Consumers these days are also way more media aware than they used to be. How many of us actually watch TV these days whilst watching our favourite drama on TV? (if indeed anyone actually even watches live TV?) If we do, then we are certainly watching and looking at on our phones simultaneously – a quick scroll through instagram or a casual glance at the latest properties on the market – rightly or wrongly, we live in an ‘always-on’ culture and the inherent pressure to be on top of everything means the way we consume media has changed.
Step forward the millennial – the new buzz word to sum up not just a generation of consumers born between the 1980s and early 2000s, but in fact a large majority of the population. This group of media hungry consumers essentially multi-task with their media consumption and are more driven by seeking experiences rather than a more straightforward consumption of products or services that brands traditionally would have convinced them to buy.
So in today’s ‘connected’ world it’s clear that the role and influence of Marketing and PR plays has changed. Mainly due to the digital revolution, but PR specifically needs to play catch up to maximise it’s perceived value. Journalists are no longer the only powerhouses when it comes to influencing consumers. The explosion of social media has changed the playing field in this space – as these days anyone with a phone can say they’re an influencer….and from festivals to fat free food there of course is an influencer for every specialist area.
The term influencer marketing really is just the beginning. It will evolve to where personal brands open doors of possibilities to those trying to engage with an audience. Consumers want visual and emotive imagery to be engaged and captivated by a story. They put a high value on authenticity in terms of communication so brands working with bloggers need to ensure transparency and relevancy (which will become more important than number of likes and follower) to truly captivate this audience.
The role of PRs and specifically the integration of digital PR with influencer and social media management is one area where PR professionals need to focus. Good PR specialists understand they need to align much more with marketing to seize the opportunities the digital environment has provided to continue to deliver results. It’s no longer enough to just send a monthly PR report stating the number of press clippings achieved. PR has to provide qualitative measurement and one benchmark for this is the search engine rankings a brand can command. Google recognise that the power is now in the hands of the consumer and in turn looks to specifically answer a search with professionally written, highly optimised content that immediately satisfies the demanding searcher. This presents another huge opportunity for PR to step up as PR specialists can play a big role in such content creation and can lead the way in delivering highly relevant and engaging content that this digitally savvy audience craves to consume.