This article, written by Carmichael Lynch Relate executive vice president Alan Newbold, originally appeared in the Minnesota PRSA’s Perspectives blog.
The recent PRSA Midwest webinar “The Future of PR: Perspectives from the Heartland” shed some light on the complexities of communications now and in the future. I was lucky enough to participate on the panel of five Midwest communications leaders and am happy to say the conversation makes for an informative podcast. Take a listen here. But if you’re in need of some instant gratification, check out my five key takeaways from this future-focused discussion:
- Writing Skills as a Differentiator: Touted by every panelist as the talent most consistently coveted by their teams and in demand for expert communicators, it’s a skill that will remain a priority differentiator across all communications roles and particularly for young talent entering the profession.
- The Impact of Multigenerational Consensus: With Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X and Boomer generations in the workforce simultaneously, taking care to listen, learn and respect the lens through which each cohort experiences life will be key to effective internal and external communications. This same approach will play a role in how brands engage and attract multifaceted, multigenerational audiences, ultimately mitigating the risks of consumer alienation or attrition.
- Adaptability and Collaboration: The speed of the market, consumer appetites for information and new and changing technology platforms are all accelerating. This pace will require increased trust, communication and collaboration among integrated agency partners and clients. PR must come to the table with an in-depth knowledge of the marketing disciplines in play, elevated thinking about how to engage across partner channels and bring a strong POV to these complex culture environments. This adaptability will help us – and our partners – meet consumer and client demand.
- DEIBA Emphasis: Not a trend, but a foundational support element for brands and agencies alike. Moving forward, we will see communicators continue expanding and anchoring our efforts with an eye and heart toward diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility, paying particular attention to accessible communications and content and disability inclusion.
- Substantive Corporate Social Responsibility: Brand DNA and corporate soul based in social good and planet health are on the rise as barometers of consumer trust and choice. These are closely complemented by the role of communications teams in providing the tools to evaluate and prioritize brand mission, vision and core values through a lens of truth and transparency.
Yes, that was just one perspective from the heartland experienced through my own PR lens. I’m sure there are more. In fact, I’m counting on it. That’s the real future of PR.