Houston…We have a PR problem

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Traditional media will soon relinquish its role as the primary source of our input about the world.  Why because there are more people telling us they are wrong or misinformed.  Literally anyone can provide their ideas on what they are seeing and what is happening. With this type of transparency, the future of Public Relations will need more and  more specialists and filters.  Public Relations will join hands in a ceremonial marriage with Customer Service, that ends with “till death do us part.”  Their departments within companies will work on the same floor and be very difficult to distinguish the difference between them.  This collaborated department will handle all the complaints, and there will be a lot of them.

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What does your community do?

You join groups in your everyday life whether you notice it or not.  You hang with friends that have similar interests of yours and find yourself joining communities quite frequently.  You assimilate with people that are like you.  When you do this, you have actually congregated in a community, but we just rarely call it that.  Public Relations will find your community and Public Relations agencies will represent you for their marketing strategy.  These agencies will work diligently to represent your community and find out what your community is looking for.  For example Public Relations agencies will no longer look at people who wear Nike sneakers but will look at communities such as runners who come together determine the design new products.  PR agents will be like the Drew Rosenhaus of sports.  They will gobble up the most marketable talent (community), and bid their new product ideas to large companies.  Doing so will require PR agents to have a greater legal knowledge than ever before.  On part Agent, one part legal counsel.

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A New Kind of Press Release

Another prediction I have about the future of PR has to do with press releases. Currently, press releases are sent to news organizations, and that’s how the press is alerted of newsworthy events.

            My prediction for the future is that press releases won’t be sent to news organizations. They will instead be posted either on their websites or through social media websites like Twitter. This will make it easier for news organizations to pick up stories faster because they won’t have to wait for a press release to be sent to them. Instead of a company inviting specific news organizations to their events, it will be on Twitter so there will be a greater range of news organizations that pick up the story.

The way stories are released these days is changing. Lots of people get breaking news from Twitter. There’s even a Twitter account for breaking news. If Twitter is going to be the place where stories break first, press releases should be included. They need to change with the times to stay modern. This will probably mean making them shorter too. You only have 140 characters to use, so you can either make the message shorter or have a link to a longer press release.

 

This means more exposure for companies and more hits on their website. There will still be the option of sending a press release to just one or a few news organizations if it’s a topic that the company doesn’t want everyone knowing about.

A Picture Speaks 1,000 Words

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PR is mainly face-to-face, writing, and speaking.  My prediction for the future is that there will be far less of that and pictures will start to take over PR.  Pictures are the eye catchers and they are what, most of the time, get people interested in the story.  So why not have the pictures be the stories?

Today we have instagram, tumblr, and other mediums for solely pictures.  It makes sense that in the future these things will be used as a form of news and PR.  It would be like taking a huge event like the Boston Marathon bombing and seeing just the pictures from that. The images would speak for themselves.

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This form of PR would take far less thinking and creating and you could also get creative with it.  The photographer would become the PR agent because how he or she takes the picture will put a spin on the opinion people will form about it. There will be new techniques developed to put a spin on the stories such as color, angle, size, and content.

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The Key Is Collaboration

Right now, every company is watching out for themselves and only themselves. They advertise with their product in mind and try to get as many sales as they can of their own products. But I believe that the future will be about collaboration. Businesses will not only look out for themselves, but also the companies they are collaborating with.

You might be thinking, “Well won’t that potentially hurt business?” No. No two companies that are in direct competition with one another will collaborate. The true reason behind this collaboration is for better advertising possibilities. Companies such as Dove chocolate, Silk Soymilk, and American Eagle could all advertise with one another because they can be related in a way that is unusual, but makes sense.

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For example, an advertisement with the previous three companies might have a woman sitting on the couch with a comfy American Eagle hoodie on while she is eating Dove chocolate and reaching for a glass of Silk soy milk. They are all working together in the advertisement, but none of the products are stealing any business from the other. This is especially good because each company will save money when they advertise with others. If there are three products being advertised in one commercial, they can split the cost three ways and save a bunch of money. That money can be used for other advertisements as a product alone, or they can collaborate on more advertisements and reach more people that may not have seen the other ad.

Another way that companies could collaborate is with the actual product. Using the three companies previously talked about, I will give you a couple examples of what I mean. One way companies could collaborate on advertising is if Dove chocolates put the Silk logo on the insides of their wrappers. Another way would be for American Eagle to give out Dove chocolates as people walked into their store. These types of collaboration would get non-competitive product names out to people that may not normally be their target market.

One last way that this type of collaboration could be helpful is if someone is really fond of Silk soy milk. If someone sees Dove’s logo on a soy milk container, they might be like “If Silk soy milk thinks this product is great, then it must be great” and they may be convinced to try it out.

The only downfall will be that if one of the collaborating companies gets into trouble for something, the other companies will look bad because of it. It may in the end create more PR trouble than it’s worth, but then again it may not.

Imagine some sort of combination of these three commercials, and you will be imagining the collaboration of the future.

Will it always be around?

Since it has already become super easy to self-promote one self through Twitter and other social media sites, I think the PR industry will die out eventually. The amount of people on social media and bloggers, people can promote themselves easier than in the past. If it is this easy now and social media is growing, then in the future it will be even easier to use the internet for self-promotion. Athletes already do it through Twitter, as many professional and collegiate athletes can post whatever they want on their personal Twitter accounts that are followed by thousands. Athletes use Twitter for self-promotion as well as self-representation. That proves that in the future, PR won’t really be needed if athletes can do it all themselves without a PR agency or anyother help. It also means that if more business owners do the same through social media, then there would be no need for PR. It would be self promotion through the business. If the social media outbreak keeps up, the PR agencies will die out.

