Part two in a series on the state of the PR industry
In my last post I mentioned that USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism had released their seventh bi-annual Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP VII) study.
While the PR/Comm industry is alive and well, it is also changing. PR/Communications is about so much more than writing press releases or creating TV ads for consumers. There are new responsibilities that the industry is challenged with overseeing, such as social media monitoring, search engine optimization, internal communications with employees and corporate reputation to name just a few.
As the chart shows, two areas that have seen the largest increases in PR/Comm core responsibility are social media participation (+13%) and monitoring (+17%); interestingly, there has also been a corresponding decrease in responsibility in marketing/product PR (-11%).
Clearly there has been a shift in thinking about how to talk to consumers, with the drop in marketing and the rise in social media participation and monitoring. Companies seem to be moving away from “one way” marketing to two-way communication with their customers.
As Jerry Swerling, the director of the study put it, “social media’s role as a two-way relationship-building tool rather than a one-way sales tool would seem to put it squarely in PR’s wheelhouse. If integration is a good thing, and social media (under the leadership of PR/Communications) can help drive it, we begin to see a new model: the highly engaged, social organization with communication at its center.” [emphasis added]
However, it’s also interesting to note the increase in responsibility for internal communications as well.
Employees are the best brand ambassadors a corporation has. There is a broader awareness of company reputation now than any time in the past, and the wise PR/Comm professional will spend just as much time and energy on fellow employees, as on trying to gain new customers.
In today’s culture, communications—particularly open, transparent, two-way communications is key. C-Suite values PR/Communications more than ever and core responsibilities are increasing. Corporations seem to be moving to a model that has communications at the epicenter of its business decisions. Are you ready for it?!
What are your thoughts? Have you seen these shifts in responsibility in your industry? Or do you have a different experience?
In part three we’ll discuss the measurement and evaluation of these new activities for which you are now responsible.
For further reading:
PR industry alive and well—but changing (Part One)
GAP VII: Seventh Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices Study (USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism)
Communication-driven management consulting: Changing the stakes (Council of Public Relations Firms)
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