By Eric Wamanji
Oil may have ruled the 19th Century and powered economies. That’s seems to be a golden era in the distant past. Today we are talking of data. Big Data replaced oil as the critical commodity of our times. But beyond all this, most vital resource so hankered by corporates and politicians alike, is attention. Attention is scarce. Microsoft Canada contents that increasingly our attention is becoming shorter than that of the goldfish!
Yet, everyone- in business, leadership, or social enterprise- needs to influence. They quest for this elusive attention to advance their strategic interests. But then, this attention is scarce occasioned by the overwhelming explosion and deluge of competing information. There is clutter. To much information clutter. How do we become seductive enough to cut through this clutter?
Thus, the centrality of communication to the success of corporates, governments, organisations and individuals cannot be overstressed. The triad of Power, Profits, and Prestige naturally driving our primal instincts, can only be accrued through robust and shrewd communicative enterprises. Communication is the soul of corporates and organizations. It’s the conscience of corporates. In its absence, or pedestrian deployment, organisations degenerate to chaos, lose grip, lose lustre, blunder, and squander their public reputations or image, and therefore, dramatically lose their power in society.
To construct and sustain this edge, the handiwork of an adept communication practitioner is critical. It’s more important in the wake of epic transformation mainly occasioned by mindboggling technology with ubiquity and affordability of the Internet and smart phones.
Sadly, either through ignorance or sheer nonchalance, most organizations still ignore or just pay lip service to the enterprise that is strategic communication. This explains why the struggle in remaining afloat in the market, the struggle in raising an extra dollar for development aid, difficulties in winning public trust and support. In short, organization are struggling because the missing link is strategic communication.
This problem is more pronounced in developing global South than in the developed global North. Yet, integrating communicative designs in corporate architecture should be a no brainer. Still, we are blind to the truism that great communication produces great profits and success.
Our world is undergoing unprecedented change. Every sector is undergoing disruption. And no sector has been disrupted as is communication. The 4th industrial revolution has disrupted the traditional means of communication such TV, radio, Newspapers, Telephony and even postal services.
That’s why, today’s discourses on Public Relations and communication have to be redesigned, refocused and placed within the framework of Information Technology and social context. Technology is indeed reshaping Public Relations and unto us offering emerging trends that are as electrifying as are challenging. In the next few series, I am going to explore a few of these thrilling trends that are affecting the communication and PR industry and what organisations need to take note of.
Excerpt from “The PR Lectures, 2020”