The public relations expert in today’s times must be a businessperson first. Without a thorough knowledge of how to perform successfully in business, the practitioner not only will fail to sustain his or her own business but will also be unable to understand the needs and goals of the client.
Especially in today's exceedingly complex world, it is inappropriate and shortsighted to view the public relations specialist's role simply as that of a celebrity's press agent whose job it is to get the client mentioned in somebody's column. That is a far cry from the varied and multiple complex problems that the public relations experts of today's corporations must encounter.
Today's professional public relations person must have skills in dealing with many facets of life. Life has become so complex that problems are no longer easily placed in separate compartments to be dealt with by individual specialists. This does not mean that in understanding aspects of contemporary psychology, the public relations specialist intends to act as a consulting psychologist. However, he or she must be able to help both clients and the general public to better decipher the great amounts of information that is made public every day.
The rapid-fire pace of the media cycle and how quickly the Internet responds is a primary example of the revolutionary advances in communications that the public relations expert, his or her client, and much of the public must understand. With an increasingly aging American population that did not grow up in the digital age, coupled with more leisure time for most baby boomer adults, the public relations expert must be ready to help people understand and deal with the technological and social changes in their lives. Even in our current cultural moment when companies like Netflix have entered our collective vocabulary as verbs, PR experts are nonetheless faced with the task of influencing the public’s opinions and actions towards better embracing these technologies. Despite their oftentimes disruptive potentials to existing economies and industries, these new leaders depend on PR specialists for their brands and businesses to broaden and cultivate the public’s understanding of and reception to such new forms of technology as self-driving cars, social media, and so much more. New changes in communication media have also come with new changes in how PR specialists can approach company and brand management. They can more effectively analyze audience perception and interactive brand engagement with social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.
The permutations associated with one's choices in television viewing were at one brief moment, mind boggling—novel even. We once reveled in the thought that through the use of cable, a person sitting in his or her living room in rural Montana can watch a live sporting event from New York's Madison Square Garden! We have now moved so far beyond this, and in such a short period of time, that many of the technological concepts we are presented with now primarily deal with grappling with the power of artificial intelligence and coming to terms with the constant evolution and influx of communication media. Whereas these were once simple probabilities of the future projected by science fiction writers, they are now realities with which we must contend. For PR specialists, this presents a unique opportunity for them to gain the public’s trust in an innovative product while working to further important advancements in technology.
With today's miraculous communication advancements come complicated choices that all of us must understand and learn to make while wielding such powerful tools of communication media. Consequently, the well-trained, hard-working, and skillful public relations specialist should have virtually limitless opportunities to wield social communication tools to their benefit and for the greater benefit of us all.