How Public Relations is Evolving
“Good PR changes hearts and minds, but great PR changes behavior. We also believe it’s measured by behavior. It motivates. It makes us feel. It makes us think. It empowers. It educates. It inspires. It entertains. It changes our expectations. It changes what we feel and believe. When done right, it has the power to change society and even the human condition.”
-Brian easter, co-founder of Nebo agency
The definition of Public Relations, or PR, is “the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.” PR covers a wide range of disciplines, from consumer relations to influencer marketing to corporate social responsibility. Essentially, PR is the deliberate spread of information. It’s a tool to tell a story, build a relationship with the public, and influence the public’s perspective.
Public Relations Today
Today, the public has more access to information than ever before - creating a more informed, curious audience. Even if you tried, avoiding any sort of media is nearly impossible in the digital world. People no longer have to wait on pigeon carriers or telegraphs to hear the latest trends and, as media platforms have evolved, so has their influence.
Nebo, a human-centered public relations agency has “seen how the media landscape has evolved over the years - how it has moved away from print media and more towards digital. In more recent years, new mediums and vehicles for storytelling have emerged outside of solely traditional channels - creating an exciting time to work in PR and tell stories in innovative ways.”
More and more industries are using content marketing to highlight the honest, human side of their industry as an effective public relations strategy.
The Challenges Public Relations Faces
While this evolution is exciting, people must proceed with caution. Brian Easter, Co-Founder of Nebo Agency says, “There’s a growing distrust among consumers with brands - there are too many options out there, and there’s too much noise. Our society is constantly connected and consistently on information overload. With this in mind, transparency and authenticity are becoming increasingly important. It’s what consumers crave.”
Trust & Authenticity
Cambridge Analytica - the firm best known for stealing Facebook’s user data for political campaigns in 2016 - wasn’t the first company to betray the public’s trust. With the hyper sensitivity to “fake news,” consumers expect companies to be honest from the beginning. If they’re not, it’s only a matter of time until consumers discover the deception. Sorry, Volkswagon.
“There’s been a major shift with consumers wanting to support brands they actually trust and believe in. And this translates towards a need for transparent and authentic communication with public relations efforts,” says Brian.
This need for authenticity is especially prevalent in rising generations like Generation Z, also known as the generation of microinfluencers. Instead of pledging their loyalty to a brand, Gen Z prefers transparent brands with authentic people telling real stories in advertisements.
When it comes to optimizing public relations tactics, influencers have taken over. Influencers are a valuable resource to reach target audiences - but only when used correctly. It takes a specific kind of person to be a PR professional.
The chaos of misinformation
Today, everyone thinks they are a journalist or reporter. Even though phones enable every average joe to submit video footage to media outlets or social platforms in real-time, it’s become incredibly hard to find the truth. As the spread of information and code of ethics changes, PR must evolve in order to thrive. That is why PR agencies and experts are imperative - the PR profession uses a strategic communication process, both meticulous and purposeful when relaying information.
“In recent years, the line has become blurred when it comes to PR, influencer outreach, content marketing, social media marketing and paid media. In looking towards the future, it’s likely we will see even more of a convergence of services as well as clients leaning towards multi-service agencies and more traditional agencies becoming integrated,” says Brian.
Looking into the Future of PR
“While the tactics and vehicles for PR communication may continue to change, consumer trust in reliable third-party sources will remain important. Consumers often turn to third-party sources for news, information, advice and recommendations and hold a higher level of trust in these sources than a paid advertisement or singular user review. PR has evolved and will continue to change, but it’s a practice that will endure.”
Read more in Nebo’s blog, Reinventing Public Relations.
Thank you to our partner, Nebo Agency, for their perspective and valuable insights. Nebo is a public relations agency that believes that trust and attention are the most valuable resources in our ad-saturated world.
To learn more about how Nebo can assist your Public Relations needs, click here.