I wasn’t able to attend this year’s Bulldog Reporter’s Media Relations Summit workshop (in New York) in person earlier this month. However, I did have the opportunity to attend virtually.
Speakers for the panel “The Future of Public Relations: Seizing the Opportunity” consisted of:
- Aedhmar Hynes, CEO of Text 100
- Matt Harrington, president and CEO of Edelman U.S.
- Peter Land, SVP, communications, at PepsiCo Beverages Americas
- Martin Murtland, VP, solutions for corporate communications for Dow Jones Inc.
I’ve listed some of the key points that I heard in the podcast. (NOTE: Unfortunately since there was only audio and no video, I was unable to keep track of exactly who was speaking at some times – so my apologies, in advance, to the panel if I’ve not credited you with your quotes.)
Hynes talked about marketing, advertising, public relations, etc. all being separate departments with separate budgets, as this is the business model that’s served well in the past. However, in reality, the future of the industry is about communicating the brand of the organization. What are the goals as a whole and what are the skill sets that match those strategic goals? This is the time for organizations to think about the fundamental concept of moving away from managing information or news to shaping and directing conversation.
Companies must influence the influencers. The concept of third-party advocacy has never been more important than it is now.
As in any discussion of PR these days, the conversation moved to changes in ROI and measurement and analytics. We all know we should get away from ad value equivalency, but what do we use in its place (aside from media value)? How do you know your campaign is a success? There are many tools out there that measure “online buzz.” Yet what does that really mean? It goes back to where you start – when you set your goals, they must be measurable. Measurable goals will drive your reporting and allow you to determine which strategies were successful.
So, what does the future look like for public relations?
- PR now has more opportunity and voice as it relates to corporate strategy. In other words, PR professionals are gaining more access to the C-suite.
- The future (of PR) is about confidence and being nimble. According to Land, we must be able to move incredibly fast and confident to walk into our CEO’s office and make suggestions.
- The move away from “agency of record” was briefly discussed because corporations have multiple needs (e.g., advertising, digital, creative, B2B, direct to consumer, etc.)
- The next decade in public relations is predicted to be the most exciting in history thus far. It may seem like it’s “back to the future,” as some have lost sight of fundamental best practices, but we must now come back to this strategic consulting in shaping views, per Hynes.
What would you add? What does the future of PR look like in your mind’s eye? If you attended the conference virtually, what are some of the points you took away from it. Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.