With attention firmly fixed on the future, who better to ask about what’s ahead than some of our colleagues? Here’s what some of them had to say about the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the PR industry in the next decade.
The news is moving faster than ever, and this is a risk for PR practitioners who need to make sure their clients’ stories are being told accurately. According to Nicola Britton, Regional Manager (Australia), GoFundMe, “We're living in an era where technology is fuelling entire new industries, and societal behaviours, and they're moving quickly. Perception will always trump reality and I am witnessing a lot of misreported stories about brands with time poor journalists representing a very nuanced conversation at too high a level to do the company justice.”
In a similar vein, continual learning and development of talent is a key challenge to address. Ed Pullen, Marketing Director ANZ at Dataminr, says: “In my mind, the biggest challenge facing the industry over the next decade will be talent keeping pace with an industry that is constantly evolving and changing. Universities can't keep pace with education, technology is dramatically changing the landscape and technical ability is becoming more and more important.”
ANZ’s Alex Flex, Brand Expert - Social Media & PR, says a big but exciting challenge facing marketers is the changing face of consumerism in millenial, gen z and younger segments. “They’re socially driven – in both community and consciously - suspicious of media and blatant marketing and digitally driven. Marketing will need to change to appeal and adapt to them.”
Which also presents a great opportunity, according to Alex. “Through digital offerings and advancements we can connect with customers in a more timely, relevant and engaging way, but it takes bravery to shift traditional marketing practice – I can’t wait to see what happens!”
Measurement presents both a challenge and an opportunity. According to Trudi Holli, General Manager, Marketing & Communications at Allianz Partners, “With an increasing focus on commercial deliverables and content governance, the PR industry will need to shift from a singular output focus to be able to define and provide evidence of value both in the customer journey and the business value chain.”
Dataminr’s Ed Pullen agrees. “The biggest opportunity for the industry is leveraging data to clearly prove the effectiveness of campaigns and activity. Marketing is no longer just a cost centre, it's a direct driver of ROI and revenue for organisations.”
The final word comes from GoFundMe’s Nicola Britton, who sees the opportunity for brands and their PR agencies to navigate the evolving landscape together. “Until these new industries and behaviours are fully embedded in society and become social norms, there's a huge opportunity to educate all stakeholders (not just media) to help control the narrative from day one. But risks must be mitigated and we're at a point where there's now enough tech-fail case studies for us all to learn from. This poses a huge opportunity to carefully map a long-term strategy for our businesses to carefully grow with the best interests of our users at the heart.”