Sydney :The practice of public relations is set for a major change with Ogilvy PR Australia announcing a number of initiatives aimed at taking the company and the profession into the next decade.
In research jointly commissioned by the company and chapters of the leading Australian industry body International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), an overwhelming number of respondents (76%) agreed that the term “PR” will be dropped in the next decade as the role and nature of agencies and the discipline itself changes. Ogilvy PR, Australia’s largest and most awarded agency, undertook the research with the IABC to mark the company’s 10th anniversary in Australia. The research involved 300 online quantitative surveys among Australian PR and communications professionals, informed by 18 qualitative interviews conducted with leading industry figures.
On the back of this research, Ogilvy PR has pledged to permanently stop measuring communications effectiveness by the much derided “Advertising Equivalent Value” (AVE) in 2012 and evaluate the newly proposed “Value Metrics” guidelines developed by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications .
Bolster its strategy, planning, creative and insights capabilities by a further 15% in the coming year by redefining and reinvesting in existing roles. As the only Australian PR agency with a Strategy and Planning Director, as well as a dedicated strategic communications research and insights brand, the company will also begin the search for a creative director this year .
Apply a unique 360 degree communications filter to all briefs to further capitalize on a future where employee empowerment is paramount and digital engagement is an integral part of every consultant’s skill set Embark on an ambitious in-house training program aimed at giving consultants a better hands-on understanding of the operational demands of business and clients.
Kieran Moore, Ogilvy PR Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, said the public relations industry needed to redefine rather than rename itself.
“We believe the age of spin, after being on life support for several years, is now dead. While we don’t agree with dropping ‘PR’ from our discipline, we think this shows that companies, organizations and individuals are demanding authentic communications advice that focuses on the reality of reputation in the real world context of business and organizational needs,” Ms. Moore said.
The overall theme of the study was “PR Communications in 2021,” and the responses showed that the biggest threat to the industry was the need to quantify and redefine the way PR outcomes are measured. In addition, the “socialization of brands” – the ability of companies to be seen as an integral and benign part of a target audience’s lives – was highlighted as the main role (67%) for PR in the future.
“This research further emphasizes that communications is both an art and a science,” Ms. Moore said. “More than ever before, brands must remain authentic as audiences are looking for engagement that interests, excites, amuses and provokes thought. PR practitioners need to become even better storytellers as they relate a brand’s messages in compelling ways, whether you’re client or agency-side.”
Translating an organization’s stories was ranked as the most important quality for PR communication practitioners in the next decade (25%) by those on both sides of the agency and client fence. With commentators predicting labor shortages once the huge baby-boomer demographic moves into retirement, the research found a strong expectation that employee value will rise in the next decade. Seventy-nine per cent of respondents thought that by 2021 employees will be an organization’s most critical brand ambassadors and 78% agreed that employees will expect to play a role in shaping company brands of the future.
“That finding aligns with all the research and experience we have gathered through our employee communication consultancy, and it’s why we are going to further stress to our clients the necessity for internal and external communications to create a united front,” Ms Moore said.