Public relations has gone through numerous evolutions in the past few decades. The influence of the changing social culture, emergence of internet and changes in technology have brought in significant alterations in the way a public relation campaign is executed or should be executed now.
Here are some major trends that has contributed to the changes in public relations.
In the age of social media, even socially conscious public relation campaigns can backfire badly. The polarized time we live in can charge up debates and trolls at the slightest mention of humor or sentimental issues.
As much as it is important for brands to stay aware of the surrounding social climate, it is important to create campaigns that will not be damaging to the brand’s ethical value.
For Example the recent advertisement of Kalyan Jewellers starring Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter Shweta Bachchan caused great displeasure among the banking professionals of India. The ad showed Mr. Bachchan as a retired senior citizen who was mistreated by every bank official and later was even proposed of corruption by a bank employee which he politely declined. This campaign focusing on ‘honesty and dignity’ by Kalyan Jewellers backfired badly. They later had to withdraw the ad and also issue an apology letter to the banking professionals of the nation.
Another example would be of Pepsi starring Kendall Jenner. The ad somehow tried to highlight the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement but ended up getting backlash from the activists and critics. Pepsi eventually had to withdraw the ad and issue an apology for the same.
The recent ad by Dabur Red Toothpaste during the India-Bangladesh World Cup match also invited trouble for the brand. The illogical mention of ‘Til Er Naru’ as an exclusive product from Bangladesh and the absurd inclusion of Tagore’s poem in the ad made the Bengalis all over the world trend #BoycottDabur in social media. Dabur also took down the ad and released an apology for the same.
In the digital age, ads and campaigns reach people with the speed of wildfire and in the same speed they accept or reject a campaign. Public relation professionals should bear in mind that despite carrying a credible message, good intention and a reputed face, campaigns can fail just because of poor execution and lesser relativity of the brand with the original message.
The difference between marketing and public relations is getting blurred with each passing day. However, having a good marketing strategy or marketing team in place doesn’t guarantee good public relations strategy in place.
Public relation deals with how third parties react to a brand campaign. These third parties include customers, reviewers, social media feedback, bloggers and journalists. Any kind of PR action completely depend on the reactions of these people. All marketing teams, in case of crisis, might not be adept enough to deal with it.
Responding to people and press appropriately and manage any kind of brand crisis is the task of the public relations and that remains to be an irreplaceable function of the same.
In today’s world it is important that PR and Marketing strategies work together in a coordinated and cohesive manner. That ensures greater strategic success from campaigns.
Paid news and fake news have made media outlets less reliable for a lot of people. The earlier trend was to read what a credible media outlet like TOI or Telegraph were writing about a matter. The current trend is to see what trends on twitter.
In short, individual feedback and discussions on social media are as important as the reviews of media outlets.
The age is of going ‘viral’ and ‘trending’. One must design a campaign that would give leverage to a brand on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Because now ‘Trending’ news is as important as ‘Breaking’ news.
AI is gradually becoming an inseparable aspect of every business model. Public relations is no exception to the AI rage.
Artificial Intelligence is mostly used to predict the viability or the percentage of success with regards to a project. In case of public relations, AI will be used in future to predict reactions of people to different PR actions.
Based on the current available data, the data scientists will be able to anticipate the success rate of a campaign. Also the automated customer services will be able to influence customer satisfaction and their responses to brands to a great level.
Earlier press releases were the primary tool for public relations. However, in the digital world with the advent of YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, content creation for public relation has become more important.
An android phone with a camera in every pocket has made the visual media the most accessible communication platform.
And that has influenced deeply the strategies of public relations too. Images and videos are essential for any campaign now.
iLEAD understands the changing parameters of the profession and has a modern approach towards the academics of the students. We conduct B.Sc and M.Sc in Media Science courses for the students who aspire to become media professionals. An M.Sc in Media Science course also has Public Relations as one of the specializations for the students. The curriculum for PR specialization includes Research on Copywriting and Visualization Strategies, Marketing Fundamentals and Corporate Communications, Consumer Behaviour and Brand Management, Comprehensive Multimedia Ad Campaign, Publicity for an event, Preparing press kit, Organizing a press conference and more. If you are someone who aspire to enter the PR profession, our practice based, industry oriented, following the principle of ‘earn while you learn’ course will prepare you for the converged media environment ahead.