Amith Prabhu: The next phase in the evolution of Public Relations

05 Aug,2013

By Amith Prabhu


Public Relations over the years has moved on to embrace several concepts. Newer practices and departments have emerged with the onset of a digital revolution. But more importantly a set of trends have begun to gain momentum that will change the way we look at Public Relations as a discipline. Five of those are mentioned below. One can read a lot about these in various media outlets. Hence I’m just highlighting what I see as the future:


The rise of Tablets – India’s tablet PC market is expected to grow at 40 percent to 7.3 million units in 2015-16 from 0.95 million in 2011-12. This is a small number but this is an influential set of the population  who will define consumption patterns.


The emphasis on Research and Analytics – In a date driven world a lot of credibility will depend on how well numbers are crunched and information is analysed to make it relevant to the product or media consumer. Research will play a major role in planning, executing and measuring programmes in order to achieve a return on objective.


The focus on Storytelling – PR, at times is about telling stories that build reputation but until a couple of years ago no one looked at it that way. The rise of social media where peers exchange stories about people, events, places and brands has led to a great focus on Storytelling.


The importance of Visuals – These can be in the form of photo captions, infographics and listicles and will require in-house graphic designers or knowledge of basic design software to churn them out. Videos will play a big role in making visuals a mainstay of Public Relations.


The blurring lines between Paid, Owned and Earned Media – This has been happening for a while and we are seeing it ever so often. Ad agencies are trying to work with Editorial departments, PR firms are building digital properties and digital firm are buying media inventory that earlier was the prerogative of media buying companies leading to multiple overlaps.


The above trends will change the way clients plan budgets and pay retainer fees. The traditional role of PR professional of being a media relations maven will cease to exist as media outlets downsize and the print industry shrinks. The super specialist and multi-tasking champ will flourish.


Amith Prabhu is the founder of The PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS – the annual summit for PR & Corp Comm professionals in India. During the day he is a full time employee at a leading Public Relations firm in their Chicago office. He spent the first eight years of his post graduation career in India and is in the US for two years of which he has completed 18 months. Views expressed here are the author’s own and don’t represent those of his past, present, future employer or of MxMIndia. You can connect with him on Twitter @amithpr


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