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PRCA SW - 2024: What lies ahead for PR?


As we stand on the cusp of 2024, PR is undergoing dynamic transformations driven by technology, evolving communication landscapes, and shifting societal expectations.  

To gain a glimpse into the future of PR, we've tapped into the insights of seasoned PR professionals from our South West membership who navigate the ever-changing currents of the industry as they share their predictions for the PR landscape in 2024. 

- Sarah Firth, Strategy & Creative Director, Speed Communications 

AI goes Mainstream 

If 2023 saw us all experimenting with AI, 2024 will be where we start to embrace it even more, for the efficiencies it can bring in terms of the more administrative tasks, whilst freeing up resource for the more creative and strategic elements of the job.

Diversity and Inclusion 

2024 will see diversity and inclusion come front centre as agencies look to broaden their recruitment processWith the impact of the multi-generational workforce, this could mean a greater fluidity in working practices to accommodate employees with differing needs and lifestylesThis will in turn lead to an approach that is more ‘by the people, for the people’ with authentic representation of different audiences becoming more important to brands and the work their agencies deliver.

Premium Skills 

As clients’ demands to their agencies become broader, from data analysis to behavioural science to employee communications, married with the more traditional skills of media relations, reputation management and content production, we could see the rise of specialist skills being recognised within the industry. 

Purpose Becomes Action

And finally, if awards are an indication of the future, purpose-led campaigns are still winning out, with most of the industry’s biggest awards celebrating work with purpose at its heartIn fact, most leading marketeers are focusing on how purpose is changing the way they communicate and operate“Brand purpose is going to come down to how are you actually making my life better...purpose is going to become much more specific, much more actionable” commented Alex Hesz, Omnicom. 

- Sara Turner, Head of Internal Communications, Ministry of Justice

Pressure continues to mount on the importance of demonstrating tangible value in our work, whether that’s making a difference to the bottom line or making a difference in the communities we serve. The communications industry needs to be clear about its purpose, which is that of a strategic enabler. All our work must lead back to outcomes for the organisations we work with and for - we represent a lever for change and should be shouting this from the rooftops. Be proud and in 2024 I encourage you to be brave!   

- Billy McKenna, MD Aro PR & Marketing  


AI will increase its usage exponentially as we find more involved ways to apply it to existing tasks and find a wider range of activities to apply it to. This will have a big impact on the industry and though we’ll accelerate our capabilities in using it, it will accelerate and pull away. We’ll begin to get a grip on the challenges, such as ethical and ability to harness it effectively, but it won’t be fully under control – not next year anyway. 


The pressures on finding highly skilled people will ease, but retaining them will remain a challenge. We need to be as innovative, diligent and creative with our own internal comms and managing culture as we are for our clients. The move for staff teams to be treated as a client group will continue, with more focus on remuneration, more focus on skills and ensuring everyone is fully valued for their contribution. 


That old chestnut never goes away and next year will see an increasing expectation from clients that we are making a real business benefit, which for many smaller agencies will be about the bottom line. Certainly, for smaller clients, we’ll need to make a case on just how many sales our work has secured for them. 

- Joanna Randall, CEO, Purplefish  

Automation and AI 

The pace of AI and automation will accelerate – but will require human-centric strategy and creativity to optimise it. AI has truly come into public consciousness in 2023 but current use and what’s actually possible are still a world apart. There is an appetite within comms teams and agencies for adopting emerging technologies which improve efficiencies, but often the pace of the day job means most firms are yet to move beyond experimentation. 2024 will see some of the new tools really taking root in our day-to-day processes. With newly released open-source tools such as GPTs providing organisations with the opportunity to create their own AI models as part of their growth and efficiency strategies. While I do not predict that all our jobs will be done by machines in the coming years, I think as PR professionals we need to collectively commit to taking on and learning to work differently – automating where sensible in order to create space for us to focus on more innovative, creative and strategic tasks. This will put us in the strongest position to advise our clients to deliver stand out communications in an ever noisier environment.  

Media relations will evolve to be increasingly valued

In a world where we are all bombarded with thousands of messages and ‘noise’, there is so much content that we can consume. While we have become used to curating our own news feeds, getting cut through as PR professionals will continue to become harder but more important. Media relations skills will become more prized in this fast paced and busy world where we target influencers now in the same way as journalists. Creativity will be key with a deep understanding of what’s possible in securing earned content. Clients and organisations will place more not less importance on what others are saying about them - a really robust and original news angle will be more valuable than ever. Managing a good media campaign to secure the high authority coverage that really boosts reputation and builds credibility is often the one area where internal teams and scale up or growth firms cannot easily service in house.  

People and skills 

The world of work has changed for all of us and the PR industry as a career option has evolved dramatically over the last five yearsWhere our ways of working must now change, we are all still finding our feet with the new ways of working. Our personal needs, wants and work ambitions are intrinsically linked like never before with work and life choices. Agency owners need to acknowledge that the workplace has moved on and we need to be as creative as employers as we are with our clients. We must invest more in training and upskilling people, and we have to make sure we look after them. Wellbeing and company culture will continue to play a key role in a rewarding career; business owners need to consider how they deliver a great experience across their journey with the organisation.