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“PR strategy will evolve to micro targeted ones with segmented messaging”

As part of the build up to Adgully’s first PR summit – IMAGEXX 2021 – we present the valuable insights provided by our esteemed jury panel comprising the leading names from the country’s PR and Corporate Communications field.

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In the last 10 years, PR has taken a different dimension, especially after the entry of social media and the rapid shift to digital, especially in the pandemic period. However, at the same time the industry has been facing stiff challenges, moreover client expectations has also increased, with more emphasis being given to digital and online reputation management. The industry has undergone a radical shift and the current times have pushed the industry to change gears.

In conversation with adgully, Priya Patankar, Head of Communications, PhonePe, highlights the new trends that the PR industry will see in the coming years, such as PR strategy becoming more personalised and local, digital channels taking centerstage, and a more proactive reputation management strategy, among others.

The transition to digital is happening at an accelerated pace. Going forward, what will be the role of digital in PR and how brands and agencies will adapt to this in the new normal?

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Digital mediums are becoming central to any organisation’s PR plans. From virtual events and product launches to podcasts and live sessions, PR plans are now going big on digital. This also means is that since information is now location and geography agnostic, access is more democratic. For brands this is great as PR objectives can now be more clearly defined and also measured and tracked. For in-house teams as well as agencies this also means it is time to upskill and master newer ways to reach out to the external world.

AI and technology will be the game changer in the coming years, especially in the area of data. What are your views on this and how are agencies and brands gearing up to face this new challenge?

AI and technology will definitely be game changers. Using technology and the data signals available to us, we will be able to segment and target our communication while determining the best target audience for any external outreach. This will help personalisation to truly kick-in. We will also see traditional PR tools like sentiment analysers become more powerful and accurate with technology.

PR has evolved a lot in the last 10 years and is still evolving. How does the road ahead look like and what are some of the new trends that we will notice in the PR industry in the next 5 years?

  1. Just like traditional marketing channels are thinking personalised and local, so will PR. From more mass outreach campaigns, the PR strategy will evolve to micro targeted ones with segmented messaging, relevant to smaller user cohorts.
  2. There will be more emphasis on PR being mapped to the overall marketing function, while measuring the impact it has on top of the funnel metrics.
  3. Digital channels will take centerstage along with more traditional PR mediums.
  4. Reputation management will need to be proactive and constant. The way news travels and gets distributed these days, brands will have to be a lot more planned in anticipating and managing any future negative fallout.
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