Fifteen steps to great communications in 2015

The PRCA has launched recommendations for great comms in 2015, following an in-depth consultation with the PRCA's senior members and PR Council.

1. Learn to communicate with millennials
This new breed of consumer, employee and leader has different values and priorities, enjoys different media and engages with the world in a whole new way. Brands and organisations are going to have to work harder to understand millennials and evolve with them.

2. Personalisation without intrusion
People want information that is relevant to them and that understands them, but they don’t want brands or organisations snooping on them. It is a fine line, but those that get it right will have huge success with their communication campaigns.

3. Use the general election
The general election will see passions inflamed, with younger people taking part in politics and a greater use of social and digital platforms to inform and inspire voters on single issues.

4. It's still all about trust and transparency
Trust in the establishment continues to decrease, but trusted businesses are perfectly judging how transparent they should be. Brands and organisations that are confident and bold enough to ‘open the curtains’ will reap the rewards.

5. Close the say/do gap
The companies and organisations that will succeed are those that do what they say they are going to do. Closing the say/do gap is critical, especially for politicians and CEOs. Reputation management should be woven into an organisation’s culture.

6. Know your CEO/board
Understand the organisation you are working for, and what keeps the leader awake at night. Talk the board’s language: understand and help mitigate risk; talk reputation not just PR.

7. Use solid research and strong insights
Keep focused on insight-driven campaigns that deliver measureable outcomes. Successful campaigns must be grounded in solid research translated into strong insights.

8. Outcomes not outputs
Be highly outcome-focused. Ask the fundamentals: why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve? It’s about more than hits, likes and followers. We need to stop measuring what’s easy and start measuring what matters.

9. Specialise
Today’s senior communicators need an encyclopaedic knowledge of communications, a deep specialism in their respective genre and the ability to seamlessly mix in different content and specialists.

10. Don’t drown in data
The buzz phrase for 2014 was Big Data, but when does data become so big that it is overwhelming? Data is only useful and relevant when used in the right way, so make sure communications campaigns don’t become paralysed in this new world.

11. Earned at the core, but we can do paid too
Organisations want big ideas that can be executed across any media, and that includes paid media – communicators need to have the skill sets to deliver on this promise.

12. Content, content, content
Pictures, animations, videos, gifs, games, cartoons, films – we could go on and on. Bite size, simple and fun – that’s the content that gets noticed and gets shared. Quality content is at the heart of good communications – develop the right content for your audience and put it in the right places.

13. Set failure targets
Try, learn, apply and move on – try unexpected collaborations, enter unchartered waters.

14. Use technology and social in physical spaces
Immerse consumers in brand experiences – and be useful and entertaining at all times.

15. Brands should be consumer-centric
Now more than ever, communications should ask itself: ‘What’s in it for the consumer?’, rather than ‘What’s in it for the brand?’

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