The balancing act – making the most of PR trends in 2015

Lale Ansingh, Founder and Managing Director of Rawaj Internationl offers an expert view on the PR trends for this year and how to stay ahead of the game when it comes to implementing them into agency strategy…

The base of the communication is no longer a monologue – it has turned into a dialogue, where consumers are able to give their feedback instantaneously.

The fast emerging trend of digital and social media has become a significant channel in the PR industry and has proven to be an integral part of daily communication. With the majority consuming their media on digital platforms nowadays – 80% of those on mobile – this illustrates a significant shift in consumer behavior, offering organisations and brands the opportunity to maximise reach and communicate directly with their audience; there is increasing pressure for businesses to keep up. Due to these factors and the world becoming a more global environment, the ever-expanding realm of digital media is only going to increase its influence in 2015; it offers limitless opportunities for creativity and has become a strong tool in diversifying existing communication. The most integral aspect of digital media is the effective measurement tools available, whereby consumer behavior can be monitored and tied directly to the bottom line. This offers marketers the ability to assess the effectiveness of campaigns on achieving business objectives.

In the Middle East, digital media is showing rapid growth – from the UAE having the highest market penetration for mobile phones to KSA having the highest penetration on Twitter. This adds a new dimension to the way we can communicate with our audiences. We have the ability to add more visuals to our communication that enhances our storytelling ability and engagement with target audiences.

Of course, the use of traditional PR channels is still very commonly used in the Middle East. PR is known as the ‘art of storytelling’; having relevant and consistent content distributed through print media is still a widely appreciated approach by readers, especially in this region. It adds credibility to a brand and creates trust with the audience because it is not a paid channel. In accordance, I strongly suspect that with the new digital trend, the challenge every organisation is going to face will be how to harness the power of both channels. In other words, in 2015 the strength of one’s communication effort will be measured with the success of one’s engagement strategy between digital and print communications.

It is therefore even more important nowadays for PR professionals to keep up-to-date on the trends and opportunities arising daily, to stay ahead of the competition and most importantly, stay relevant to the increasing demand of our target audience. Communications is no longer only about what brands have to say; it is based on what the audience wants to hear. Essentially, the base of the communication is no longer a monologue – it has turned into a dialogue, where consumers are able to give their feedback instantaneously.

Remember that with the shift in power from business to consumer, it is imperative to be relevant. Your content needs to be interesting and engaging to your target, always offering value. Make sure that you are measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns. Reassess, tweak and republish then start the cycle all over again.

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