Ground-Breaking PR Trends That are Going to Dominate 2019 These trends together paint an invigorating picture of the future that awaits the exciting world of public relations

By Gaurav Patra

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Stepping into a new year makes it imperative for one to look in hindsight, gain newer perspectives into the year that was while gearing up for what lays ahead of us. The year 2018 was brimming with a lot of buzz on all fronts, marked by a thrilling political environment, economic uncertainty, tech disruptions, Tweets becoming breaking news, and certain significant movements urging the rise of sensitive and "woke' brand advocacy. The New Year 2019 inherits these attributes; here's looking ahead at the PR trends that are going to be big this year:

Voice-Based Search and Storytelling

The future belongs to voice-based virtual assistants. Voice-activated devices like Google Home and Alexa are becoming a part and parcel of our daily lives. Instead of typing keywords in a search engine, users are more likely to speak to their voice assistants.

An estimate by Chief Marketer reveals that 50per cent of all searches by 2020 will be a voice. Furthermore, by 2022, the sales by voice commerce are expected to be worth USD 40 billion. This has already laid the groundwork for a paradigm shift, where in addition to drafting content, marketers and PR practitioners alike are considering ways of producing content that is semantic in nature and can be discovered by voice activation.

Live Streaming

That videos have emerged as a significant contributor to digital success is a fact known to all. However, even in the ever-expanding world of videos that also includes original OTT programming, the Live Streaming is going to take the centre stage.

In the past year, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook have all seen a growth in their live streaming services. Another study conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau revealed that 47per cent of the users who watched live streaming videos also consumed more videos in the last year, as compared to their previous consumption patterns.

Thus, in 2019, we are going to witness more brands shunning the well-rehearsed, scripted videos and opting for more relaxed, natural-looking live streaming videos. To the same end, it is imperative for brands to remain authentic, a trend we shall discuss next.

Rise of Authentic Brand Advocacy

Brand authenticity is going to be the utmost importance in the year 2019. The consumers need to know that the brand is authentic and embraces diversity, in order for them to accept the same. Giving more precedence to this trend is the Gen Z entering the workforce and thus exercising its buying potential.

Brands need to evolve with the changing personalities of consumers. Gen Z, a generation born in the times of internet, relentlessly supports socially responsible businesses and seeks authenticity. Communication professionals would be required to guide their associates in navigating through the new demographic, while consciously highlighting aspects of the brands that emphasises on their authenticity, diversity and social responsibility.

Shift towards Niche Media

The digital media space today is getting increasingly crowded. With the ever-changing algorithms and different top-rated sites introducing sponsored promotions, the organic reach is getting beleaguered by the day. The same is going to shift the focus on niche media outlets, such as Reddit, Nextdoor, Pinterest, letting brands enjoy direct engagement with their audience(s).

The trend also favours niche-specific influencer outreach. Instead of targeting influencers with the maximum reach only, PR practitioners would be looking at influencers with a cult following in their niches. Establishing relationships with these niche influencers are going to be one of the top priorities for the practitioners this year.

In a nutshell, these trends together paint an invigorating picture of the future that awaits the exciting world of public relations. It remains to be seen how the creative minds adhere to these trends while ushering the industry into a new world marked with innovations, authenticity and technological brilliance.

Gaurav Patra

Founder - Value 360 Communication

A first generation Technology journalist, seasoned PR veteran and digital media exponent, Gaurav Patra has explored every aspect of his key strengths through his rich association with the media since the past two decades. He has been brandishing his innate communication and management skills to ably realize his dream of furthering his own entrepreneurial venture from vision to execution. After building a solid base in journalism across leading publication houses like Cyber Media, Media Transasia and Jasubhai Digital Media, he has seen and tracked the rise and shine of the IT industry in India over the last 20 years, lending keen insight and perspective as Assistant Bureau Chief at The Indian Express Group.  

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