PR Trends Of The Last Decade
Public Relations landscape is constantly changing. The past decade was characterized with trends that enabled the profession to experience a radical departure from the norm.
Here are some trends the profession experienced in Nigeria in the last decade as put together by PRhub, a social media group for public relations professionals who have contributed immensely to the PR practice in Nigeria.
The Social Media ‘Tsunami’
The start of the last decade in 2010 heralded an explosion in the use of social media in what we now term – the social media ‘tsunami’.
The increasing need to connect gave rise to a number of social media platforms and the death of some prominent ones like ‘Blackberry’. Simply put, the last decade was the era of social media ‘tsunami’ with over a billion active users on Instagram only monthly. This figure is poised to increase in this decade as more people crave connectivity.
The social media tsunami also demystified the use of celebrity endorsement for brand promotion. The last decade saw the creation of many digital influencers who invariably have large followers on their social media handles and became instrumental in promoting brands from all sectors. Digital celebrities such as Broda Shaggi, Tahooma, Woli Arole, Pamilerin, Woli Agba, Josh 2 Funny etc gained prominence. They also became the go-to influencers in place of the established celebrities that brands used to engage for endorsement purposes prior to this time.
The Rise Of ‘Portfolio’ PR Firms
All told, last decade could also have been described as the SME decade. As millions left paid employment, either voluntarily or involuntarily, small businesses sprang up all over the country with each one eager to work with PR professionals and become known. These enterprises could not afford the services of full-fledged PR/Communications Agency creating a lacuna that private practitioners rose up rapidly to fill by floating ‘one-man PR Agencies. Today, we have Practitioners we call ‘portfolio practitioners’. These practitioners have no physical offices and little overhead, they are therefore agile, nimble and flexible in budgeting and activations to deliver results for their clients.
NB: These one-man firms are also SMEs.
Power Shift From Traditional Media Practitioners To Citizen Journalism
Before the advent of the social media, traditional media practitioners like journalists and media owners were predominantly the ones who wrote and thus shaped agenda the world over.
Today bloggers and other citizens are taking advantage of emerging technologies to write their opinions and publish on their blogs, social media pages and platforms. As their reach grew they starting gaining the privilege to wield power and influence. Sharing of information through live videos and pictures in real time emanated from this trend and has had significant impact on how fast information is disseminated.
Now, no one waits for 24 hours to get breaking news from traditional media anymore. Today, from any where in the world, if there is internet, anyone can break news. In fact, today, the traditional media now play catch up to citizen journalists, keeping taps on them for trend and breaking news.
However, the unprofessionalism of some citizen journalists is cause for concern. Some are creating a new menace by being purveyors of fake and unsubstantiated news.
The Prominence Of PRCAN-Gave The Industry TOMA
The works of PRCAN Executives starting from the pioneering president, Nn’Emeka Maduegbuna to Chido Nwakanma helped to reposition the profession within the last decade.
Their efforts enabled some key practitioners and agencies who previously saw each other as competitors, to appreciate the need to form alliance of PR practitioners. This umbrella is PRCAN and it continues to advocate for the use of only agencies registered with NIPR and PRCAN by government and private companies. This conversation is still ongoing although it is obvious a lot more still needs to be done.
Transparency In Crisis Management
The last decade witnessed some sort of transparency from the part of brands to their customers/clients. In reality, the openness was forced by the emergence of digital technologies.
Before the social media tsunami, brands could get away with murder, literally. The social media tsunami made it possible for customers to hold brands accountable. Customers/clients now demand that they be treated with respect. Firms are compelled to agree.
The immediacy of social media equally has other advantages. When there is crisis, brands are able to reach the customers quickly to tell their side of the story either through an apology or a rebuttal.
In addition, brands can manage their reputation better especially when it comes to online reputation management. They are exploit the direct connection with customers for good.
Look out for PR trends of the next decade – 2020 and beyond which will be published on Brandcom.ng