The nice folks at the Hong Kong PR Network have invited me to speak at their monthly gathering tonight to comment on "A Decade of PR: The Past and the Next".
After only 5 months working inside the PR industry with Fleishman-Hillard, I'm not sure if I fully qualify for the role but at least my 13 year in digital communications count for something. Over the years, I have dealt with many a PR practitioner, be it in sports marketing or digital marketing, so I have a good understanding from whence they came.
This is where I see PR being in 2010 (or even earlier!):
Firstly, corporate structure will have changed in order to reflect the (new) way that media is consumed and opinions are formed. This is already happening at big media conglomerates like Disney and Fox, who are breaking down their channel silos.
There will be a new member of the "C-Suite", known as the "Chief Reputation Officer" (CRO). Not only will this person manage the reputation and public perception of the company and its products but also that of its executives, who will become their own brands (thanks to social media, especially microblogging). Hands-on digital expertise will be at the core of this job.
The CRO will have a team of research analysts tracking all channels and providing real-time updates in changes of public (and internal) perceptions.
Grass roots movements on the Net become the norm.
Back-2-Boutique: highly fragmented audiences and disperse channels will require consultants to specialise in niche areas, such as healthcare, finance, public affairs. There simply isn't enough time in the day to be an expert at managing communications for multiple clients from different industries.