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What are the PR trends in 2018?

Dear PR Matters,

I do account work for a PR agency, and enjoy reading your column because I am able to pick up many ideas which I can apply when I deal with my clients and occasionally, with media.

I will find it very helpful if you could share with us what trends will be emerging in public relations this year. This will help in working with both our clients and our creative staff.

Thank you and I will appreciate this very much.


Angela R.

Dear Angela,

First of all, my International Public Relations Association colleagues and I would like to thank you for your kind words about our column. We are happy that we are able to help you in your line of work.

We also appreciate your desire to know more about what's new in PR, because it shows that you constantly want to improve yourself and your work. And that is essential as we journey on to achieve our goals.

In an article in, Steve Goldstein shares with us '4 key PR trends to watch in 2018,' which he says he came up with over a couple of Cobb salads with Katie Creaser, SVP at Affect agency.

Here are four trends Goldstein and Creaser say that will have the greatest impact on PR practitioners this year:

Brand reputation will have even more currency in 2018

'Your brand's reputation is its most valuable asset,' Creaser says. 'You have to build your brand's reputation now so people know they can trust you when a crisis hits.'

She recommends that communicators focus on what they have control over. This means building and enhancing your brand, letting your story be known during the good times. Likewise, it's also 'making a move to owned channels, including your online newsroom, blog, social-media accounts and your web site.'

That's because when a crisis hits, 'so much will be out of your hands, and you can continue to lose control over the narrative in the crisis. '

Working on your brand reputation is like saving money in the bank or investing in solid assets. When the hard times and challenges come, you can draw from these accounts.

Brands are going to feel more of an urge to express socially good messages-and giving in to that urge is not always a good thing

'We live in a polarizing time,' Goldstein says. We find daily 'nearly anonymous ranting on social channels, and the negativity has filtered into all spheres of activity.'

With all good intentions, 'we've seen brands try to counter that negativity with what they hoped would be perceived as positive messages. Sometimes it works, very often it doesn't.'

That's because at a time when authenticity is key, consumers are getting more savvy about 'rejecting hokey messages about peace, love and understanding from brands; they also get more gleeful about taking down these brands on Twitter and Facebook.'

'In 2018 brands are going to have to be very careful about sending out inauthentic, socially good messages,' Creaser says. 'Sometimes you just need to sell the sugary beverage or the eye shadow and leave it as that.' In short, when unsure about the way people will accept your socially good messages, it's best to just be straightforward about it. This is, after all, a time of authenticity.

Pure media-relations tactics won't work anymore

Media pros will have to be more creative in 2018 to get their brand stories told, Goldstein says. 'Brands have to find new ways to support journalists,' Creaser adds. This means PR pros have to be more innovative with their content, and collaborate with media to come up with more interesting stories. At times, they can mount events that will make things more exciting.

That's because the landscape of journalism is changing, and while this is challenging, this presents an opportunity for PR pros. They can create more impact through branded and sponsored content.

'Relying 100 percent on earned media no longer works,' Creaser says. 'The model should be to support paid and owned media with earned media.

Ad agencies will push even harder to take earned media away from PR

This is a real challenge as ad and digital agencies will work to gain earned media on social platforms and through press coverage. 'Fight for your piece of the pie,' Creaser says. 'Don't let the ad agencies take it away from you.'
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 7, 2018
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