Panellists Toby Gunton (@t08yg), Marshall Manson (@marshallmanson) and Abby Guthkelch (@guthka) stressed the need for relevance and more focus on micro-influencers and even raised the idea of establishing industry provisions on dealing with influencers. The report itself suggests that spends on outreach have declined in the last year.
The way forward suggested by one panellist is to work with influencers who are both authoritative and easy to work with.
There was an interesting discussion about future industry trends. Views ranged from a user backlash as a consequence of social media addiction and links to mental health issues to an influx of regulation led by Europe that will have negative consequences. Other perspectives focused on more technical points such as the rise of voice and image search and the ways that PR could impact those search results. AI and automation could have a significant impact on using digital communication as a customer service platform.
In the introduction to the report, Danny Whatmough notes that ‘There’s still a lack of formal training and education in areas that really matter for our industry’. However, what areas that ‘really matter’ are did not feature very strongly in the panel discussion on this topic which got a little bogged down on technical aspects of training (that are quickly out of date) and ‘learning by doing’.
However, the real question is what did respondents understand ROI to be? 58% confidence in a robustly calculated financial return on investment is surprisingly high and I suspect the term ROI is being interpreted somewhat loosely here.
For those of you reading this review keen to know what the next big ‘platform to watch’ might be, the panel were understandably reluctant to name any one example. However, one person in the audience did offer a suggestion: .
Kevin is a co-founder of PR Academy and is the author of Exploring Internal Communication published by Routledge.
Kevin leads the PR Academy CIPR Internal Communication Diploma.
“I think you tend to always get what you’ve always got if you always do what you’ve always done. So teaching and learning is about thinking differently in ways that can be applied to better practice. I also put a lot of emphasis on research, insights, measurement and evaluation. That’s why I did a PhD. It enabled me to understand how to do robust research that makes a difference to practice."