Constant digital evolution presents many challenges for comms pros

It might seem counterintuitive to have a standalone Digital Issue at a time when pretty much every campaign has a significant digital or social element to it and it has more than crossed the Rubicon into the mainstream.

It might seem counterintuitive to have a standalone Digital Issue at a time when pretty much every campaign has a significant digital or social element to it and it has more than crossed the Rubicon into the mainstream.

However, as our special focus this month shows, digital and social media continue to change and evolve exponentially, and any marketing or communications pro worth their salt needs to be constantly updating their knowledge and skills to remain contemporaneous.

As always with digital, retaining a healthy dose of skepticism is key when addressing new channels, without stifling creativity. Our review of brands' use of Vine and Instagram is a great illustration of this because while there are great examples of smart commercial usage of these micro-video channels, it's fair to say the medium is still in its nascent stages in terms of being an effective marcomms tool.

One of digital and social media's great strengths is its global reach, although that can be a double-edged sword when a negative message is spreading about your brand or corporation. That's where a smart social crisis plan kicks in.

And PR pros need to be aware of the different regional variations in the way social media is treated, as our review of the way conversations are being conducted in Indonesia, Kenya, Qatar, Mexico, and Vietnam shows.

Real-time campaigns or newsjacking may be the special sauce that catches the imagination, but none of this immediacy is possible without a great deal of planning and forethought. Elsewhere in our special report, PRWeek identifies the 20 top influencers who are really worth following when it comes to staying abreast of digital trends. These individuals bear close scrutiny if you want to learn from the best.

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