If this country successfully controls the number of post-end-of-year holiday cases, then the endemic era is no longer just a discourse. This change will undoubtedly change the way people move and work, including PR. But what are things that must be prepared?
2022 is just a few days away. A number of hopes and plans have been designed by public relations (PR) practitioners from the reflection and learning from various events in 2021.
A survey by LexisNexis with PRWeek recently showed how vital data was for PR professionals going forward. The survey was conducted on 304 PR respondents from countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, UAE, Egypt, and the United States. As a result, 80% of respondents agreed that data helped improve campaign effectiveness and understand target audience behavior. While 54% of respondents agreed data was invaluable for them to overcome any communication crisis in the first place.
Despite the enormous benefits of data in supporting public relations work, unfortunately, not all public relations practitioners work based on data. As many as 4% of respondents reasoned with budget limitations. While another 27% thought they did not have enough time to obtain and conduct the data collection process within a day.
According to Communication Studies lecturer of the University of Indonesia, Ummi Salamah, the rapid and relatively unpredictable changes exacerbated by the pandemic have required PR to pay more attention to risk-based communication. And the backbone of risk management is data. “Data that is accurate, precise and obtained through the accountable scientific method is the initial step for any organization in making a decision.” Therefore, data measurement and analysis are non-negotiable. Its existence will become more and more central.
Becoming Common Interest
Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific Communication Monitor 2020/2021 research, which involved 1,155 respondents from communication professionals in 15 countries throughout the Asia Pacific, showed more interesting results. A total of 38.1% of respondents agreed that the most important issue for communication management until 2023 is digital evolution and the social web. This was followed by the use of big data and algorithms for communication (36.9%).
The high usage of new technologies raises new concerns for communication practitioners. Because not many PR practitioners have adequate knowledge of communication ethics. Still, based on the same research, 69.9% of the respondents had received training or communication ethics classes only when they were still in college. Meanwhile, 30.1% had never attended any class or communication ethics training at all.
This condition must become a common concern. According to Elizabeth Goenawan Ananto, founder of Ega briefings and a PR INDONESIA Teacher, without ethics, social responsibility, and empathy, PR will only be noted as an enthusiastic amateur, not a PR professional.
From the perspective of government’s public relations, the General Director of Public Information and Communication (Informasi dan Komunikasi Publik / IKP) of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Usman Kansong, assessed that the biggest challenge next year will be to orchestrate public communication agendas so that they are aligned and harmonious. Moreover, Indonesia will host the G-20 Summit. In addition, PR must be able to master the use of communication information technology, the prevalence of miscommunication and disinformation, and efforts to improve nation branding.
Meanwhile, for Bank Indonesia (BI), the pandemic has made them aware that the closed communication model can no longer be maintained. Political conditions and digitalization have also created awareness of the importance of communication as a policy instrument.
The change in the way of working during the COVID-19 pandemic has also been felt by PT Pertamina (Persero). VP Corporate Communication of Pertamina, Fajriyah Usman, highlighted the need for PR to apply six essential communication approaches. Consisting of managing governance and resources for the communication team, identifying key stakeholders, main milestones and triggering events, developing key messages and deal narratives as communication anchors, developing step by step for each milestone, and lastly establishing two-way communication by monitoring, collecting, getting feedback, and adapting.
Different with PT Telkom Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. Next year, the state-owned enterprise will focus more on sustainability issues. Meanwhile, to convince the target audience, they will use the growth story strategy implemented since mid-last year. The strategy is divided into building, borrowing, and buying.
Talking about sustainability, Veve or Verlyana Hitipeuw, CEO and Principal Consultant of Kiroyan Partners, predicts that sustainability communication will become a trend in 2022. “Moving forward, all companies will be increasingly demanded to be more sustainable in all aspects of their business operations. In fact, this claim does not only apply to public companies,” she said.
Meanwhile, Communications Director of Danone Indonesia, Arif Mujahidin, assessed that communication jamming through paid communicators will continue next year. Thus, the boundary between voice and noise must be anticipated through increasingly complex communication strategies. For this reason, PR must be more sensitive in mapping issues that are really of high quality and need to be paid attention to and issues that are deliberately made or are only fictitious.
Meanwhile, according to the Head of Corporate Communications of PT Astra International Tbk, Boy Kelana Soebroto, the essential thing that must be prepared for PR is high tech ability, empathy, and high human interest. These three capabilities will make it easy for PR to gain the trust of stakeholders.
CEO of H+K Strategies Indonesia, Marianne Admardatine, agreed. According to her, PR should focus on storytelling and developing self-awareness skills in the next few years. Self-awareness means strengthening the ability of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) to be more sensitive in doing anything and understanding the impact of these actions on others. And strong in terms of behavior science.
For Vice President Corporate Affairs of Bukalapak’s Sufintri Rahayu, in the future, the public will put more emphasis on content over delivery method. “The public will focus on substantial content such as health, well-being, investment and legacy for their children,” she said.
Deputy Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Public Relations Companies (APPRI), Sari Soegondo, instead sees 2022 as the turning point year towards stability from the pandemic. This condition, in return, will result in increasingly diverse client demands, and thus, PR agencies must be more flexible, fast and responsive in responding to their needs. PR is also forced to master other fields and multitask.
So, are you ready to cross the year 2022?
This article has been published in PR Indonesia magazine 81st Edition, issued on December 2021, pages 6-7.
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