#BizTrends2023: 5 Reasons To look Forward To PR

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#BizTrends2023: 5 Reasons To look Forward To PR
#BizTrends2023: 5 Reasons To look Forward To PR

In the PR industry, we need to have a deeper conversation, one that delves beneath the trends and seeks to understand what is causing these themes to bubble to the surface.

While many of the observed trends are undeniably valid, we should think beyond the obvious and bring a fresh perspective to how we run our own agencies and advise clients on their brands and reputations.

It goes beyond an appreciation of economic, social, and environmental undercurrents to connect the dots in a way that resonates with and influences the conversations we want to have.

This allows us to look beyond trends and into the realities that shape what we see on the surface.

Trends and what they actually mean
Here are five change themes, five ways to reconsider the value we bring, and five reasons to look forward to PR in the coming year:

ChatGPT did NOT write this article.
If you didn’t board the artificial intelligence (AI) commentary bus during your December vacation, you were clearly doing something wrong. While there is much discussion about what AI is and how it affects strategic communications, the real debate is not about the tools’ capabilities, but rather about human control over the ethics of how we use them in our work.

It makes no difference that social calendars will be easier and more streamlined than ever. It’s in the subtleties of the copy and images, and no machine can replace a human’s ability to connect the dots. The bottom line is that your reputation cannot be automated.

 

There is (still) a war for talent – there are many people, but only a few that we require.

I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I had last year about how difficult it is to find people without cannibalizing your peer group. True, talent is a serious issue. But that isn’t the issue.

The bottom line (and I’m sure I’ll irritate a few people by saying this) is that the talent entering our industry is not adequately prepared with the necessary skills. This is not the fault of universities, but rather of how agencies and clients are collaborating with universities to influence the academic curriculum with what is truly required.

Consider a simple editorial calendar. To create compelling content that truly earns its place in media, a broad economic and social filter is required (or in all conversations, not just media). This is not ingrained in the way young professionals are taught to think (let alone write).

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Above this is an appreciation for commercial acumen; knowing PR isn’t enough; what do you know about the Just Energy Transition and how strategic communications can help? What is the relationship between the Just Energy Transition and unemployment? How does unemployment affect the increasing pressure on corporations to create jobs? What jobs are available?

There are heads in the room, not just a pair of hands.

Anyone who is “good at strategy” will tell you. It’s usually just before they present you with a menu of tactical options. The trusted advisor is the obvious missing middle. This is where the emphasis must be significantly increased if strategic communications is to maintain its seat at the top table.

To progress beyond the PR function as a transactional relationship and become a truly trusted partner, we must establish the appropriate level of intimacy with each client’s business. Not just what companies do, but how and why they do it. This is especially important in a post-Covid world.

It’s not about content, it’s about conversation, dammit.

We’ve all been to that meeting… the one where we go over the editorial calendar. We should be asking why we are still having these meetings in 2023. Sure, having a plan for what we’ll do is important, but an editorial calendar implies that we’re talking at someone rather than to them.

Conversations, not editorial calendars, have a positive impact on people. Content is, indeed, secondary. It’s a tool, and not the end game – or as one of my partners says “otherwise we would be authors and novelists and not strategic communicators”.

 

We influence confidence because we have perspective.
Comms people are pretty good at “yes we can and I’ll make a plan”.

It’s contagious, and it speaks volumes about our ability to instill confidence in others. In a world where everything always seems difficult, confidence is the most important impact we can make in 2023. As we craft simple and relevant solutions for an increasingly complex world, this could be one of the most important and deeper conversations on our agenda.