Digital disruption has induced ongoing cultural and societal transformation, redefining the public relations landscape. Adapting to this pace of change, communication professionals are tasked with not only being strategic in their messaging but also determining innovative channels through which to deliver the most efficacious results for their clients.
Consumers demand more relevant targeted digital content. Digital solutions are readily available (Venuto, 2016), opening opportunities for public relations professionals. As the consumer dictates these new conversations, the messaging must evolve to cut through the clutter (Rubel, 2016). With the diversity of these new communication media, new networks evolve, developing into network ecologies (Yang, Taylor, 2015). The ability to share information has transformed at lightning speed, demanding all industries keep pace (Schmidt, 2010). With each successive wave of digital convergence, public relations professionals must expect, and adapt to, the disruption as a part of the overall strategy (Evans, Becerra, 2015).
Technology is progressively more personal and collaborative (Elasser, 2014), disrupting the way in which consumers communicate; to become a viable piece of the consumer’s personal reality, public relations practitioners must join the digitally savvy in their conversation. The increasing layers of technology allow the combining of what is real and what is virtual (Evans, Becerra, 2015), enabling new architecture to be developed to strategically engage with stakeholders. As an industry, public relations must utilize preemptive self-disruption (Schrage, 2016) to stay at the top of its game and maintain client relevancy. Therefore, as the world becomes increasingly connected, so must branded communications. As the social network ecologies change (Yang, Taylor, 2015), delivering meaningful and authentic experiences with the brand story as the center of the conversation through integrated cross-channel strategies delivers a more persuasive message to be heard amid the noise (Active, 2015). This paper explores the digital disruption of public relations and the new demands for agility within the profession. As media continue to converge, more challenges and opportunities arise (Rubel, 2013).