Perspectives - 2006, Issue 1
Welcome to 2006
Mark Twain warned us about forecasting. "Prophesy," he advised, "is a good line of business, but it is full of risks." Still, with the new year here and so much happening so fast in media communications, it becomes a fascinating exercise to weigh in with our and others' outlook for 2006 – and beyond.
As for what I think lies in store for our industry in 2006, it’s four words: more of the same. The explosion of new media – blogs, podcasting and mobile marketing, among others – that characterized this year will reverberate further in 2006 and continue to profoundly affect traditional media. And many of us, still overloaded with the daily barrage of information, increasingly will choose where to scan the headlines and news of the day and then select those that personally interest us for deeper examination. It’s part of the growing trend of our drilling down to identify the communications channels we prefer.
Much of what affected all of us in 2005 involved innovations in technologies. As they become embedded in the ways we communicate, they trigger fresh questions and force us to examine several substantial issues, including how we define journalism and journalistic standards today. The implications are enormous, especially for us in public relations as we continuously strive to help our clients grasp the changing communications landscape. As the media environment evolves, we must be involved at the forefront in illuminating credibility, creativity and vision. We also must stay on top of what our courts, regulators and legislative bodies do as they grapple with these issues that touch traditional and new media.
As for the next decade, we all will be pursuing the most effective ways to reach our audiences, determining what fresh tools to introduce in what new areas. I expect that our competitive set will change as management consultancies and even information-technology specialists seek to stake out claims to PR expertise. But, as what we do becomes increasingly important, the skill set and core competencies that public relations professionals maintain are difficult for others to duplicate – and that will become even more relevant in the years ahead. Simply look at our media relations abilities. To be effective today, you must really understand the media – the new and the traditional and how they are changing. Who does that better than public relations and Ketchum?
Technological breakthroughs, of course, will continue to drive our industry – and present some challenges. As these advances let us drill down even more deeply within client audiences, they will require that we define those audiences with even greater specificity. To be sure, we already offer marketers distinct differentiators – creativity, media expertise and granularity, that in-depth grasp of their businesses, industries and specific markets. And because we work and live in our clients’ communities, we understand what’s really happening there. Still, these innovations will force us to understand these grassroots dynamics even more fully.
Stay tuned – it should be a lively decade ahead. As usual, I would enjoy receiving your feedback. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.