Talán legtöbbször az „adat” szót használta Sebastian Hesse és Kyoko Fujii a PR Herald körinterjújában, amelyben 5 kérdést tettünk fel a német Big Bang & Whisper kommunikációs ügynökség alapítójának, és a The Holmes Report 2018-as pr-ügynökségi rangsor 48. helyén szereplő japán Dentsu PR egyik vezetőjének.
A szakemberek megegyeztek abban, hogy mindkét országban nő a pr-re fordított költségvetés, a pr-es szerepe pedig erősödni látszik. A jövőben a pr-szakemberek számára nélkülözhetetlen készségként Hesse a marketing tudást említette, mert szerinte „PR is marketing, but the gentle way.”

What are the 3 most well known/well defined PR trends in your country?

Sebastian Hesse:
1. GDPR (EU’s General Data Protection Regulation) largely influenced PR professionals this year in Germany. The laws affect PR consultants in agencies as well as PR professionals in any company on large scale, as PR is not press and therefore not excluded from the GDPR regulations. This led to some uproar in the „PR community“.

2. Mobile demands local – with an increasing use of smartphones, much more than desktop computers, PR needs to lead in mobile communication with multiplicators – meaning Chatbots, Messenger-Services etc. are required already today for successful relationship management with influencers, media and customers.

3. Fake News – nearly half of the citizen of Germany does not fully trust media anymore. Many customers focus rather on personal recommendations than an expert opinion in media. PR needs to take a leadership role in re-establishing this trust in media by providing valuable information than nicely wrapped advertising messages or even fake news. Understanding our ethical responsibility influences the whole PR industry, already today.

Kyoko Fujii:
1. As people in Japan (as in other countries) increasingly consume information on social media, the importance of social media influencers continues to grow (although traditional journalists are still essential to PR professionals).

2. When executing marketing communications campaigns, more brands now think about integrating corporate communications as well. As more brands and businesses focus on mid- or long-term performance rather than short-term goals, campaign results are measured according to brand purpose and social purpose in addition to business purpose.

3. More PR professionals rely on data when building strategy and providing advice to their clients. Data-driven PR will become the standard in the near future.

What will be the necessary skills of PR professionals in the next 5 years? (connecting research)

Sebastian Hesse:
Marketing knowledge – as PR and marketing grow even closer together, PR professionals have to have a good marketing background. They need to understand why they are doing what they are doing. PR is marketing, but the gentle way.
Legal topics – GDPR regulations affect most companies and PR people have to have a solid understanding about good practice when it comes to personal data. Handling personal data of client’s customers or even journalists has to be fully in line with national and international privacy data protection regulations.
New technologies – PR professionals have to be ready to adapt quickly to emerging technologies. Big Data is here already, we need to understand how to read it.
Artificial intelligence and blockchain technology will influence how PR work is done in the future – because PR has to follow communication trends, not vice versa.

Kyoko Fujii:
We think that strategic planning, social media literacy, multimedia content development, data and analytics, and business literacy are the essential skills for PR practitioners in the next five years.
We are being approached by an increasing number of new clients from the emerging business market, and it is critical that we rapidly learn new business models and technologies in order to create and provide relevant services for these clients.

Is the budget size of PR decreasing, increasing or stagnant nowadays?
Sebastian Hesse:
I feel the budgets are slightly increasing in the German market, as companies understand that traditional advertisement is not enough anymore. They see the need to engage with their audience. And engagement is best done with good storytelling.

Kyoko Fujii:
Where our clients are concerned, budget size is increasing. Please also see PRSJ survey which shows that the market is growing in Japan. 

Is the role of PR professionals becoming stronger, weaker or is it stagnant?
Sebastian Hesse:
The role of witty communicators increased, yes. But I am not sure if this is what we call PR anymore. PR is not the same like 5 years ago. PR became much more, a communications mixture, mixed specifically for each target group and multiplicator. It feels like in a communications laboratory. The role of communications inventors became stronger.

Kyoko Fujii:
The role of PR professionals is becoming stronger. PR is now being incorporated in more communications campaigns.

How do you usually measure and evaluate the short term and long term effectiveness of PR?
Sebastian Hesse:
Clearly measuring PR effects remains one of the most difficult tasks. Usually clients only pay for basic media monitoring and clipping reports. They do understand that a clipping of any media coverage does not say anything about the effect on marketing leads or even sales, but limited budgets do not allow for further research. The typical ‚How did you find out about X‘ customer relations questions are quite useful, but not ideal. A more elaborated use of ‚modern’ tracking pixels would help to proof PR effects, but this requires some data analytics on client sides – and these extra efforts are often not budgeted.

Kyoko Fujii:
Last year, we developed our own model for measuring PR effectiveness, the Reputation Matrix®. This is a quantitative and qualitative evaluation framework integrating both traditional and social media in addition to target audience interviews and focus groups.

A PR Herald két évvel ezelőtt már intézett kérdéseket Hesse-hez és Fujii-hoz; az írás itt olvasható.