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Bigger companies and corporations have PR departments or use PR agencies to promote their businesses. Companies now have started to hire people only for their social media and to control what gets posted. If social media keeps on growing as it already has, then companies will stop using PR departments and agencies and stick with the social media people. It will cause PR agengencies to die out. People can self-promote through social media which costs less and is easier for companies than to bring in outside agencies to the company.

Who controls the news?

People have traditionally received their news from news sources such as newspapers and news stations on the radio and the television. As time goes on, there are more and more news sources becoming available, a big one being social media. News has gone from needing one person to tell everyone the news, to many people posting about news online and many different sources. Anybody can post anything to the interent for the whole world to see. My prediction is that in the future, there will no longer be a few news stations and most people will be getting information from the internet instead of from newscasters. I think that eventually the newspaper will die out totally, but still be published online. I think that it’ll kind of turn into a Wikipedia type of thing where anybody can add news to the articles and websites. Basically, anyone can be a journalist and put their thoughts online. In the future, there will be more of this done and less professionals doing it.

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In COMM 270, we have talked a lot about how the news is changing and how anybody can add their own input into a story and up online. Social social media has been a large help in making it this way. In the future, there will probably be more and different social media sites that people can post their opinions on. Social media will take over the news world. Businesses already use social media to get their ideas out and to get news out to the public. Sports teams have Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that update fans about games and player news. Other news stations also use the same techniques to get information out to people who don’t really watch the TV stations but have time to check social media. Social media is a turning point for PR now and will change it in the future.

Secret Manipulation

Right now, companies are sticking to the traditional forms of advertising such as television, magazine, radio, and newspaper ads. They have not yet tapped into true reason that people want and buy things: Because other people want and have those things. People just want to fit in. They want to do and have what is “cool”. If the “cool kids” have an ipod, then you want an ipod. If they wear clothes from a specific store, then you want to wear clothes from that store too. People think that other people will like them because of the things that they own, and half the time, they are right.

In the future, businesses will tap into this desire to fit in. They will hire the “cool kids” in schools, and the popular employees at other non-competing companies to use their products and make other people want them too. This idea came to me from a movie that I saw a while back called “The Joneses”. It was about a family of 4 that was not actually a family. They were hired to act like a family and got all the newest products. They were hired to become popular in their school/neighborhood/ workplace and show off all of their things. Because they were popular, others wanted the things that they had. They were trained in the art of manipulating those around them to get them to buy the products. Businesses used them to be a hidden form of advertisement and increase their profits.

This is the trailer for the movie:

I believe that in the future, this idea will become reality. We will never know who really likes a product, and who is just being paid to say that they like a product. People will be “planted” in our lives to show us all of the newest gadgets and trends. But because we don’t know that they are trained salesmen, we think that we actually want the things that they are trying to sell us. We won’t have our guards up because we will be unaware that people we think are our friends are actually hired to manipulate us. As of now, when we go to buy a car or any other product really, we know that the people in the store are going to tell us everything we want to hear so that we buy the products they are selling, so our guard is up. But in the future, we will always have to have our guard up because you will never know who is manipulating you.

This is the full movie of “The Joneses” which shows how simple it is to get your friends to want the things that you have:

Face to face?

As technology advances, more and more businesses have conference calls instead of meetings. People rarely travel to have business meetings or even go to business lunches anymore. Everything is done electronically or on the phone. It saves money as well as time. I think that in the future, there will be less and less travel for business trips. People will be communicating by the web and by phone more than now.

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In the future, there will probably be more technology than there already is, making it easier to communicate in geographically dispersed teams. There are still technical difficulties with meeting in geographically dispersed teams, but in the future, the bugs will be worked out, making it easier for people to communicate through the internet. Tom Kelleher’s book Public Relations Online: Lasting Concepts for Changing Media talks about creating a stronger online presence within businesses and this could be considered part of it. Businesses will end up creating online presence by using social media such as SpreeCast to get their ideas and products out to the public while also being in geographically dispersed teams. The point of SpreeCast is to be in different places but be able to talk to one another. This gives businesses the ability to move towards the future by working in geographically dispersed teams as well as create an online presence.

 

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You Choose

Have you ever turned on the news and been like “Ughhh I DON’T CARE”? I know I have. There are certain topics that I am interested in, but other things just bore me and so I change the channel to watch a different news station’s story that interests me more. The future of public relations will have none of this “changing the channel” business. If I am on channel 10, that’s where they are going to try to keep me.

News stations have many stories that are researched but never get videotaped, or they get videotaped and never make it on the news. The future of public relations will provide viewers with all of the options that they can. News stations will videotape as many stories as they can and as big of a variety of stories as they can. These stories will be put into categories and listed on each person’s television screen when they turn on the news. Your TV will allow you to scroll through the stories and watch whichever stories you prefer to watch as many times as you want to watch them within the time allotted to the news program. You can choose to watch only news about foreign affairs, or you can choose to watch a little about politics, a little about the weather, and a little about the latest fashion trends.

In my eyes, this will advance the field of public relations because the people who are interested in the story will never miss it, unlike now when the story only airs once and a person might be showering during that 5 minutes.

If a person is interested in a business or topic, they can get the latest news, and if a person couldn’t care less about the business, they don’t have to hear about it. This is similar to Kelleher’s topic of “pull” media because instead of the news pushing stories and information onto viewers, the ones that see the stories are actively seeking it because they are interested. I also believe that it will attract more people to watching the news because they are not going to be forced to watch stories about politics when all they really care about is the latest celebrity gossip or the latest tragedy. I know if I got to choose which stories I heard about and which stories I didn’t have to hear, I would definitely watch the news more often.

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