The Future of Public Relations Measurement
PR Stars of the Future
by Katie Delahaye Paine
I had a great lunch with Tom Nicholson, Executive Director of the Arthur W Page Society, recently and, like most people these days, we talked about change. Change in the political environment, change in the communications environment, and change in the PR profession.
Tom speculates that, in another decade, the job of PR within the corporate environment will either be seen as more important than legal, finance and facilities combined, or else it will be as irrelevant as one of my old jobs now is: making sure the 35 mm slides showed up on time for the Sales Meeting presentations. (Yes, I'm old enough to have actually produced 35 mm slide presentations!)
He's right. I think that, ten years from now, many people currently occupying the office of Public Affairs, Public Relations, and/or Media Relations will find the new world order just too weird, too strange and too out of control. For those people -- who grew up thinking they could control the message, manage the media, and spin their way out of a crisis -- this new environment will ultimately be overwhelming, and they'll retire to their eBay businesses, their consultancies, or their organic goat farms.
For the others, adapting will be a rough but ultimately healthy transition, involving a lot of confrontations and personal emotional battles. For still others, they will be (and are right now) growing up amidst the new world order, and they might not notice the transition. (Or, they will be dealing with their own transitions that we can't yet predict.)
At any rate, the public relations environment of a decade from now will require talents and personality traits somewhat different from today. Here are six characteristics of the PR Stars of the Future:
know that it
is all about relationships.
A PR person who approaches the market from a relationships standpoint will win. They'll understand that the market is a conversation, and that building and maintaining healthy relationships is the foundation of any strategy.
based on data, not gut feelings.
Yes the gut will still be a powerful tool, but in an environment that morphs faster than you can say "Utterli, Seesmic, Plurk, and Twittergrader," the gut will be a very difficult thing to read and rely upon.
3. They'll listen
first, listen more, and listen more carefully than
did any of their predecessors.
They'll constantly keep an ear to the ground, listening to every whisper of what the customers, media, influencers, analysts, employees, neighbors, and community are saying. They spend at least as much on listening as they do on shouting.
design programs, strategies, and messages around the needs
and perceptions of the target audience.
Not around the product features, or the whims of a boss.
5. They'll value
truth and transparency above all; there will be
no secrets in this new era.
Anyone can fact check anything and probably will.
6. They'll stand
up for their ethics and values.
If asked to lie, to obfuscate, or to conceal, the successful PR person of the future will quit.
I realize I am not the first to write on this topic, read John Bell at the Digital Influence Mapping Project. I'm curious to know if you have other traits that should be on this list… Please feel free to email them to us.