A global overview of trends by Ellen Gunning.
It is always interesting to get a global view of any industry, especially PR, and see the different issues, stages of development and challenges facing the industry in different parts of the world.
PR industry needs AI
The take-away from a recent webinar that I attended on global trends was a clear understanding that the PR industry knows that its needs AI and practitioners are aware that they are really challenged in this area.
- In North America and Canada, the PR industry is very conscious of a need to learn more and more about AI.
- In Europe, PR professionals know that AI will improve the way that services are delivered, but are concerned that the industry lacks skills and capabilities in this area.
- In the Asia-Pacific region, there is an identifiable trend for PR people to adopt technology (although the level of technology is limited).
- In Africa, the penetration of ICT and Online technology is becoming more noticeable.
The European PR concern about data protection and the way in which data is collected and disseminated is also mirrored in North America and Canada where practitioners are worried about the overuse of social media, personal data and fake data. Fake news, and combatting it, remain a key focus in Africa, while European practitioners are also focused on trust and transparency around news items emanating from PR professionals.
Erosion of the profession
The other trend that is very evident is the erosion of the professions’ area of expertise. PR professionals continue to be overshadowed by their marketing colleagues, and are fighting for ownership of brand and corporate reputation. In the Asia-Pacific region the key concern is the need for a clear line between pr and marketing responsibilities, while in Africa the concern is that the PR function is being positioned inside corporate organisations under a marketing function.
The overriding message that I took away from a recent Global Alliance webinar was that PR is an industry which understands that it must change, recognises the need for AI solutions, feels challenged – and a little threatened – by a skills deficit in this area, and is desperately conscious that their marketing colleagues are eating into their area of expertise.