Awards season has arrived in the public relations community. This time of year is filled with high-fives and pats on the back as we soak up the honors and recognition of our work from the previous year.

This month, the Three Box team attended PRSA Dallas’ Pro-Am Day luncheon and Pegasus Awards ceremony. We were thrilled to win a Pegasus Award for our creation of Irving Flood Control’s educational program for local students (view case study), as well as an Award of Honor for our campaign promoting Dallas Summer Musicals’ THE LION KING (view case study).

In addition to networking and award presentations, the afternoon included a presentation from the Director of USC Annenberg’s Center for Public Relations and Chairman at Golin, Fred Cook.

The room was filled with an assortment of PR professionals. Many were fresh out of college, just starting out in their career while others were seasoned pros, the backbone of the PR community in Dallas. The presentation focused on the metamorphosis of media. He focused on three main topics:

  • Paid and earned media

  • Expected change in the PR industry

  • The evolution of ethics

I wasn’t sure how one presentation would be appropriate for such a mixed audience, but I quickly realized the constant change in this industry makes these topics relevant for all.

The 87 percent change in media landscape and the 82 percent change in new technology are the main factors driving a shift in the PR industry, with social media and influencer relations playing a large role. In today’s day and age, social media is taking over. Social media platforms are an excellent place to promote a client, network among colleagues and advertise. Presently, earned media is the leading source of revenue for agencies, but is projected to decrease over the next five years.

In addition to addressing the changing industry, Cook shared on the evolution of PR ethics. 48 percent of people surveyed from agencies, in-house firms and universities say the public’s image of public relations is somewhat unethical. 40 percent of people say the industry will become somewhat more ethical over the next five years. Cook then highlighted what different companies consider to be ethical practices. For example, many PR professionals said they would not represent fire arm companies or organizations, politicians or tobacco products. Due to the world we live in, it is extremely important that your company has its own set of ethics to keep in mind when deciding on new clients or representing ones currently in your portfolio.

The presentation was appropriate for both the new professionals and the seasoned pros. As a recent graduate, I know the ends and outs of social media, but I was less knowledgeable on the subject of ethics and the evolution of the industry. As a more experienced PR pro, however, you know a thing or two about the importance of ethics when choosing to partner with new clients, but social media may not be your strong suit. Regardless of how far along you are in your career, knowing and understanding the industry changes that will occur over the next few years is important to the success of you and your company.