Public affairs in 2025: external & internal environments

July 12, 2013

2025

This is a visual that appears as an interlude or concluding slide in many of my presentations. Wild conjecture perhaps, but it summarises two areas where public affairs in 2025 will, I believe, look very different.

External environments

Now, policy-makers and those that influence them are often absent from social media, except some notable exceptions, especially in the tech sector (e.g. Neelie). In 2025, most of them will be active: social will be ubiquitous, and politicians in particular will be expected to engage in the name of transparency. Beyond what’s expected of them, they’ll probably be all over social in any case: generation Y will be at the helm. In public affairs, anyone seeking to build relationships with policy-makers and their ilk will thus need to be active too.

Internal environments

Now, communicators within organisations, including public affairs professionals, still largely control channels of communication. In 2025, social media will be omnipresent inside most organisations i.e. all employees will be active and highly connected and communications will not be able to exert full control. Nor should they. Why? Social isn’t just a means to communicate for purposes of communications (PA, PR, brand marketing etc.) It can also support innovation, product development, talent development and more through engagement with peers within and beyond an organisation. Meanwhile, being an “employee” will mean something far more fluid than at present. Depending on their networks and abilities not related to their core competence at work, employees with no specific PA remit may be your best PA people; those with no marketing remit your best marketers. PA and marketing (and whatever else) thus becomes an exercise in training and guidance as much as actual execution.

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