The PR profession is constantly changing, and in fact, all these changes are important for organisations, their reputation and relationships with all stakeholders (internal and external). Here are the four reputation must haves for 2023.
1. AI-driven communication tools
AI is going to play an increasingly important role when it comes to reputation management. According to the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, for a large majority of all PR professionals, the use of AI will become a necessity in their work over the next five years. As such, they rely on AI-powered tools for tasks such as media monitoring, theme and issue analysis, sentiment analysis and content creation. That AI-generated content is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and also brings major challenges. For example, how to distinguish fact from fiction and respond to it appropriately. This requires new reputation management skills and rapid adaptation to changing technologies. In addition, all the AI tools are going to give the PR professional a lot of time. Time you can put to good use for strategic and creative processes, AND for more human interaction with your customers and colleagues. So go exploring soon, new applications are coming out every day. Here is an overview of some relevant AI apps.
2. Socially driven PR
Edelman research shows that business is seen as both ethical and capable of doing the right thing. This perception of business also brings higher expectations. Companies thus have a responsibility to address social issues. And CEOs to be the face and voice of change. It is no longer enough just to be ‘sustainable’: regenerative business models are inevitable to be future-proof. You see this especially with startups and scale-ups developing technology to tackle global transitions. Organisations therefore need to show their impact and communication departments need to prioritise purpose-driven messaging and campaigns. Transparency is very important here to avoid greenwashing.
3. Diversity, equality and inclusion
For PR pros, social issues including diversity, equality and inclusion remain highly relevant. You should not deal with these reactively, or quietly wait for problems or incidents to occur. Moreover, realise that this is a very diverse group of stakeholders. As a result, no one-size-fits-all approach is possible. Start by drawing up a clear policy and define the lines of communication. Then communicate these in a clear and as transparent way as possible, and above all, put it into practice. That way, you ensure that diversity, equality and inclusion are more than marketing communications, but truly part of the organisation’s dna.
4. Integrated communication and marketing
In an increasingly dynamic society, organisations need to serve many more target groups and, moreover, through more and more channels. Here, consistency is key. The substantive story you tell your stakeholders must have its own nuance for all those parties, and also be tailored to the medium or channel. Also, do not underestimate the impact you can realise with each medium. For instance, a tweet can sometimes have more impact than an article on the front page of a newspaper. Just think of the tweet that heralded the demise of US Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
PR professionals and organisations should prioritise these four issues by 2023. This means that every expression to your stakeholders should meet one or more of these must haves. This helps strengthen your reputation as a company, brand or person. PR is an important antenna to monitor what is happening in the complex stakeholder field. All these musthaves have the potential to impact reputation and operations, which is why it is crucial that PR is also at the table with the board.