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Hughes blog post: Delivering the future

10 August 2017    

Over the 25 years since establishing Hughes, I have considered many times how we can use our skills best to help our clients achieve their best.

So, what services should we be delivering into the future?

My view is that the PR industry will be delivering the services its delivering now – but that it will have greater control over the strategy that drives them and the way in which they’re integrated with an organisation’s brand building and reputation protection strategy.

As the trusted ‘independent’ partner in communication and reputation, I believe it will increasingly be the PR industry’s job to review and revise the effectiveness of organisational communication channels. We’ll be responsible for the audits that ensure the current comms are working and that more effective channels shouldn’t replace them.

We’ll still be driving brand awareness through publicity (or story telling or brand journalism, as some would prefer to term it). The means of doing so will change – but not the art!

We will further strengthen our ownership of reputation management – and this will test our profession more than it ever has as we act to counter the speed and range of trajectories at which bad news travels through social media or to embrace that speed to our clients’ advantage.

Our story telling and writing skills will see PR professionals continue to play a key role in publications – mainly on-line – including prospectuses, annual reports, EDMs, websites and submissions.

I also see us sharing our knowledge through training.  When we put clients in front of the media, we need to make sure they’re trained. We’ve done it for years to great effect. Our view of social media is similar.  Once we’ve developed a social media strategy aligned with a client’s broader reputational and business objectives, it should be managed as much as possible by the client to ensure its authenticity.  We therefore need to be giving clients the skills to do so.

Our influence will extend even further into the areas of employee relations (working with HR professionals); community relations; and investor relations (as we get more involved in building brand value through strategies focused on the business bottom line).

And, we’ll be increasingly integrating the tools required to deliver these expanded services quickly and cost effectively.

Social media management and engagement will be a key delivery mechanism.

Graphic design will play a key role in visual presentation across digital media – and we see our delivery of this service continuing to grow.

But video, I see as having a truly exciting place in the PR crystal ball.

Just to provide some context:

  • Global IT company Cisco predicts 69% of total internet traffic will be video by 2018;
  • Global ecommerce business, Groupon expects 79% of web browsers to watch on-line video every day in 2018.
  • YouTube projects that revenue from on-line video advertising will jump from US$7.7 billion last year to US$12.82 billion in 2018.

Dr. James McQuivey – a consultant to NASDAQ listed Forrester Research in the US undertook a study called “How Video Will Take Over the World” in which he claims that “Video is worth 1.8 million words.” It’s based on the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,”; the fact that video shoots 30 frames per second and therefore, every second of video is worth 30,000 words. Multiply 30,000 by 60 seconds – a common length for an explainer video – and you get 1.8 million.

A stretch maybe but, as we say in the trade – don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

- Tim Hughes