By Darren Gilbert

More opportunities to collaborate

During 2015, companies began to look more closely at the idea of collaboration. 2016 will be no different. In fact, according to Gabbi Rego, owner of urban espresso, collaboration will be key: “I think a lot more of the bigger PR agencies and brands are seeing value in collaborating with smaller PR agencies, which is an exciting space for PR to be heading toward.”

This could ultimately lead to even more collaboration between PR newbies/start-ups and “the big guns” in 2016, continues Rego. This can only be good for the industry. After all, every agency has their own unique perspective, approach and ideas. Consider what can be achieved if these skills and ideas are pooled together.

Lizelle McDermot, owner of niche ICT Communications Consultancy, McD Squared, agrees. “As we strive to come up with bigger and better creative ideas for our clients, we cannot let our internal skills limit us.”

Thus, partnering with the right specialist agencies will enable PR agencies to take their ideas beyond traditional PR and social media execution.

More emphasis on creativity

The collaboration and combining of different ideas will certainly lead to one thing: creative executions of campaigns.

McDermot agrees; with the economy under pressure, companies will continue to look for ways to drive down their costs. The first budget to be cut, most often than not, is the marketing budget, says McDermot.

“I believe that 2016 will herald a change for PR agencies in that they will need to be creative in the types of PR that they do if they want to remain relevant and of value to their clients,” she adds. At the same time, clients are looking to achieve more with less, so PR agencies will have to be more flexible and creative in how they execute their campaign.

Regardless of any budget cuts, there is still a need to be more creative. Fortunately, as Vincent Magwenya, CEO of Magna Carta points out, technology has afforded us more opportunities to do just that.

“As the importance of traditional audiences has receded, so technology is giving us opportunities to be more agile and creative from both content and messaging perspectives for the benefit of our clients,” says Magwenya.

Going back to the basics

As much as technology is affording us new opportunities, it would be unwise to discard what has worked before.

Leandi Jamneck and Marisa Logan of Butter Knife PR expect public relations to return to the “old days”, where a big focus was placed on the content and what unique angles could be pitched to media, as opposed to spending budget on big launches, media drops and quirky activation.

“[We believe that] launch events and brand parties won’t be as effective as a few years ago. Media are spoilt with options, so the unique brand offering and content curation is what will sell the story,” they say.

“For a lot of brands, there will be a big emphasis on PR as more companies are realising the importance of leveraging PR for marketing and advertising campaigns,” adds Jamneck and Logan. This, in turn, ties in with the need for collaboration as companies are increasingly looking at PR to support all their marketing efforts, says McDermot.

What are your thoughts on PR in 2016? Do you have any other expectations for the year ahead? Let us know in the comments section below.