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The latest innovations in Public Relations in the Namibian landscape

The latest innovations in Public Relations in the Namibian landscape

By Ilke Platt
Founder Poiyah Media.

Showcasing how innovation in Namibia’s business and financial sectors has evolved through a public relations lens is quite interesting, as much has changed in sharing these success stories from a traditional perspective to the latest trends from a Namibian landscape perspective.

In many ways this ongoing digital revolution has been positive; significantly more people are now able to access vast amounts of information and media affordably and quickly via internet platforms around the world.

This growth in media through internet access has been underlined by extensive investments in telecommunication infrastructure and the pervasive spread of mobile handsets. From a Namibian perspective, according to Dietrich Remmert, which unpacks Namibia’s Media: Facing the Digital Challenges, it can be argued that Namibia’s media has not yet undergone a comprehensive and far-reaching transformative disruption process brought about by digitalization.

However, this does not mean that local media houses can be complacent about this phenomenon. Moreso for business owners wondering what these recent advancements in public relations mean for their brand, this article will unravel emerging trends and technologies driving the future of PR so that one can leverage them today.

Comparing the PR landscape from a traditional point of view, traditional PR practices have been around for ages, and even with the rise of digital marketing, they remain a cornerstone of any successful campaign. In Namibia, based on consumer behavior one still sees a need for traditional means. From press releases and media pitches to sponsorships and events, traditional PR is all about building relationships and generating positive buzz around your brand. Therefore, being a cornerstone from a traditional aspect, it will take much longer for this aspect to become extinct. Once more with research conducted locally, Remmert agrees that indeed there are strong indications for adaptation of the transformation of technology on the media landscape, digital media and related challenges are already transforming Namibia’s media landscape.

Various challenges have been faced by Public Relations Practitioners, whereby one of the biggest daily challenges is navigating the evolving media landscape. With social media taking center stage in the modern era, it can be tough to keep up with the latest platforms and trends, let alone develop engaging content for each platform while meeting the target audience’s unique needs. There is so much news online that one can lose audience members if not strategic enough to customize on the right platforms at the right time.

Public relations has witnessed a significant transformation in the last few decades, all thanks to the rapidly advancing technology. PR specialists can now analyze customer behavior up to the most minute details, empowering them to create comprehensive marketing campaigns that deliver results.

May we still be cognizant that it can be argued that Namibian citizens’ use of online media and content is still marginal and limited. Furthermore, online use by many Namibians is constricted due to limited bandwidth access as well as high data costs according to Remmert.

On the upside of the innovation in the PR Namibian landscape, performance can be quantified through statistics in real-time as well as infographics to be more specific on consumer behavior. PR has been flooded with new technology, innovative trends, and progressive strategies in the past few years alone, leading to unexpected developments within this fast-paced arena.

From a local context, Remmert’s research further alludes that traditional media houses have seen their dual markets business model increasingly erode as more and more audiences conveniently access content, predominantly for free online, and advertisers re-direct their budgets to digital advertising.

Botha of NMH (Namibia Media Holdings) stated that 80% of NMH’s readership still made use of print copies and that they had noted that online users were very conscious of the cost of data – preferring at most only very short video clips. So once more speaking from a conservative usage and embracement of technology on the Namibian landscape, milestones have been achieved but much more to be desired.

Digital PR has been a broad term used repeatedly but what does this mean to a PR in the ever-evolving world of public relations to stay ahead well abreastInfluencer Marketing is a game-changing trend we’re seeing in the world of public relations. With social media becoming an ever-more pervasive part of our daily lives, influencers are emerging as powerful voices with whom audiences can directly engage.

Individuals with a following that helps your company target selected audiences to make a buying power decision. Much is to be debated on the quality of these campaigns as for new PRs, this may be a brand exercise that sees no return on investment if not briefed on the look of success of a PR campaign using online influencers.

Quality over quantity is being scrutinized more, as much PR online hype is what remains, and no tangible return on Investment. Measurement of successful PR campaigns using social media influencers should be detailed to a point that influencers understand brand loyalty as well as the buying power that their followers have.

With a buzz of so much content being placed online listening power is of essence to any PR. Social media listening and monitoring is emerging as a critical trend in the world of public relations. With many posting their opinions on social media platforms every day, as PR professionals, there is access to a wealth of information that can inform an organization. By listening and keeping an ear to the ground, one can discover what people say about brands, their campaigns, and their competitors. This also leads to a reputational brand if not monitored and responded to appropriately. As much content is being placed online, there’s room for so many opinions that could tarnish a brand if the product/service is not as good as it is being advertised. PR can not be said without the context of Artificial intelligence and Technology.

As technology advances rapidly, it’s no surprise that Public Relations practitioners are exploring new ways to leverage and make use of it. Algorithms and data analysis are critical, PR professionals can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, tailor messages to specific audiences, and predict upcoming industry trends. The new way of launching products can now be done virtually. With virtual reality (VR) this is possible. These technologies are changing the game in many industries, including public relations (PR).

There are many pros and cons with every new item on the market and therefore it is critical to see the latest trends in your respective market. In Namibia, much of what we do is still felt and sensed to give surety of the quality of the product. As more businesses lean towards virtual selling, Namibians are slowly catching onto these trends; however, decision-making still relies on physical contact. In conclusion, adapting to these new techniques will enhance overall brand reputation through PR.

By embracing the changes in technology, public relations professionals can create a powerful and effective strategy that can drive change and impact. Embrace the emerging trends in PR including digital PR, influencer marketing, social media listening and monitoring, data-driven PR, and artificial intelligence.


 

About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.