Sunday, April 20, 2008

When Trends Become Process

In the public relations industry, specific and measurable trends phase in and out. Those trends are deemed the “next big thing” that PR agency professionals should focus their attention on and learn about so that they can provide “smart” recommendations to clients. Currently, agencies are focused on incorporating social media and digital strategy tactics into PR plans – in my opinion these are the two big “PR trends” that agency personnel should be focused on. In other words, web 2.0.

Yesterday in class, my Strategic Communications professor briefly posed a thought-provoking speculation – It is only a matter of time before these new “trends” become strategic processes. Hm, interesting. Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about how only 10% of agencies are in a position to advise clients on digital strategies? Well, that’s great if the agency you work for lies in that 10% (I suppose you could consider yourself an innovator) but the other 90% is beginning to catch on. Somewhere down the road that 90% will realize their clients also want to incorporate digital tactics into their PR plans. So they will start doing it too; and soon enough 100% of PR agencies will be adequately prepared to advise clients on digital strategies. That is the point where the next big trend becomes part of everyday process.

Do you remember the days when e-mail was just beginning to catch on? (OK, I must admit, I do remember these days, but barely. In fact, I believe I was in the fourth grade, still living in California, when my dad brought home our very first computer. It was a huge ol’ thing with a black screen that typed simple white letters. I believe we had e-mail then?) Side comments aside, I don’t think there’s a single agency practitioner who can imagine working without e-mail. This concept that was such a huge trend way back when is now engrained into our everyday corporate lives. And I also believe that Web 2.0 will head down that road someday as well. Perhaps we aren’t quite ready to make it part of our everyday process, but it will happen. Eventually.

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