What Will #PR Look Like As We Approach 2015?

It’s never too early to make predictions.  As I watched the Holiday decorations go up in my neighborhood over the weekend (I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet), it made me think about 2012 and the years to come.  So, here is my “moving forward” post on what going to happen in PR next year, as well as what to expect as we head toward 2015:

  • PR will be more integrated with marketing, advertising and customer service.  Brands will focus on earned, paid, owned and sponsored media in their media mix, further promoting the integration.
  • PR will be an important component of social customer relationship management, as we become even more involved in customer facing issues, especially as they pertain to marketing, sales, service and support. PR will continue to collaborate with customers to help create and empower advocates.
  • PR professionals will focus on communications strategy with a permanent seat at the strategy table. We’ll help to break down the silos and to work cross functionally with other areas of our companies.  New strategies in monitoring, measurement, innovative communication, relationship building, reputation management and crisis management will give PR a direct path to the CEO.
  • PR will be more focused on the business of communications creating the connections / relationships that lead to financial outcomes (leads, sales, cost savings, customer service satisfaction levels, etc.) vs. the output (physical products including blog posts, articles, tweets, etc.) and outtakes (public take-a-ways including messages, perception, opinion, etc.).  PR will be held more accountable and will have to demonstrate ROI, which is sales and revenue based.
  • PR professionals will focus more on the natural fusing of communication and technology. The PR person’s daily role will include technology in communications and it will not be someone else’s job.
  • PR professionals will be much more in tune with mobile communications and helping their brands create engaging interactions, as consumers use their handheld devices more frequently for search and store purchases.
  • PR professionals will use a mix of traditional, digital and social media, blended together perfectly for companies to reach their audiences, where they congregate. We’ll be able to make deeper connections and to build relationships, loyalty and advocacy through any type number of channels (including new media).  PR encompasses all media and it’s our responsibility to guide brand communications through these channels.
  • When we discuss “media” we know that we’re referring to all media, including journalists, bloggers and the brands with owned media channels that deliver valuable content to audiences.
  • PR professionals won’t have to ask: What makes a viral campaign? How do we connect more strategically through social media? What are great examples of PR 2.0? How do you measure ROI through social media? Instead, we will be teaching and influencing others to answer these questions. We will make the difference when it comes to our own brands, because we are the greatest case study reflecting change!

Of course, all of these predictions may not happen in the New Year.  But, certainly by 2015, we should be tackling this list of accomplishments. As an industry, PR has made great strides and continues to capture the attention of executives as a valuable part of a company’s communications program.  It’s time to pick up the pace, embrace new practices and put any “fears” of change aside.  As we collaborate in our own social communities, and share and innovate together, we are providing our own answers every day.  Let’s continue to forge ahead to set a great example and to secure the successful future of PR.

What are your predictions for the year and beyond?