365 days from PR to new mum and back again
This time last year I had just said goodbye to my clients and colleagues to start a new life as a mum. 52 weeks and more than a few sleepless nights later here I am back in the office trying to catch up on everything that’s happened since I left, but where do I start?
Now I like to think that I have been keeping abreast of news and business trends. A positive spin on having a baby who’s keen on 6am starts (or earlier) is that I’ve been able to listen to the entire three hours of Radio 4’s Today programme on a daily basis and at least start the day feeling extremely well informed. But that’s not enough. PR – and PR for the mobile industry at that – is unbelievably fast paced and the landscape has changed dramatically both for my clients and for me as a PR professional.
In the year that I’ve been away, for example, the mobile world has seen widespread deployment of LTE networks, with 209 predicted to be commercial by year end by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). This move towards 4G, improved 3G coverage and the increasing popularity of Wi-Fi offload has enabled a whole new level of mobile interactivity and content consumption. Supported by huge penetration of ever more sophisticated devices such as the iPhone 5 and the increasing popularity of the tablet, which is expected to generate huge Christmas sales and take off as a leading form factor next year, 2012 really has seen mobile take over from the desktop and laptop. Indeed, the rise of the tablet and the smartphone before it now means we live in a world where users expect to access the same services and experiences, whether browsing, communication, commerce or video, irrespective of the device or their location.
Couple this mobile growth with the evolution that has taken place in social media over the past 12 months, and indeed the way in which social network interactions have been impacted by the mobile device, and we are facing a new playing field for communication strategies. Businesses now have more options than ever to reach their target audience and a new set of rules for doing so. Mobile sites and apps are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but an essential part of any communications strategy. Social media, once an add-on to many PR campaigns and run fairly separately, is (or should be) firmly integrated into any comms plan. The growing popularity of newer additions to the social landscape such as Pinterest and Google+ has necessitated a multi-platform and integrated approach rather than a token facebook page or Twitter feed. And as social media interactions have become a mainstream and trusted means of interaction with brands, it seems that in-house communication teams are finally starting to understand the importance of the buy-in and participation of their executives – particularly in B2B communication.
So a year on and I find that there’s a lot to learn, re-learn and start putting into practice for clients old and new. This may be a slightly daunting prospect at times but I’m discovering that it’s also a really good thing – forcing me to take a step back and adopt a fresh approach, looking at old problems with new eyes. Maybe everyone should take a year out every now and again?!