Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What the New Administration Means for PR

Congratulations President-Elect Obama!

Having lived in the greater D.C. metro area for most of my life, I can see where the new administration is going to have a significant impact - including how government agencies, government contractors and corporations communicate with their constituents, clients and customers.

For what it's worth, here are my projections on how the new administration will impact PR and our cousins in public affairs (Thanks to Ted McKenna (@tedmck), Washington Bureau Chief of PRWeek for Twittering about a story he's working on which inspired this blog post). 

  • Government will be expected to move faster - May not happen overnight, but the Obama campaign and several senate campaigns made such great use of social media and other technologies to disseminate information and keep their supporters informed that the populous will expect to receive information from leaders on a regular if not more frequent basis.
  • "Need to Know" mentality still present but weakened - Traditionally D.C. is a "need to know" town, meaning things are sometimes "above people's paygrade."  While this still applies to key areas of national security, expect to see a more transparent form of government and communications.
  • The dismantling/breakdown of the federal agency/corporate silos - Traditionally (but especially over the last eight years) federal agencies and even departments in corporations have become increasingly isolated.  Cooperation and sharing of information has decreased significantly across all government agencies and some companies.  Expect to see an overwhelming sentiment of cooperation in government (whether it actually happens remains to be seen) and more transparent communications and collaboration tools (think intranet wikis) so different organizations - commerical, non-profit and federal will be able to share information more easily and more timely.
  • Increased demand for communication pros (political or other) with digital/social media experience - I expect to see an increased demand for PR pros who know their digital space. To keep the electorate that elected the new administration motivated, forward-thinking government agencies, contractors and corporations will be looking to hire communication pros that understand the fundamentals of PR and PA as well as how to execute these strategies effectively in the digital world.
  • Government and corporations increase communication budgets - While it may not be on strict communications initiatives, I expect the federal government and corporations to invest more in updating/improving their infrastructure in order to implement digital communication initiatives. More money might be put towards IT capabilities (such as increased broadband for streaming videos; live coverage of government hearings, etc.) and more money spent towards the creation of content for increasing awareness of government programs or corporate marketing initiatives.  I also expect to see increased budgets for internal marketing communications at corporations.
I'll reevaluate my projections 100 days after Obama and the new members of Congress take office.  What changes (if any) do you expect to see in PR/PA with the new administration taking office?

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