Seven Predictions for the Future of PR

10 02 2012

It’s usual to post predictions for the year ahead in the first week of January rather than well into the second month.  Convention also dictates that thoughts for the future should come in nice round batches of ten.

My main reason for not posting earlier in the year was that I was holding back my ‘Mystic Meg’ style musings on the direction of PR for the Insight Twelve event brought to you by those wonderful people at Don’t Panic. Now that’s a mere memory, I’m sharing them here.

There’s no science behind the number seven.  That’s all I could muster, there are also no guarantees attached but the insights fall into three categories: no brainers, highly probable and debatable.  The last of these doesn’t indicate that I’m not convinced, more that others disagree.   You decide which is which.

1. Social Media will vanish

Strictly speaking I mean the description rather than the ‘thing’ itself.  The notion that social media marketing or PR exists in isolation of other channels will quickly disappear.  So called mainstream media is becoming more socialised, so I see the distinction evaporating and we’ll talk about media again not social or conventional.

2.  The link between PR & Search will become more significant

The top results on Google are the most important single influence on the reputation of any organisation or individual.  Search engines are also in a constant battle to promote natural search elevating real news and information. That’s where the enlightened and educated PR person comes in.

3.   The dymamics of the journalist and PR relationship will alter

This isn’t my prediction is was made by the hugely insightful journalist and blogger, Tom Foremski.  He has said “PR people … are pitching stories to journalists who have very much smaller pageviews on the stories they write, and far smaller Twitter/Facebook communities to which to distribute their stories, than the PR people.”  He also saw this trend over two-years ago.  Read his full post here.

4.   The decline in print and in newspapers will accelerate

No-one could have predicted the closure of the UK’s biggest selling newspaper in 2011.  It was prompted by scandal but owners NewsCorp know that they have to reduce their exposure to print. Circulation, pagination and title numbers will all fall in 2012.

5.   Video content will become more evident in PR campaigns

The growth in video consumption is astronomical. Apple TV will demolish the wall between web TV and current broadcast platforms.  Cost of production is in free fall.  You do the math.

6.    The definition of PR will change to reflect the reality

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is leading a global campaign to modernize the definition of public relations. It is addressing the prevailing confusion about public relations’ role and value and it is doing so in an open and engaging way.

7.    The reality of PR will change to reflect the impact of social channels on reputation

At the Think 11 conference last May, Colin Byrne, CEO UK and Europe, Weber Shandwick and Robert Phillips, CEO (EMEA), Edelman, both identified that the practice of PR was changing and that reputation was now built on action not spin.  We would do well to heed the brightest leaders in our profession.

10 other reasons for ‘The News of the World’ closure

12 07 2011

Although the hacking scandal was the catalyst for the closure of the News of the World, it was far from the only reason.  Here are 10 other factors that probably played a part in the News Corporation decision to the stop the presses.

1. They had been planning a 7 day a week tabloid anyway and The Sun is a more powerful brand than The News of The World.  A managing editor for the 7 day combined paper was already in place before the scandal broke.

2. To reduce claims about competition and help the BSkyB bid.  Even just a week ago the most likely barrier to the bid for full control of BSkyB was one of media plurality.  By ditching a huge circulation title they provided a counter to the claim that they controlled too much of the UK news media.

3. Money The title paid half a million in compensation and costs in the Max Moseley case.  There have also been a series of out of court payments over hacking and other matters in recent months and there’s little doubt these were escalating.  Perhaps there was a fear that the paper despite its circulation would make ever-increasing losses.

4. News Corporation is a global concern and its global reputation is more important than the fortunes of one British newspaper.

5. To deflect attention from the embattled Chief Executive on News International, Rebekah Brooks. It may have been a motive but it didn’t work.

6. Showing muscle. Murdoch is ruthless and wanted to seize the agenda and demonstrate that he was in control.  It showed they were capable of changing the game.

7. It was no longer the UK’s biggest selling newspaper. It’s circulation had fallen below 3 million and for the first time in decades The Sun was on average outselling the NOTW.

8. To protect friends in high places Andy Coulson’s associations with convicted criminals was already on record.  Further discussion would be uncomfortable for the prime minister and the Murdochs.

9. It’s over for newspapers.  An exaggeration maybe but consolidation of UK newspapers was long overdue.  Media experts have been predicting that titles will go for years.  News Corporation is a bigger company.

10. They know there were far worse transgressions and the brand was toxic. Now we know that too.

Top 10 Web Wonders of the 2000s

18 01 2010


The Final List

  1.  Apps for iPod
  2.  Facebook
  3.  Twitter
  4.  Spotify
  5.  YouTube
  6.  Wikipedia
  7.  Flickr
  8.  MySpace
  9.  Digg
  10. WordPress

Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #1

18 01 2010

This blog’s number one web wonder of the decade isn’t Facebook or Twitter, it isn’t even a web site in its own right but it is changing the way we communicate, shop, find our way around and engage on-line. 

