"Public relations (PR) as an industry is undergoing significant transformation, driven by technological advancements and strategic shifts. According to a 2023 report , social responsibility (including CSR and DE&I) has taken centre stage, with AI and technology a close second. Another trend that is slowly catching up is data-driven PR, with a focus on narratives that are ground firmly in facts and numbers. Understanding these emerging trends, fostering collaborative strategies, and building up diverse skill sets will be critical for PR professionals to thrive in 2024 and beyond".
1. How did the company perform in the year 2023?
A. It’s been another year of growth and milestones for Star Squared PR. We kicked things off with a brand new look and logo at the start of 2023 along with a world-class website to match. The new look reflects our evolving identity as a strong, trusted PR partner - we chose red and white as our colours to reflect the fast pace of growth as well as the veteran experience that we bring to each campaign.
Speaking of campaigns, we’ve continued to attract high-growth clients every quarter with most of them coming through referrals. In addition, our existing clients continue to trust us and many of our partnerships have been with us right from our inception. Most of our clients - both regional and global - come to us organically or by word of mouth, reflecting the brand equity that we continue to enjoy. Industries like technology, education and healthcare had an especially strong performance this year, and we were glad to add many leading brands from each to our portfolio.
And last but not least - our talent is our greatest asset, and we were pleased to add several quality team members across sectors. Many of our colleagues have been with us since the beginning, and we hope to continue that trend. We’ve also received offers from global agencies for partnerships to centrally handle the global content and messaging mandate out of India. This bears testimony to our unrelenting commitment to high quality results.
2. What are your plans for the coming year?
A. We have been receiving consistent interest from global brands, blue chip companies and enterprise clients over the years based on the results we’ve delivered. In 2024, we plan to double down on serving them better through the hub-and-spoke model, wherein global agencies count on us to serve any kind of local or regional requirement.
We will also continue to invest in our talent, not only by hiring more extensively but also by investing in upskilling them. Markets are evolving rapidly and it’s vital to stay on top of the latest trends, especially the newest developments in technology. We also plan to invest in better enterprise tools for our team’s benefit, including stronger IT infrastructure and advanced media monitoring tools.
3. What PR trends do you see in the next year?
A. Technology is at the forefront of all market growth today, and we see this playing a key role in the PR and media industry as well. ChatGPT and AI have already revolutionised our sector and will continue to do so - it is on us as PR professionals to understand what these changes mean, what the potential pitfalls may be, and how we can use AI judiciously to the industry’s benefit.
We also anticipate a shift from transactional and commoditised PR to more high-value, strategic PR. At the heart of this lies the development of quality narratives that the journalist community will understand and trust. The goal is to build a symbiotic bridge with the media, one built on the basis of trust and professionalism. This will ensure that brands get exactly the kind of coverage that will bolster their reputation the most.
4. What according to you is the recipe for success in PR?
A. I think PR is all about collaboration. Successful PR campaigns are born from creative collaboration - not just with the servicing teams, but also with the clients. Working with the media is all about collaboration too, for which a prerequisite is having quality pitches and trustworthy content - which again, is the outcome of excellent teamwork. So in a way, it’s all a feedback loop. Building the infrastructure for this is a daunting task, no doubt, but PR teams that invest in efficient teams, robust processes and a scalable growth model will see the benefits sooner than later.
5. What kind of talent do you see as being crucial for this industry? Do they need to upskill themselves?
A. There are various skill sets that one needs to be a top-notch PR professional. This ranges from writing, to networking, to knowledge of the media space, the marketing space and much more. Overall, though, I would say the most fundamental skill set is writing and communication, since communication is at the very core of our business. Many of our team members in SSPR are former journalists, and we also have colleagues with degrees in marketing and mass media.
Another crucial skill set is the ability to stay updated on and quickly absorb new trends. The PR industry is constantly evolving - even ten years ago, online news wasn’t that important, and now it dominates the space. The pandemic has brought about its own flurry of changes, with video conferencing and podcasts taking over what used to be routine face-to-face interviews. Moreover, it’s not just about the old giving way to the new - digital media, outdoor events, print media, radio, television and all other forms of media can all play a critical role depending on the business category and the target audience. The best PR professionals will thus understand how all of these work, individually and in sync, and will know how to create the best media mix for each context.