Top charity communicators on the future of PR

The PR Week Power Book 2017 was published this month, and it included six people who work for fundraising charities.

It’s great to see some brilliant leaders in our sector recognised like this, and I thought it would be interesting to look at their views on the future of the PR industry.

So here’s what they, and ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning, said about how they think the PR industry will have changed in five years:

David Bowles, RSPCA: “Social and electronic campaigning.”

Osama Bhutta, Amnesty International: “Video will be the default output.”

Vicky Browning, ACEVO: “An even greater emphasis on content, technology and data.”

Carolan Davidge, British Heart Foundation: “More channels to engage with. And the Millenials will be in charge, with Generation Z snap(chat)ing at their heels.”

Ali Jeremy, NSPCC: – None included

Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK: “I doubt there will be many agencies or in-house teams that won’t have expanded their expertise across a number of disciplines.”

Kirsten Walkom, Save the Children: “PR will outpace traditional advertising and marketing spend in big corporations.”

An interesting collection of perspectives.

The things that stand out for me? Not surprisingly, there is a focus on digital technology and their predictions reflect the fact that there are now more communications channels than ever before.

I also think it’s telling that none of them mention media relations, despite the fact that millions of people still read newspapers, watch TV and listen to the radio.

For me, the future-gazing that resonates most is Sarah Woolnough’s view that having skills across disciplines will become the norm.

This is a reminder to all of us in the sector of the importance of developing our skills, with the focus on understanding more across the breadth of the comms mix.

We talk a lot in PR and communications about the potential for artificial intelligence to make out jobs obselete.

But I’d argue a bigger risk for people in charity comms, at least in the medium term, is that they’ll end up looking around them in five years to find that they’re still specialists in what’s become a generalists’ world.

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