• What the changing digital environment means for communications

    Connecting people and organisations together is a good communication specialist's forte. With Australia's changing digital landscape, the new challenge is to foster these relationships on various platforms and outlets. Moreover, this has to happen more frequently than in the past. 

    Unfortunately, the large amount of time the population spends consuming digital media doesn't directly equate to quality information. The anonymity of the internet has given rise to increased volumes of  content floating around the web, something that isn't necessarily to an organisation's advantage. 

    Communication experts now need to not only continue developing their skill sets in the traditional sense, but adapt to changing demands of more holistic relationship building. 

    Communication specialists need to better manage relationships in a digital age. Communication specialists need to better manage relationships in a digital age.

    A need for better communication

    Reputation management and relationship building has taken on new importance for organisation across the Asia-Pacific region over the past years. Whether it is regarding government campaigns, crisis management or general market access, those entities with strong local knowledge are forging ahead. 

    The trend for holistic, yet tailored approaches is taking on across brands. According to Jacquelynne Willcox, vice president of communications firm Powell Tate, organisations now look for professionals who they can trust to nurture and manage relationships effectively. 

    The changing demographics – alongside geopolitical developments – now pressure companies and governments alike to respond to the changing environments and do their part to increase their capabilities. More businesses than ever require public affairs teams that are able to deal with the growing demands of lobbying, negotiating and communicating with different audiences across Asia-Pacific. 

    What does this mean for professionals?

    Social media platforms are opening up new avenues for transparency.

    While governments are increasingly critiqued on poor communication, social media platforms are opening up new avenues to become more transparent about public policy. The drivers of these developments, according to Allison Lim, regional managing director for Burson-Marsteller's Southeast Asia operations, are a combination of technology and society changing. 

    At the same time, the digital revolution of the industry means professionals need to learn to effectively leverage concepts such as content marketing and social influencing. More engaged, better educated and wealthier consumers are now the new audience for communication professionals in charge of linking consumers and their organisations. Furthermore, they also need to create the critical connection between stakeholders and an organisation through emotions. 

    Success as a communication specialist for the future will largely depend on the ability to create lasting relationships with different communities. 

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