(VIDEO) What’s changing and why? How public relations is adapting to an evolving marketplace

Posted by Elise Mitchell on June 30, 2017

Cannes 2017 (Part 4 of a 4-part series from Elise highlighting takeaways from this year’s festival.)

Like it or not, there’s no shortage of change in the marketing communications industry. Whether it’s business models, client needs, collaboration strategIMG_9339.jpgies or competitors, change is in full swing.

You could feel it in the air at Cannes last week.  Change was evident in the awards that won. It was the focus of many panels and main-stage presentations. In fact, the topic of change came up in nearly every conversation I had.

What’s changing?

But what’s changing and why?  And what does that mean for the public relations industry?

Public relations is certainly experiencing its fair share of change, which is not a bad thing. Not only is the practice of the profession shifting, but we’re bringing different capabilities and tools to the table for clients.  

That’s happening for one simple reason – clients’ needs are changing. They’re being asked to do more with less, to engage with consumers in meaningful and relevant ways, to strike real and lasting relationships with them, to understand increasingly diverse audiences, to enhance and protect reputations against unknown threats.

It’s a wildly changing marketplace. 

The good news is this: with change comes opportunity.  We’re wading into a lot of new territory – from data to digital and artificial intelligence. It’s exciting, challenging, confusing and ultimately very rewarding. Change usually is, if you approach it with the right mindset.

Change is a learner’s game. Simply put, those who are willing to adapt and learn the quickest will have the best chances of success.

Public relations has an exceptional opportunity ahead, if we’re willing to go get it.

The staying power of earned

Fundamentally, that’s because we have a timeless, priceless asset going for us no one else owns – the power of earned. That’s one thing that’s not changing.

Earned is still one of the most valued parts of integrated work, and that will only become more so as consumers become more selective about where they’re willing to engage, and as clients demand greater earned-led ideas. 

More and more clients are recognizing the ROI of earned and empowering PR to bring earned-led campaigns to life. But the industry still has significant upside.

What lies ahead for public relations

Last week at Cannes, I had the opportunity to interview Renee Wilson, president of the PR Council. We discussed these topics and many other things, including the growing success of public relations at Cannes, and what lies ahead for the industry as it navigates a changing marketplace.

Here are a few highlights of our conversation. I hope you’ll watch.

  • The PR industry’s showing at Cannes – what’s working and why
  • Young PR Lions competition
  • PR Council’s focus on raising awareness for the power of PR with an emphasis on earned
  • Preparing talent to take on integrated work
  • Progress in the diversity and inclusion space
  • Expanding PR’s role in the integrated marketing mix
  • Biggest challenge and opportunity for PR


Cannes 2017 (Part 4 of a 4-part series from Elise highlighting takeaways from this year’s festival.) Elise at Cannes_2017.jpg


Did you miss these?

Part 1: Be Bold In Your Thinking | And More Lessons from "Fearless Girl"

Part 2: Insights from the Jury | What Winning PR Looks Like

Part 3: What does it take to lead Creative teams?




Topics: Public Relations