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“The biggest change to PR will be the industry’s ability to shape entire strategies” – Ian McCawley, MD Acuity PR

The public relations industry is ever-changing.

Within five years, it will undergo extensive changes in response to new technologies, additional communications channels, increased demand for content and greater use of data, PR agency and corporate leaders report Practically all corporate and agency PR executives expect at least some change, according to the  Global Communications Report , a worldwide survey of over 1,000 PR executives.

Exclusive comment from Ian McCawley , MD Acuity PR

The point here about strategic planning is key. PR’s role in the comms mix is changing, driven by the demand for ROI across the marketing mix.

Recently, I’ve been asked by our sister new business consultancy to run content audits – aka strategy or planning sessions – for clients. The upshot is an annual plan that neatly links all facets of upcoming marketing activity. In many cases, the PR-led workshop defines the direction and delivery of everything ahead.

So why is PR perfectly placed to determine which content and channels are best to use, and in what order? The answer is that our discipline has the creative power to devise content, the strategic overview to implement it and the rounded knowledge to understand how all available aspects of the communications suite knit together.

The biggest change to PR will be the industry’s ability to shape entire strategies, and that change will gather pace as more client organisations realise the benefit of putting PR’s hand on the tiller.

Almost all client-side respondents (97 percent) anticipate at least some change in the structure of their departments over the next five years, 30 percent predict extreme or complete change, and most of the rest predict moderate change. Most PR agency executives (98 percent) expect at least some change, and 47 percent expect an extreme or complete change, according to the survey by the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations conducted in concert with the Holmes Report.

Predicted changes in PR

PR agency executives believe that over the next five years revenue from earned media placements will decline but remain a dominant stream. Owned, shared and even paid media will become increasingly important.

Only 27 percent of agency leaders believe by the year 2020 the term “public relations” will clearly and adequately describe their work.

As PR has assumed new roles, finding the right talent has become its greatest challenge, PR agency and corporate executives say, especially because PR is not good at recruiting talent from outside its ranks.

“Overall, we are sensing a continued optimism about the direction the industry is headed, which is good news for people entering the field,” says Fred Cook, director of the USC Center for Public Relations. “Questions remain about the industry’s ability to attract the right talent, adapt to new technologies and increase the level of investment required to capitalize on these opportunities

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