PR in 2008: Industry Predictions


(PRNewser resolves to find a new image to denote predictions, and convince BadBitch blog to do the same)

We decided to take industry tool Profnet out for a spin to collect our PR industry predictions for 2008. We heard from a couple of usual sources promising continued dominance, and received thoughtful, fun, and even offensive ones from a gaggle of others.

We chose a number of them to inspire and rankle, and saved others about the media, sports, and social media for further posts. Not knowing how to categorize the ones about jet packs robots, we’ll leave those to your imagination. Let’s start with a hot one:

I predict that idiotic PR people will continue to mass email pitches to reporters with little thought as to what effect it has on both them and the entire industry.

–Bob Zeitlinger, Managing Director, B To Z Communications

Special thanks to Kevin at the BadPitch Blog for getting the ball rolling with his post about our Profnet request, and his own prediction:

In 2008, hard-earned advice, well-written books and forward-thinking conferences will be heaped upon the PR industry. AGAIN. And most PR people will continue to ignore it. AGAIN.

–Kevin Dugan, Director of Marketing Communications at FRCH Design Worldwide, and BadPitch blogger

Things are moving from a traditional PR to more of a social communications business. That involves much more visual branding than just the old verbal branding that we use to do. It involves new forms of communication that we never thought about even five years ago. We have more to do now then we ever did.

As soon as you think you’ve figured out, there’s going to be something more to do. The M&A market is going to continue to impact the technology industry. It’s tough growing a PR business because your clients are getting consumed by other companies.

Video is going to enter our business en masse. I think as communicators we don’t do enough with that medium. There are going to be many more clients embracing video as a means of communication.

–Sabrina Horn, CEO, Horn Group
(Disclosure: Horn Group is my co-editor’s employer)

PRSA merges with American Bar Association (ABA) and Used Care Sales Association (UCSA) to create uber alliance citing synergies in communications styles.

Congressional subcommittee launches probe into PR practices, prompted by clients’ complaints of inability of their agency to get CEO’s picture on the cover of BusinessWeek.

–Rob Gelphman, Chairmain, Marketing Work Group of MoCa (Multimedia over Coax Alliance)

Public Relations as an industry (despite all signs of an economic downturn) will continue to experience rapid growth. With the decrease of traditional advertising (For the record, I for one don’t believe advertising is dead), corporations will increasingly value PR. I expect more and more dollars will be devoted to securing positive media coverage and strategic communications outreach.

–Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR

Corporate PR will outsource big chunks of their publicity activities. With blogs, podcasts, web 2.0, etc, in-house people simply can’t track all the outlets in their space. With performance at the top of every CXOs 2008 agenda, staffs will look to pay-for-results firms for these publicity efforts.

–Somer Stephenson, PayPerClip

Small, media savvy PR firms (PrestoVivace,
LivingstonBuzz, FreshPot) will be poised to pick up bigger accounts. This will lead to more small firms being bought by bigger firms (again, or ad nauseum).

–Mark Amtower, author of Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes