Public Relations … Just Trust Us, OK?
What’s the biggest challenge facing the PR industry? Mistrust – what the last decade left us to manage. Of brands, governments, non-profits, influencers; your neighbour and of course whoever you’ve matched up with on Tinder (but that’s nothing new).
This means we need improved tactics to protect and maintain healthy reputations for the brands we represent or work for. We must produce authentic storytelling that’s non-negotiable in its truth; that can withstand scrutiny. If the narrative gets tough, there’s a plan on how to foster a transparent dialogue about it, including dealing with trolls.
What does this look like?
1. Increased monitoring including technology that recognizes deepfakes (it started with celebs, but they’re happening in the corporate world right now).
2. Blueprints for a media war room, just in case. Take a more layered approach to crisis comms prep that includes messaging for all audience touch points (yes, that means TikTok and Google My Business, and maybe even a meme strategy).
3. Quicker responses (read: instant) to online comments and questions (don’t worry, there are chat bots to help you with including Facebook’s Messenger). Drift is one of the easier ones to set up.
4. Clean corporate materials. No hype, no jargon, just facts in plain language with lots of credible outbound links to prove so.
5. Less use of DIY-visual tools and hipster stock photos, more real, natural images and videos that reflect the brand’s purpose and values. Show, don’t tell.
Embrace tech, stay on top of it
I recently read Meghan Daum’s The Problem with Everything. In it she shared an “oddly beautiful revelation: my generation will be the last to have known the world in an analog form. As a result, we’ve grown old before actually getting old. We’ve become dinosaurs before we’re even fifty.”
I quickly pushed away the wave of anxiety attacking me after reading Meghan’s thought. Nope, I told myself. I’m not scared, I’m excited. I always have been when it comes to tech.
Is artificial intelligence changing PR? Yep, and bring it on, I say. My industry has been evolving for years. I have no problem having robots to do the, eh-hem, grunt work for me. FYI, I’m not overly impressed with the current offering of intelligent content tools, but these are early days.
We’re in an era of cognitive dissonance. Let’s use tech responsibly to produce stories and share positions that educate your customers, clients, partners, stakeholders. Let’s recognize differences. Don’t share fake news, make real news. Let’s measure our impact, not our progress.
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