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Four emerging Public Relations trends to watch

The USC Annenberg Centre for Public Relations and the Association of National Advertisers, has released its annual Global Communications Report providing top insights into emerging trends. The report is based on data from a survey of 875 public relations professionals (63% agency; 37% in-house) as well as data from a survey of 101 in-house marketers.

Almost half of PR professionals and more than 60% of marketing executives surveyed believe that their two disciplines will become more closely aligned in the next five years. Some think PR will dominate. Others think it will be dominated – perhaps the reality is somewhere in between. . .

However, as the two roles start aligning so does their thinking on emerging communication trends. Here’s the four key trends brought to light in the report:

 

1. Digital storytelling

Storytelling is more than a ‘buzzword’. How do you conquer a world that has gone digital? The answer: with digital storytelling. In order to stand out from your competitors and engage your customer persona, PR professionals will need to deliver visual stories that spark emotions in their target audience. A huge 88% of those surveyed in the Global Communications Report cited storytelling as important - making it the biggest future PR trend.

 

2. Social listening

Today, social listening is becoming increasingly important and 82% among PR professionals cite it as the second most important trend. Social listening is more than watching @mentions and comments pour in via your social profiles or blogs which can be monitored with online Martech tools, it is the process of tracking conversations around a specific topic or phrase that’s key to your brand and then leveraging them to discover opportunities or creating specific content for those audiences. Quick tip: in order to make social listening work for your brand, work with people who truly understand your markets, technology and customer pain points.

 

3. Social Purpose

71% of PR professional stated social purpose as the third biggest trend. A brands’ social purpose needs to be linked to the company’s overall strategy, products or services, values, skills and the long-term benefit to the society in order for it to be credible. If these aren’t linked, the results will be minimal and the efforts will inevitably lose internal support.

Recent research by Brand Learning, produced in partnership with Marketing Week, suggests the companies most capable of consistently growing profit are those that stand for more than simply making money.

 

4. Big data

Big data is the fourth biggest trend with 70% of respondents stating it as an important trend. Today, brands have more intelligence at their disposal to make smarter marketing decisions for their customer base. A powerful big data tool can lead to substantial breakthroughs and more solid business decisions – it will allow businesses to ask and answer more questions, accurate decision making process and empower your workforce.

 

Usc Pr Image 

 

Source: Global Communications Report 2017 - The USC Annenberg Centre for Public Relations

 

These trends are a striking example of how the industry has changed and will continue to change. Other emerging technologies, like VR and AI, are ranked further down the list but it will be interesting to see how significant these will become for our industry in the years to come. One last thing, you’ll be pleased to know that ‘Fake News’ was at the bottom of the communication trends list!

 

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Sylvia Laws, Managing Director, Technical Associates Group

You can connect with Sylvia via LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or email.


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