As PR Profession Changes, Stories, Values and Ethics Still Matter
By Ira Gostin, MBA, APR
Regardless of your specialty, the practice of public relations is changing. In the 1980s, it took seven impressions for a brand to solidify itself in the mind of a consumer, according to some estimates. Print and television advertising, outdoor billboards and public relations all helped make those impressions on consumers.
Now, scholars estimate that members of Generation Alpha, the age group currently in middle school, are bombarded with nearly 5,000 brand impressions every day.
According to a November 2022 survey by Pew Research Center, 30% of social media users had purchased a product after seeing an influencer or content creator post something about that product on social media. The share rose to 50% for women ages 18 to 29.
With so much competition for people’s attention, how can PR professionals help their clients’ brands stand out? Whether working for a consumer brand or a business-to-business brand, communicators still have powerful tools at their disposal.
Tell a good story
Persuading audiences through storytelling has become more important than ever. A well-crafted story that resonates in the mind of the consumer and creates positive feelings will contribute to buying decisions.
Learn to use video
To embed on brand websites or post on social media such as YouTube and TikTok, video has become a necessary skill for professional communicators. Team members must know how to shoot and edit video that coveys compelling messages.
According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, 58% of survey respondents buy or advocate for brands based on mutual beliefs and values while 64% invest in company stocks based on beliefs and values, the research found. The numbers go higher for millennials and members of Generation Z and Alpha.
To communicate with any target market, tell them a story about your company’s values.
Be authentic and ethical
The PR profession will have to work hard to understand ongoing changes in how audiences prefer to access information. Along the way, companies must be authentic and ethical. Often, it’s up to communicators to guide them. Ethics and authenticity will be crucial for communications agencies and in-house departments.