Agencies will provide more value
After seeing three of four major recessions in my long career, they all follow the same patterns as grieving. This one will be no different and the best way to deal with it is to process and skip through the five stages of grief in PR. Getting to acceptance and realising the positives out of this change will mean tech companies realising they do not need massive internal teams to create amazing content and media coverage. That work is better left to the experts. Like us.
PR Consultants will need to consult
Warren Buffet, now displaced as the richest man in the world by techy Twitter owner Elon Musk, famously said the economic tide going out, as it does in a recession, exposes those without shorts on. Large, faceless PR brands and meaningless content will be exposed for the echo chamber chuff it is. The best PR practitioners will excel because they can be honest about the emperor’s new clothes.
Tech Hype fizzle out but true value remains
At the tail end of 2022, we’re all whipped into a frenzy thanks to AI advances like the GPT chatbot, which can do everything from write a student paper to design fantasy interiors. This is not going to stop: the more we see Moore’s Law in action, the harder it is to look away from sci-fi-like disruptions.
In fact, AI is now on our doorstep: some companies allege they can do the work of a full team of PRs with AI (and for under a hundred dollars, somehow). Some of these technologies will change the face of industries as we know them, from academia to content creation, even to media. Technology unchecked can easily be abused, and 2023 will be a good time to remember that some things look too good to be true because they are, and that others, albeit less novel and glamorous, remain as important as ever: dependable reputations, inspiring communications, and human creativity.
The downturn = tech innovation…eventually
The “easy option” to quickly cut costs during a recession is to reduce staff numbers instead of focusing on the real problem – your processes. Automation is often seen as the catchall solution to increasing productivity. Fewer staff means more automation is introduced in an attempt to fix those broken processes at a reduced price. However, if not properly managed it can result in over-investment in tech that isn’t useful or used. Whether made redundant or working extra because of redundancies, problems breed solutions. Expect to see new technologies and solutions next year that might finally fix the productivity puzzle.
PR in 2023 will be all about Personal Relations:
It’s obvious to anyone working in media that the landscape has changed dramatically since 2020. Hybrid work and the disappearance of traditional news desks have made the relationship between journalists and PR executives all the more fuzzy. To get to those elusive journalists, it will be up to the younger PR execs to step up and meet them where they are, whether that’s a DM over Twitter, or going old-school and catching up with them over coffee.