The next decade will be all about mobile and the iPhone will no longer corner the market. In fact users of the Nexus One ‘Google phone’ are already hailing it as a better device within days of the launch but for now the future is already here and it is being powered by iPhone apps.

Number 1: Apps for iPhone

The iPhone app store (as it is better known) is the place to go to turn your iPhone or iPod touch into anything from a classic drum machine to a fully featured GPS system.  You can manage your money, decide what to eat (in or out) communicate through social networks and even calculate your gas bill.  As the marketing says, there are “apps for everything”.  In a sense you could say that the app store is number one in the poll because it gives you access to all the top ten via your phone.     

You can drink a virtual pint of beer, plan and monitor a diet programme, have your tweets read out by your phone or even update your blog straight from the mobile.  Many of the apps are entirely free with most of the others priced in pence rather than pounds (or cents/dollars if you prefer).  These micro payments are the most likely way forward for web media to monetize its content.   Get set for the top ten apps of the teenies.

Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #2

13 01 2010

It may be the number one social network on the planet and the second most visited site after Google but it misses the number one spot on our list of web wonders from the last decade.

Number 2: Facebook

Facebook  currently has more than 350 million active users worldwide.  It is probably also the world’s most valuable web property.  Eighteen months ago BusinessWeek valued the business between $3.75 billion and $5 billion  based on reported that private sales of stock and purchases by venture capital firms.  Despite all of this it wasn’t until September last year that Facebook enjoyed a positive cash flow.

When it was launched in 2004, access was initially limited to students in the US and the public roll out wasn’t until 2006, and it would take another year for Facebook to roll out globally.  The ubiquity of the most powerful of social networks has been achieved in little more than three years.  While the growth of twitter seems to have stalled of late Facebook use keeps on climbing.   According to data from Nielsen this month for the third month in succession Facebook has seen an increase in the number of U.S. users and the amount of time spent on site whilst Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and even Google all witnessed a decline in users during November.

Facebook has become so ingrained in our culture that the very name has evolved into use as a verb; “I’ll facebook you later”.  So if Facebook is the world’s number two website and the number one, Google is ineligible for this top ten list (because it launched in the 1990s), the what could be the number one web wonder of the decade?  Stay tuned.

Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #4

6 01 2010

As we hurtle towards the top spot on the list of web wonders of the decade the contenders have all been genuine game changers for the way that we work, rest and play.

Number 4: Spotify

Just now and then a piece of technology brings with it a genuine bacon sandwich dropping moment, an experience that messes with the laws of nature.  I remember one such revelation the first time I paused live TV (with TiVo).   Spotify provided another.  I was able to call up music that I didn’t own, for free, add it to a playlist (of other tunes that I hadn’t bought)  in a player that looked and felt great to use. What’s more I could listen to it whenever I wanted.  Legally.  The highs just got higher when the premium phone version was launched a few months ago.

For those still uninitiated, and the service has only been around for a year, Spotify is a music streaming service that allows immediate access to instant listening to tracks or albums that you call up.  Music can be browsed by artist, album or record label.  It is currently only available in a handful of European countries but for users it changes the way the listen to (and pay for music).  If you want to own the track you can still buy it directly from the player.

As well as being a peer-to-peer based streaming service users can also share playlists with other users.  If you fancy it check the playlist for this blog via the link in the top menu bar.

Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #6

4 01 2010

Number 6: Wikipedia

Launched in 2001 Wikipedia only just makes the list of web wonders of the ‘Noughties’.  It will celebrate its ninth birthday in just eleven days time.  However in a period spanning less than a decade Wikipedia has fundamentally transformed how we access (and share) knowledge.  

Before this crowd sourced encyclopaedia became available, the gold standard for a comprehensive compendium of human knowledge was the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  It was first published over two hundred years ago and is currently in its fifteenth edition.  That works out as a new edition just about every thirteen years on average.  Wikipedia on the other hand is in state on constant revision.

The user-generated encyclopaedia has become in the words of co-founder Jimmy Wales “part of the infrastructure of the internet” and it is the world’s fifth most popular website.  There are over 3 million entries in English alone, just one (albeit the largest) of the 272 language versions.  

Wikipedia is Web 2.0 to the core.  All of its article are written collaboratively by volunteers around the world and almost can be edited by anyone so long as they have registered to have access to the site.  It has redefined how we collaborate and how we share knowledge.  It is also the only top ten web site that is run as a non-profit organisation.  The model is however under pressure. Giving all users irrespective of credentials or expertise equal rights to publish and edit may not be an optimum way of sharing knowledge.  However to subject changes proposed by newcomers to approval by more experienced editors (an innovation already adopted in the German version) may strike at the core principles of the project.  The debate goes on.

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