Franklin’s words couldn’t have had more importance than it has today. In today’s time and age, the avenues and platforms for reaching out to the world are unimaginably vast and diverse. Gone are those days when the medium of corporate communication was just the regular newspaper.
The old fashioned and traditional press release was the only way in the past to convey news and information to the market. But in today’s reality, getting out news and views has multifarious platforms.
The present day world is a profusion of hitherto unknown forms of communication, popularly referred to as the social media. And with the availability of bigger and more varied sources of communication comes the issue of credibility of claims made.
Corporate reputation is as vital as brand communication. In a world which has access to information virtually at its finger tips, with the advent of the internet and its stupendous reach and scope, one cannot be but true to the claims made. PR professionals have to learn to leverage digital platforms for the benefit of their clients and in this whole process, reputation and credibility are the keys.
The range of PR responsibilities is such in today’s climate that reputation management is high on the agenda. Traditional media like newspapers and television have been swamped by social media. Online reviews have become a major force to vet products and services. Communicators shall play a major part in enhancing and also protecting business reputations.
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it,” said Benjamin Franklin.
Corporate communication has now reached a stage where the communication is more personal and direct to the customer than making pronouncements via a large press conference. The writing of a blog post by the CEO of a company for example is an indication of wanting to reach out to the target audience at a more personal and direct level than making a pitch in an impersonal and general manner. The customer is a partner in business, in a sense.
A serious change in attitude has to be brought about in the very approach and mind set of doing business. Corporate identity is now based even on a strong employer brand image; something that was an internal issue all along. Even internal communication within the company cannot be overlooked.
Innovative campaigns through the use of data and analytics shall come to stay as the market is far more informed than in the past all thanks to the march of technology and the growth of multiple forms of media.
Dedicated data tracking teams, whose role is to gather, analyse and monitor data and fine tune them to the diverse needs of clients will become vital in the present scenario. Data, for example, becomes so important when you talk of what works for the urban market and what ticks with the rural folk. Hence, the art of public relations has to rely closely on the importance of data.
The world has become visual. Hence the role of the video as a huge tool of communication. This is one aspect that PR professionals have to bear in mind. Live video is garnering millions of views on a platform like Facebook for instance. This has become one of the most dominant methods of corporate conversation.
The art of visual streaming and live video story telling has become integral to the whole process of marketing and public relations. While it is fun, it is also immediate and direct; conveying the message in all its three dimensions, as it were. PR pros cannot afford to ignore this form of communication.
One other avenue that PR professionals have to keep close to their heart as we progress is the identifying of influencers. Authentic voices and not just celebrities shall deliver results for brands. Finding genuine advocates who can connect with the target audience is the new mantra.
The social media is a huge reservoir of opportunities. But finding what suits your clients the best is a challenge that needs to be handled. A time has come when the practice of public relations has to be merged with the technicalities of search engine optimisation (SEO). Such is the relevance and power of the internet globally. Public relations have evolved from mere communications to being a marketing prop.
Considering all these aspects of communication in the present world of dynamic technology and changing trends, public relations professionals have to gear themselves for greater innovations and assimilate into their working styles and also thinking processes, a broader approach to the conduct of their art.