The PR landscape is shifting: change before you're forced to
Here are the major trends we've seen develop in the changing relationship between company and consumer. Pay heed or risk oblivion.
This article is an excerpt from pr.co’s book Purpose: First Principles of Effective PR. This is the first chapter in a series of 12 articles.
The world we live in is growing louder every day. There are more people, media outlets and marketing messages than ever before. Communication crosses the globe effortlessly at a speed unrivalled in human history. This digital reality, in which we’re barraged with information every second of the day, has made our attention spans shorter and most forms of communication a lot louder. A new breed of communication and PR is needed. One that has enough substance to make your message last and stand out over time. One that transcends the perception of ‘spin doctoring’ and allows PR pros to fulfil their crucial role in raising public awareness and goodwill.
Consumers have ever-shortening attention spans, ever-increasing expectations of the quality of products and services, and the option to truly engage with and respond to corporate communication. Mediocrity no longer receives attention; mistakes are punished and rarely forgotten. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to communicate effectively. We’ve seen 5 major trends develop in the changing relationship between company and consumer that we think are important to keep in mind.
People demand transparency
Customers are demanding open and honest communication about products and services. They will simply stop paying attention if things are fuzzy or unclear. It’s key to define and communicate the purpose of your company. If your message is not consistent and clear – or worse, dishonest – your customers will start looking for alternatives.
People care about your purpose
Even if your competitors can create an instant copy of your product in this 24/7 digitised economy, they can’t copy the culture and purpose of your company. That’s why it’s crucial to sell the broader idea behind the brand and the impact of your product. Whether it’s a practical matter, such as ecological footprints, or the way your company views its place in society – it all matters. And your customers deserve to know.
People want a better experience
People are getting used to richer content. The threshold of what’s interesting has been upped to include multimedia. Designers and writers embellish flat text with images, videos, graphs and infographics to accommodate shortening attention spans. And viral campaigns thrive on shareability, which in turn thrives on rich and interesting content. If you don’t provide an interesting experience, there’s a good chance you’ll be ignored.
Everything can be measured
Tracking audience behaviour has become easier, and the possibilities have become more and more extensive. These days there’s no shortage of tracking tools, site analytics, custom notifications and ways to collect data. PR professionals today need to be on top of things and use every tool available to help drive engagement.
People respond to relevant content
Because we are constantly bombarded with information, people will often only react to content that’s specific to the context in which they see it. Different types of media lend themselves to different types of messages. The relevance of your message changes along with device capabilities, referral channels, time of day, the location of the reader and how well your audience knows you. Sending out personalised and context-specific messages can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of your communication, and it's become a lot easier in this quantifiable world.
The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.Bill Clinton
Change before you’re forced to
One thing we know for sure is that the world will continue to change. We believe companies that adhere to these principles are the ones that get noticed and have a real impact on their business. These are the companies that love the changing circumstances because they thrive in them. Being able to succeed where others fail gives them a clear competitive advantage
Next article in this series: The old way: dark patterns of aimless PR
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