By Alex Altman
We’re only two months into 2017 and already we’re living in a drastically different PR world than a year ago. The media is under siege. New technologies are transcending the way people consume information. And social media is a volcano primed to erupt the very moment a brand or public figure does or says anything even remotely controversial.
A reasonable argument can be made that the need for PR has never been greater. With that in mind, here are a few of the trends that will come to define 2017.
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has not hidden his contempt for the media. Whether or not his criticism is valid, it’s clear his
sentiments have reverberated with the public. According to a new poll, 53 percent of Americans say the media is untruthful, while just 39 percent find it to be honest.
The shocking level of suspiciousness toward the media, combined with President Trump’s continued hostility, will prompt many PR experts to bypass the media and use alternative channels like social media to disseminate their clients’ messages.
Direct to Consumer
The erosion of trust in the media, as well as a desire to control the narrative, has led PR experts to seek new ways to connect with consumers. While social media has more or less afforded them that opportunity in recent years, it’s always left something to be desired. Until now.
Facebook’s new streaming service, Live, enables anyone with a mobile device to broadcast live video to anyone in the world whenever they desire. In the words of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it’s “like having a TV camera in your pocket.” This is a potential game-changer in the PR industry, and it’s likely you’ll see more businesses take advantage of it.
It’s hard to recall a time when reputations have been so fragile. Too sensitive. Too outspoken. Too politically correct. Not PC enough. Companies from Under Armour to Nordstrom are being crucified every week for taking stands (even if they really aren’t stands) that offend a segment of the population (AKA everything).
The increasingly-difficult job of PR experts will be to help their clients toe the line between conscientious and controversial. With an increasing number of consumers supporting brands that share their social values, this will require more tact and nuance than some in the business may be used to exercising.