In the fast-paced realm of public relations, 2024 is set to be a year of pivotal shifts and challenges. PRovoke Media’s annual trend analysis has distilled these changes into seven critical areas that are poised to significantly impact corporate and brand communicators.
AI Integration and Ethical Transparency
The utilization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a central theme in communication strategies. Surveys indicate a doubling of AI usage among US professionals in the past six months, with agencies embracing AI as a key tool for business development. However, concerns about accuracy, bias, and transparency persist, necessitating a commitment to AI ethics. The PR industry is urged to address these concerns proactively, as AI continues to reshape traditional agency models.
Global elections and disinformation challenges
With a staggering 1 billion people across 64 countries heading to the polls in 2024, global elections are set to be a defining moment. Communicators must navigate the complexities of issues such as the climate crisis, health, and human rights amid an onslaught of disinformation. Lessons learned from the tumultuous 2020 elections underscore the need for PR professionals to perfect political, crisis, corporate, reputational, and geopolitical strategies to withstand the challenges posed by disinformation.
Communicators as climate crisis pivotal players
The relationship between communicators and the climate crisis is evolving from a supporting role to a pivotal one. As companies face increased scrutiny regarding their progress toward 2025 targets, communicators are tasked with driving collaboration and action on external factors. Balancing long-term sustainability impact with short-term financial pressures poses a challenge, making collaboration and sharing of learnings critical in finding sustainable solutions.
Battling the surge in disinformation
Disinformation, turbocharged by sophisticated technology and social media, is set to be a defining issue in the political and corporate realms in 2024. The rise of AI-generated fake news websites poses a serious threat, demanding a strategic alliance between IT and PR departments to swiftly identify and combat disinformation. Companies need a robust strategy to counter disinformation aimed at manipulating stock prices and alienating consumers.
Resurgence of organized labor
The resurgence of organized labor, particularly in the US, is a significant trend to watch. In 2023, successful strikes across various sectors highlighted the need for a shift in approach. Companies are expected to move away from a confrontational stance to address employee concerns and communicate more effectively. This creates new opportunities for public relations firms to play a crucial role in facilitating constructive dialogue between employers and employees.
People management in the perfect storm
The year 2024 presents a perfect storm for people management, marked by unresolved post-pandemic questions, fluctuating talent landscapes, and increasing employee expectations. Communicators must grapple with issues such as flexible working, employee wellbeing, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Focusing on personal and professional growth, cultivating empathetic managers, and addressing taboos at the policy level are identified as key strategies for effective people management.
Geopolitical considerations in decision-making
Geopolitical tensions and conflicts are set to have a tangible impact on public affairs and communications decisions in 2024. Elections, trade dynamics, cybersecurity, and supply chains will influence market access, regulatory strategies, and crisis management. Corporations must navigate heightened uncertainty in areas such as ESG and DEI, considering stakeholder concerns that vary based on geographic provenance.
2024 presents a landscape where communicators must adeptly navigate the integration of AI, geopolitical complexities, and societal challenges. Embracing transparency, collaboration, and strategic communication will be essential in ensuring success in the ever-evolving world of public relations.