Tuesday 10 March 2015

Is PR ready for the digital revolution?

Humankind has benefitted immeasurably from change and progress, and there is perhaps no greater example than the industrial revolution. But there are always winners and losers when it comes to change and progress. And that is important to remember now that we are in the third industrial revolution – the digital one.

The challenges of the digital revolution are already evident: it has become a ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ world. And that is as true for the PR industry as any other.

But just as the digital revolution brings new challenges to the PR industry, it also brings new opportunities. And Abchurch recently participated in an event that did an excellent job of highlighting these opportunities.

Abchurch is a member of IPREX, a network of communication agencies with over 100 offices worldwide. Last week, members of many of these agencies gathered in London for the 2015 IPREX Global Leadership Conference. The theme of the Conference was Beyond Silos: Operating and managing in an integrated communication industry.

One of the major topics at the conference was the changing media landscape, which is of course a result of the digital revolution. The event kicked off with a very insightful presentation by Arun Sudhaman, editor-in-chief of the Holmes Report. He discussed the period of change the PR industry is currently undergoing and how agencies can capitalise on these new opportunities. Arun pointed out, quite rightly, that if PR agencies don’t ‘future proof’ themselves they will become irrelevant.

It was also incredibly helpful to see how IPREX partners from around the world are tackling the challenges that arise in the digital era. Based on what was presented at the conference, it’s safe to assume that many IPREX partners are already winners of the digital revolution. There were plenty of examples that demonstrated just how much innovation benefits the communications industry. Although traditional forms of print media and editorial coverage are becoming scarcer, social media creates new opportunities, whether delivering information, creating buzz by pre-empting traditional media coverage or even creating and publishing content for clients. These initiatives by our IPREX partners proved they won’t become the blackberries of the PR industry.

One of the key takeaways of the conference is that a digital silo isn’t enough – the PR industry has to fully embrace the digital revolution to stay relevant. Change can be scary, but here at Abchurch we are embracing the opportunities digital innovation is bringing to the PR industry.

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