30 August 2019
Keynote address by Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana PRISA Limpopo Region: Gala Dinner, Park Inn Hotel, Polokwane
Good evening to you all on this penultimate day of Women’s Month 2019.
In our current age of globalisation, and technology allowing connectivity more than ever, understanding, engaging and executing communications and PR, becoming more important than ever.
Companies are crossing borders with their messages, media and services (whether it’s an active or passive choice), especially by social media, and the world of online and digital media. – and it is absolutely vital that our industry is prepared to expand with them. But, research shows that previously where we start and develop our PR career as practitioners – geographically – may actually have a stronger impact than we think on our ability to keep up with global expansion and the future of public relations and communications.
The era of globalisation is heightening and if you thought that the industry of public relations and communications is dying – my belief is that this so far from the truth. But, to stay relevant in the field of PR, media, communications, in decades to come – we need to take action for the future now. We must now look to the next horizon, at the completely mind-boggling experiences that will be shaped by a bouquet of technologies like Automation, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics, Cloud, Social, Quantum Computing and Mixed Reality—basically a combination of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality or otherwise known as AR & VR.
My question to all of you PR and communications professionals, are you ready for the world that 4IR brings us?
I have been saying to all industries, and for you specifically, to watch, understand, and look at the gaps that will need to be filled in the future, in your industry and start working on that now. Remember, the world is even more of a global village today and in the future, than it ever has been before, because of our obsession with connectivity, as a human race. A developed and specialist understanding of international markets socially, economically, and politically, as well as insights into global media and PR, will be an invaluable asset in the medium to long term, as this industry rapidly moves forward, and onward.
Communications as the overarching profession will witness massive change, and here, I’m referring specifically to the way businesses ‘talk’ and interact, between themselves, but more so with their consumers. I have made observations since being put in this portfolio, is that Communications is more than a skill or a profession, it is an artform, and creative expression. In the digital age it has evolved and become so multifaceted, opening up the industry to things that were not our reality a mere 2 or 3 years ago, but as rapidly as things have changed, it will change even more rapidly going forward.
Public Relations is now all about a ‘personalised experience’ which is expected to become even more refined and targeted in the future. Businesses will be able to target diverse demographics and personas with content that is customised to what they want, in a very personalised experience with a brand.
Video is the current method of information consumption, and livestreaming is happening just about everywhere on every social media platform, the industry or Public Relations and Communications will also have to expand its vision to include these technologies and others that we have not even heard about as yet, but will be our norm in just a few months and years. My technical advisor on technology, and I have been discussing what the future of communications is, a lot lately, and without a doubt that will be Messaging. Whether its WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, etc … the future of communication lies there. Don’t wait to follow, use this information to lead!
We have to immerse ourselves in Online Reputation Management, as the rise in fake news is not subsiding, Even worse, with the rise of AI, and its advancements, combined with a market that demands videos, there will be very ‘real’ videos created that are fake, and to defend that it is fake will become a futile exercise, unless it’s YOU and your industry steps up and starts looking at the risks now and how to manage the negatives with the advancements of technology, in the era of 4IR.
It’s true we do have challenges to face, but we have more opportunities available. Only if you see it like that, and if you choose to focus on skills development, rather than getting frustrated by the eventualities. In my home province, I have come to celebrate YOU tonight. I believe this industry is just getting started and will be one of the most flourishing industries as 4IR rolls out. Help me to let this industry shine the brightest.
I thank you. Malibongwe!