Andy Last

Two macro trends facing most of us today are worth taking a look at and exploring for their impact on how the PR industry and its clients should be thinking about audience.

The rise of the internet has created a level of transparency which is clearly unprecedented.  No longer can corporations hide practices behind a wall of impenetrability.  Recognizing that with transparency comes accountability, businesses are awakening not just to the mandate inherent in transparency but are now having conversations about how to integrate transparency into business.

Second is the reality of climate change.  A generation has now grown up and come of age with the reality of climate change in their lives on a daily basis.  This generation is not just interested in climate change as a sort of abstraction to be considered, but as a fundamental reality which needs to be addressed; one which impacts the decisions they make about the products they buy, the expectations they have of business, and where they are willing to work.

These trends play to agency strengths.  Agencies have an opportunity to lead clients from an era of shareholder primacy to a future of stakeholder primacy.

Agencies should be walking with corporations along this path, communicating from the outside in, and making sure that businesses are managing these trends in thoughtful and authentic ways.  Specifically, we need to make sure that what clients say is proportionate to what they do, and that relevancy to the core drivers of the particular business are emphasized.

Transparency and authenticity aren’t just ideas to pitch to clients, however. The reality is that today young people entering the workforce represent a generation who, for the first time, are insisting that these qualities be present in the workplace in meaningful, tangible ways.

Purpose is not simply a trend — it’s a paradigm shift driven by real-world issues and consumer and workforce pressures.  Purpose won’t fade over time as a marketing tactic, it will increasingly become embedded as a core competency across industries and disciplines. Companies will have to prove they are worth their salt.

To hear more, listen to Andy Last’s episode on the Agencies of the Future podcast.