In Dorit Zimand-Sheiner and Tamar Lahav’s “Plain Old Bess in a different dress? Disruptions of public relations in the digital age,” the researchers examine the viewpoints of public relations professionals from the private sector.
The study identified a series of disruptions, including paid communications tools and advertisements, artificial intelligence, social media, and other new technologies. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the PR profession is undergoing major or minor changes by examining experts’ opinions of disruptions, identity, strategy, and structure.
Using semi-structured, in-depth interviews, six themes emerged: the changes shaping the industry, changes in organization identity, occupational definitions and roles, structural aspects, separating PR communication strategies from digital PR strategies, providing methods, tools, and evaluations, and finally future predictions.
The three main conclusions stem from these the study included: PR agencies are changing their self-identity from media relations to strategic consulting; media disruptions are perceived to be the main cause of the change rather than digital disruptions (although these are interconnected); and public relations may evolve into a distinct, hybrid profession as the all-in-one marketing communications agency.
The full study:
Zimand-Sheiner, D., & Lahav, T. (2022). Plain Old Bess in a different dress? Disruptions of Public Relations in the Digital age. Public Relations Review, 48(5), 102250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2022.102250