It’s a scramble to survive the crushing weight of PR’s future, with futurist Ross Dawson believing while some agencies will kill it, many others will cark it.
“In reality I think there are a lot of PR forms that are not going to survive in a rapidly changing world because they’re relying on the skills of their past,” he told B&T.
“Yet I think we are very likely to see a smaller number of firms, both large, medium sized and small, that rapidly progress and develop and will thrive because all of the shifts in the environment.”
Dawson argued PR firms have enormous capabilities when it comes to utilising the older PR methods in today’s world, in an updated way, however “broadly speaking the PR industry has not seized that opportunity”.
Many PRs also lack the confidence in presenting their capabilities to clients, missing the ego gene present in much of Adland.
Dawson pinpoints the potential flowering of some firms who have, or are developing, skills in other marketing areas such as social and mobile.
“What is realistic is that quite a few PR firms in Australia today will not prosper or sometimes even survive, yet we will also see the better firms prosper better and grow faster from the agencies which are in the other marketing disciplines.
“This is because they’re going beyond the traditional PR media relations and crisis communications bandwidth and encompassing mobile and social and other broader offerings, to be able to essentially manage, broadly, customer engagement.”
That’s not to say a PR agency that does only PR can’t come out on top, however it could mean it’s more challenging.
And will the phrase ‘PR’ still be a thing in PR agencies?
“That’s one of the debates that we’re having!” noted Dawson. “Some of the world’s largest PR firms are taking ‘PR’ out of their names, because they are far broader than that.
“I think some agencies will rebrand themselves.”
We will still have use of the word ‘PR’ for a long time however, just many of the agencies today will go beyond just what we know of as ‘public relations’.