by Karan Bhandari
March 23rd, 2016

PR in the simplest sense is directly tied to the publishing business. And publications, fuelled by the mass adoption of the digital medium for content consumption have embraced digital wholeheartedly. PR is now staring at an immense opportunity to come out of the flux and adopt a new set of digital tools.

While we all work hard towards providing more exposure to the client, let’s understand that this medium actually allows us to tell the story with more depth and clarity  While we all clamour to reach out to our cherished audiences, it is worthwhile to take a look at opportunities that will pave the way for changing the way we communicate.

1. “Away with the buffering”
The much touted and soon to be rolled out 4G services are all set to transform mobile engagement and expose us to a completely new ecosystem. The magic here: we’re consuming more and more multi-format, rich media content on our fingertips, on the go.

This means a good opportunity in the sense that our age old media relations experts get more reasons to interact with publishers and journalists weighed down by the pressure of filing stories and in multiformats. The smarter professional is already moving into assets beyond the press release to engage and deliver more.

Videos, all being made to go viral, will now start to achieve a sense of purpose. We will need to look at platform adoption and audience segmentation for a refreshed content strategy. What’s on YouTube is not necessarily the best thing to be put up on Snapchat. Periscope will provide brand journalism, real-time rich media opportunities that were restricted largely to sci-fi movies.

2. “Pictures speak a thousand words”
Emojis have taken the messaging ecosystem by storm and brands are already realizing the power of these innocous little creatives. Emojis add the fun twist to self publishing allowing brands to speak in the language of their audiences.

For India, being the land of multiple vernacular languages, emojis present a wonderfully creative way to express interactive messages. People are shifting to more personalized real-time communication on messaging applications and with 136 million social media users and 116M mobile social users across India, every brand should have a strategy for reaching consumers in this channel. Smarter brands who climbed the bandwagon early, moved into customised emojis. The government’s much publicised “Make in India” campaign also got its very own emoji. Emojis are increasingly being used to fill in the gap where text can’t tell or rather emote the entire story.

3. “Move aside Holodeck and Captain Picard”
Virtual Reality (VR) is now a reality. I have an almost insane fanboy moment as I write this. VR headsets like Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive will be THE gadgets for this year.

While video exploded storytelling, VR will add a dimension to leapfrog storytelling into an immersive experience. Audiences do not need to ride shot gun while brands tell their narrative, there is an immense opportunity for them to be a part of that narrative. Imagine a global media launch for a product but done entirely on VR gear. Now here’s something that actually gets you media attention.

VR gives PR the perfect opportunity to experiment with fast growing technologies that satisfy the needs of audiences – be it media or the end consumer. There is great merit in exploring VR as means of the next frontier for storytelling, with something in store for all stakeholders.

The fact of the matter is, PR and brand narratives have evolved to include digital communication. The bottom line being we need to see big changes in way we communicate to remain engaged with our audiences who are hyperconnected.

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