biggest trends of the coming year.

1. Economic reality

Occupy Wall Street has brought the divide between what Salzman calls “the mighty and the tiny” into sharp relief. For many, spending of any kind may be considered rash. Next year, lots of people will be looking to buy “essentials only,” she said.

How can companies deal with customers’ pulling back? Lee offers a few solutions. One is building partnerships with companies such as Google, Apple, or Amazon. Another is to develop a hyper-local focus: Sell one-of-a-kind products that you deliver to people’s doorsteps.

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