As experts offer their predictions on the future of PR, it’s also instructive to probe lessons PR has taught in 2013. It was a year in which public relations advanced to a much more important position in the communications sector, according to Richard Edelman’s The Year in PR.
Edelman ranks his observations of the past 12 months by 10 important occurrences and trends.
We’ve compiled our five favorites below:
1. The convergence of marketing and corporate reputation.
More companies implemented the “do well by doing good” approach and created cause marketing campaigns. By connecting campaigns with societal causes, brands can improve their reputation and positively affect humanity. Example: Häagen-Dazs launched a campaign called “HD loves HB” that linked the brand to an issue threatening the existence of more than 40 percent of HD’s ingredients: the disappearance of honey bees.
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2. The growing divide between large- and medium-sized PR firms.
Top-tier PR firms like Edelman, FleishmanHillard and Weber Shandwick are pulling away in size from mid-sized firms like Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum, according to the World PR Report 2013. Meanwhile, the growth of the PR industry continues to outpace the growth of the global economy.
3. The move to diversify.
Many PR agencies declared interest in building an integrated communications operation to coordinate paid, owned and earned media, yielding a new type of integrated marketing firm with social at the core. In addition, experts preached about the need to tear down the silos between PR and marketing.
Many mainstream blogs and news publications have now added native advertising their traditional income mix of subscriptions and advertising. The jury is still out on whether the FTC will further regulate native advertisements or issue disclosure guidelines. Edelman’s prediction: PR won’t have the “largest suitcase” in the native advertising play, but they can accelerate trending stories and instigate clever memes with born-digital players like BuzzFeed. Last week, the New York Times issued its plan and policy on native advertising.
5. The technology sector as the No. 1 PR spender.
Technology has surpassed both health and consumer products as the largest spender for publications in both large and small firms.
Pollack PR Marketing Group compiled a more specific (and more entertaining) look back on PR’s defining moments of 2013. Check out the video below for their take on the biggest changes and events, along with the most amazing PR saves.