PR Hub Dissects Trends that Shaped the 2010s, Sets PR Trends for New Decade (I)
PR Hub is an independent virtual community of passionate, experienced, and leading Public Relations professionals in Nigeria. PR Hub as a community of professionals brings together the best brains in the industry to discuss salient topics, support one another, and proffer solutions to economic and national issues using the tools of public relations.
To herald the new decade, PR hub members joined forces to review the last 10 years (decade) with a view to issues that shaped the Public Relations industry. In the same token, the next 10 years starting 2020 received ample attention shaped by informed industry knowledge, expert opinion, and experience.
The body (PR Hub) presents its all-important peer-reviewed work as it tries to decipher what the next decade holds for the industry highlighting key determinants of trends that will shape the years ahead. This is detailed in part II, read here.
PR Trends: The Last Decade in Review
- The social media ‘tsunami’
The start of the last decade in 2010 heralded an explosion in the use of social media in what we now term – the social media ‘tsunami’.
The increasing need to connect gave rise to several social media platforms and the death of some prominent ones like ‘Blackberry’. Simply put, the last decade was the era of social media ‘tsunami’ with over a billion active users on Instagram only monthly. This figure is poised to increase in this decade as more people crave connectivity.
The social media tsunami also demystified the use of celebrity endorsement for brand promotion. The last decade saw the creation of many digital influencers who invariably have large followers on their social media handles and became instrumental in promoting brands from all sectors. Digital celebrities such as Broda Shaggi, Tahooma, Woli Arole, Pamilerin, Woli Agba, Josh 2 Funny etc gained prominence. They also became the go-to influencers in place of the established celebrities that brands used to engage for endorsement purposes prior to this time.
2. The Rise of ‘Portfolio’ PR firms
All told, last decade could also have been described as the SME decade. As millions left paid employment, either voluntarily or involuntarily, small businesses sprang up all over the country with each one eager to work with PR professionals and become known. These enterprises could not afford the services of full-fledged PR/Communications Agency creating a lacuna that private practitioners rose up rapidly to fill by floating ‘one-man PR Agencies. Today, we have Practitioners we call ‘portfolio practitioners’. These practitioners have no physical offices and little overhead, they are therefore agile, nimble and flexible in budgeting and activations to deliver results for their clients.
NB: These one-man firms are also SMEs.
3. Powershift from traditional media practitioners to citizen journalism
Before the advent of social media, traditional media practitioners like journalists and media owners were predominantly the ones who wrote and thus shaped agenda the world over.
Through the 2010s bloggers and other citizens took advantage of emerging technologies to write their opinions and publish on their blogs, social media pages, and platforms. As their reach grew, they started gaining the privilege to wield power and inﬂuence. Sharing of information through live videos and pictures in real-time emanated from this trend and has had a significant impact on how fast information is disseminated.
Now, no one waits for 24 hours to get breaking news from traditional media anymore. Today, from anywhere in the world, if there is the internet, anyone can break news. In fact, today, the traditional media now play catch up to citizen journalists, keeping taps on them for trend and breaking news
*The unprofessionalism of some citizen journalists is cause for concern. They are creating a new menace – fake and unsubstantiated news*
4. The prominence of PRCAN-gave the industry TOMA
The works of PRCAN Executives starting from the pioneering president, Nn’Emeka Maduegbuna to Chido Nwakanma helped to reposition the profession within the last decade.
Their efforts enabled some key practitioners and agencies who previously saw each other as competitors, to appreciate the need to form an alliance of PR practitioners. This umbrella is PRCAN and it continues to advocate for the use of only agencies registered with NIPR and PRCAN by government and private companies. This conversation is still ongoing although it is obvious a lot more still needs to be done.
5. Transparency in crisis management
The last decade witnessed some sort of transparency from the part of brands to their customers/clients. The openness was forced by the emergence of digital technologies.
Before the social media, tsunami, brands could get away with murder, literally. The social media tsunami made it possible for customers to hold brands accountable. Customers/clients now demand that they be treated with respect. Firms are compelled to agree.
The immediacy of social media equally has other advantages. When there is crisis, brands can reach the customers quickly to tell their side of the story either through an apology or a rebuttal.
In addition, brands can manage their reputation better especially when it comes to online reputation management. They can exploit the direct connection with customers for good.
Click here to read Part (II) PR Trends of the New Decade – 2020 and Beyond