Vision 2020 – the future of PR

Happy 2020!

To kick off the new year and rev up for the Manitoba Communicator of the Year (MCOY) awards, we invited CPRS members and Manitoban PR practitioners to share their Visions for the Future of Public Relations.

We received an amazing response and here are some perspectives to gain the 20/20 vision –

Susan Harrison, President of CPRS Manitoba

“Technology has had such a huge impact on how we receive and consume information, and public relations is not immune to this. The amount of information available, the speed in which it travels, and the rise of dozens of niche news sources, all have a profound effect on our industry. As we move into 2020, I think it will be more important than ever that public relations are conducted ethically and authentically, and that we connect with our audiences to tell our stories and share our messages in the spaces they inhabit, exploring new opportunities for communicating beyond traditional methods.”

Correy Myco from ChangeMakers – An Argyle company

“The future of public relations looks very bright!

In my career of over 25 years (yes, I’m as old as dirt) I have never witnessed the C-Suite more aware of their organization’s reputation. Quality products and services are important of course, but the perceptions and emotions around their organizations matter more than ever. Technology (as eloquently pointed out by Susan Harrison) allows us to share our stories authentically with like minds and demands business leaders manage their brands closer. This increased value in reputation and brand builds a greater reliance on solid PR professionals. There is a lack of trust out there as people become more and more jaded by politics, big business and media. People are thirsty for organizations that reflect their values and beliefs.
I think it’s our job as PR folks to help decision-makers make better decisions based on genuine insight into their audience’s values.”

Correy took home the Crowning Achievement at last years’ Manitoba Communicator of the Year Awards for his solid reputation and immense knowledge in the industry.

Melanie Lee Lockhart, instructor of Public Relations and Communication Management at Red River College.

“As technology advances and AI becomes inherent to our practice, the root of successful PR – empathy – will be the PR profession’s job security.

The growing volume of expertly-disguised misinformation we consume every day, driven by AI insights, will create a more-important-than-ever need for professionals who push organizations to prioritize serving the public good through their actions and words, nurturing authentic relationships.

It’s the only way they’ll ultimately maintain trust… and it’s what we do. For ethical strategic PR professionals, the future is full of potential.”

Adam Dooley, President of Dooley PR & Marketing

“The role of corporate PR will grow in importance over the next decade even as it evolves and changes, growing further integrated with companies’ sales, service, marketing and communications functions. Earned media will become less of a focus. Shared, paid and owned media will become more important as they continue to reach and influence audiences more dependably.

Communications departments will need to increasingly become better and better storytellers through multiple mediums – text, photos, design, video, augmented reality, virtual reality. The next generation of corporate communications pros will be working in departments that are part newsroom, part movie studio, part digital factory. The best run companies will have communications leaders embedded in the C-suite to ensure a consistent and credible voice is tied closely to long-range strategy.

In an ever more tribal world, we believe brands will need to stand for something and PR pros will be instrumental in guiding and shaping that ‘something’. That means companies increasingly taking public positions on issues of political and social concern. With the continued shrinking of traditional media outlets, we hope that individual corporations will be expected to act and behave more ethically and truthfully or risk serious wrath of consumers. Unfortunately, we feel it’s just as likely the opposite will happen.

Bonus prediction: Artificial intelligence presents both a tremendous opportunity to do more with less, but may also lead to erosion of traditional communications roles, particularly those focused on writing. Robot Shakespeare is coming!”