It’s been coming for a while, but it seems that in 2016 the Western world has reached digital saturation. Now, the more technology advances – which it does with each passing day – the more it becomes integrated into our daily lives. Take for instance Pokémon Go and how quickly that’s taken off!
We should all know about multi-devices and second screening. But let’s put multi-channel to one side for the time being, because the omni-channel era is now upon us.
’Omni’ means all and omni-channel takes things up a level from multi-channel. Plus, it’s more than just a buzzword: it’s something PR professionals need to master.
It’s now no good just to be present. Omni-channel means that a brand now needs to be constantly there, to be consistent across all platforms, and to be proactive rather than reactive. PR professionals need to adapt and develop a process which creates a seamless customer journey across retail, web, and mobile, which ultimately creates strong consumer-brand relationships.
Now we know that, let’s look into how the recent shift to omni-channel thinking has changed public relations and how brands should take positive steps to ensure their campaigns are agile enough to make the right impact.
Old operating models have all but vanished
98% of Americans switch between devices on the same day – Google Research
In the past (we’re talking the pre-internet analog era – which was not so long ago), a PR professional would write a press release and send it to a carefully collated list of press connections in the hope they published it. That’s it really.
Okay, so it still happens because these days. Gaining coverage in traditional sources can turn into direct engagement opportunities across new media. However, the rise of online social platforms means that a brand can now manage its public image instantaneously – accelerated culture means it’s essential – and respond to good news or bad press without going through a middleman.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach anymore. Instead, a carefully curated social media presence and targeted content output are essential for creating more meaningful connections between consumer and brand.
Data analytics means campaigns are highly measurable
Targeted messaging has landed. Using customer data, you can reach the right people with your message on whichever channel you think will make the biggest impact. If there’s something you want to say to a certain type of person, young, old, male or female, built-in targeting software will allow you to get that message in front of them. Such as a public statement deflecting a negative story.
That’s not all. There’s now no excuse for trying the same tactic again and again if it doesn’t work. Data is there to help PR professionals know what’s successful and what isn’t when trying to get their message out there.
Brands now need omnipresence
24/7 connectivity is now a must for a brand. To manage relationships properly, omnipresence across social channels is required. Firefighting is par for the course in PR. It’s no good sleeping on a story of snowballing bad news. Only to wake up to a torrent of bad press from people whose voice can be seen loud and clear on social networks.
Setting up alerts is now essential, whether to monitor brand mentions on blogs, social media or in the press. Keeping a round-the-clock eye on your brand will allow you to witness its public perception first-hand. And give you a clear idea of when it’s the optimum time to interact.
PR is non-stop. Brands need to retain strong public relations using social media channels. In an increasingly fast-paced world, be in position to respond quickly to consumer questions. This might seem like more of a concern for social media managers rather than PR pros, but as you’ll see in our final point, job roles are merging quicker than ever.
Blurred lines between digital disciplines
From the eye of the digital storm in a PR, digital creative and marketing agency, it’s clear that the digitalization of PR has resulted in a mergence of once-different professions. There is a need for multifaceted professionals with a range of SEO, PR, and social media skills.
These professionals need a variety of strengths such as being able to write effective, persuasive content and manage social media. While a widespread network of contacts is necessary in order to gain positive media coverage.
Finally, omni-channel has resulted in the need for a new breed of professional. They need to be switched on all the time. Aware of shifting opinions. Open to new trends and able to effectively implement ideas and monitor progress.
Have you, as a PR professional, faced challenges with the shifting marketing mix? How have you shifted your approach in line with the new omni-channel way of thinking? Leave your comment or get in contact via social media using the details below.