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IPRN (International Public Relations Network), the global organization of PR agencies L45 has been part of since November 2018, has conducted a survey to better understand the landscape of communication, which is constantly evolving. The research aims to identify the most important trends and changes in the PR sector for 2019, thanks to the answers of the 45 agencies that responded to the survey.

The results that emerged from the research show that the profession of PR is evolving, orienting itself always more towards digital, while remaining fundamental for communication strategies. For L45, which combines in its DNA media relations and digital PR, the IPRN survey is particularly interesting because it confirms how a reality like ours is aligned with the trends of public relations in 2019 (internationally!).

One of the most important points revealed by the survey is that for 58% of the agencies interviewed, digitization is considered as the biggest change in the PR scene this year, with a significant increase of the use of social media and new technologies. Another interesting point shows that 80% of the members of IPRN consider that, with the digitalization of our profession and due to the increase in fake news, loss of trust and the volume and immediacy of news, the values of Public Relations have changed. A more in-depth analysis shows that it is actually the order of importance of these values that has changed: for customers, reliability, transparency and trust become the most important values to communicate in terms of brand reputation this year.

The survey also reveals that, according to PR agencies, social medias will keep on playing an important role in the future. All the IPRN agencies interviewed seem to agree on this point – or at least 95% of them -. In L45, we believe that in order to implement an integrated PR strategy, it is necessary to consolidate digital and social skills. 63% of IPRN members are of the same opinion and plan to strengthen these skills in the coming year, and 74% of the agencies consider that the most important challenge of 2019 will be to integrate digital communication with PR communication.

86% of IPRN members state that their customers expect to have a direct impact on sales through an effective PR communication. In fact, in the digital era, PR activities are always more considered as the centre of marketing activities and strategies – which represents both a challenge and an opportunity -. Although traditional PR activities are changing with digitization, the research shows that PR communication remains a key element for an effective communication plan.

Despite all the changes revealed by the research, one thing remains unchanged: the role of the PR always serves to support and protect the reputation of an organization and to build good relations with its stakeholders.