Here are a few safe bets for 2024: AI will continue to grow in importance. The U.S. election will be an absolute mess. And PR pros will handle it all with grace and style.
Everything else that might happen in 2024? That’s just a guess. But we’ve assembled some of the brightest minds in the PR industry to share their very best predictions for the year ahead. See what they thought, and see how accurate our 2023 predictions were.
Wishing you all a very happy holidays.
It’s more important than ever before to make sure our clients have consistent online coverage that sheds them in a positive, accurate light as we still don’t 100% understand where AI gets its data from.
Comms offerings and pros’ experience will be reassessed through the lens of, “Can’t AI do that?” Making the case for our value proposition will require stakeholder and business partner reeducation, business model rejiggering and skills development rethinking.
Lynnea Olivarez, founder and community manager of Ticket to Biotech.
There is way too much chatter about using AI tools like ChatGPT as content drivers beyond basic outlines. As the legal industry more closely looks into the issue of AI and copyright, there will be some short-sighted organizations that will cross lines they shouldn’t and will be held up as trailblazing examples of how and where AI can be used to run afoul of best practices.
Rod Hughes, President, Kimball Hughes Public Relations.
PR pros will focus less on the medium and more on the message in 2024. Since our directive and expertise often lies in earning media coverage for our clients, we can silo ourselves to editorial publications as the sole medium for promoting key messages. Developing compelling storylines and mapping them to the appropriate medium — company blog, thought leader LinkedIn, contributor profile, etc. — will lead to more high-impact campaigns.
Kim Jefferson, EVP at BLASTMedia.
This is the first time we’ve had significant global conflicts in the age of social media and such open and fast communications platforms. It’s jarring to see how easily images, videos, and accounts of war can be shared. Public affairs and communications experts must determine how we can use these platforms to more quickly and accurately provide help and assistance, while sharing actionable insights for policymakers. In 2024, we will see a shift in policy media and conversations on social media platforms.
Bonnie McLaughlin, vice president and public affairs lead at RH Strategic Communications.
PR needs unity with all types of media. PR practitioners will have to be creative and resourceful to attain placements and, generally, rely more and more on a unified mix of earned, owned and paid media. There are several ways this can be achieved in the future, and it all boils down to creating fresh and useful content and finding where and how it can be placed to reach target audiences.
Vicki Bohlsen, president and founder of Bohlsen Group
PR will continue to hone its seat at the mid-to-lower funnel tactic table. PR is no longer siloed as an awareness-focused tactic due to advances in measuring capabilities, making companies see the discipline’s value further down the consumer journey.
Nicole Gainer, AVP at Red Thread PR
While there are still some holdouts, the media and brand exodus from X (formerly and more respectfully known as Twitter) may seal the platform’s fate. Companies don’t want to be locked into high advertisement spending while still running the risk that some jokester can replicate their username and hurt their reputation, like Eli Lilly’s stock. HubSpot also cites in a 2023 report that Twitter has one of the lowest ROIs — in short, the bird has flown the nest and brands will decide they should too.
Jake Doll, VP of PR at BLASTMedia.
Brand founders should feel as open and accessible as influencers. Instead of over-produced content, create organic short-form videos that show the brand’s personality. These also offer the audience a sense of who the founders really are. It goes back to authenticity. Whether social content, a podcast interview, byline or blog post… offering your key audience a look under the hood is sure to be a hit and drive trust and loyalty.
Sarah Schmidt, executive vice president at Interdependence .
Gen Z are becoming more wary and less trusting of influencer marketing on social media, due in large part to a perceived over-saturation of these posts across all major social platforms. While engaging influencers can at times be an effective method for reaching Gen Z, brands that green light a scrappy social media strategy with clever references to trends in “meme-culture” will often have more luck generating awareness and trust with this generation – generally at a lower cost.
Becky Want, account supervisor at Ketchum.
Corporate accountability will continue to increase. We are already seeing it as expectations have moved from simply ‘Has [Company] commented?’ to ‘Does what [Company] said have any actual impact or meaning behind it?’ I personally think this is a positive change and will further challenge companies to evaluate their actual impact and role in a crisis or difficult situation. Audiences are tired of companies simply providing lip service to a topic, and comms pros should be, too.
Natalie Maguire, VP of Comms, GIPHY .