Inaugural report highlights and forecasts PR trends
By Ryan Narramore, PRSA Phoenix executive committee board member and marketing and communications manager for Southwest Human Development.
As at any PRSA Western District Conference, this year’s 2017 professional development retreat to Riverside, Calif., was filled with expert panels and industry-leading speakers who presented on the latest trends affecting the public relations industry.
One such panel – “Staying Relevant in 2017” – was led by Fred Cook, a longtime PR visionary, chairman of the integrated communications agency Golin and director of the Center for Public Relations at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.
Spearheaded by Cook, the USC Center for Public Relations published its first-ever Relevance Report, which reads much like a Chicken Soup for the Soul book (or rather, Chicken Soup for the PR Professional) than a boring whitepaper. Featuring 32 short articles written by professors, students and members of the school’s advisory panel, the Relevance Report doesn’t just graze across the same stats you’ve already seen, but really dives into what’s going on in our industry and what’s on the horizon for our field in the not-so-distant future.
“The Relevance Report is designed to give those studying and working in public relations a preview of what the coming year will mean for our industry, for our society and for our careers,” Cook says in the report’s introduction. “The pieces are brief and insightful and cover a broad range of topics from Cuba to China and from silent films to virtual reality. We hope the Report will become a valuable tool for those who want to remain relevant in one of the fastest-changing global professions.”
Joining Cook on the panel were Relevance Report contributors, including the politically-savvy Jian “Jay” Wang, who is director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy; branding expert (and voice of Barbie’s persona during her break-up with Ken) Deanne Yamamoto, who is Golin’s managing director; and the late-20-something-year-old PR hotshot we’d all like to be, Alex Cohen, who is director of corporate marketing for Apttus.