What’s on the Horizon for the PR Industry? 

PR agency professionals discussing the future of the public affairs and PR industry in Scotland.

Last week, Pagoda account executive, Deborah Meikle attended the inaugural CIPR Horizon Event in London, on behalf of CIPR Scotland’s Future Leaders Forum. Here, Deborah shares a summary of what was discussed and the key takeaways from the event. 

Have you ever considered the impact of the ‘influencer parents’ of today? Are you terrified at the thought of AI in PR? Do you communicate with a purpose, or do you communicate to disrupt? Do you know the difference between being rundown and being burnt out?  

These were all questions that were discussed in depth at the first ever CIPR Horizon event. With a focus on looking to the future of the PR industry, this event was a great opportunity to hear not only from influential up and coming voices, but also to get a sense of what well-established practitioners are predicting for the next generation.  

I was delighted to see that the key underlying topics of the day were diversity and inclusion; sustainability; AI and the comms expectations of the next generation – all of which I have already started to encounter since starting my career two years ago.  

Here are my takeaways on each of the topics: 

Diversity and Inclusion 

Diversity in communication campaigns needs to start with authentic conversations. To avoid tokenism and achieve authenticity, the process of how the campaigns are formed – and who is involved – is more important than focusing on what you want your outcome to be. If you make sure this happens, a successful outcome will follow.  


First and foremost, communication professionals need to decide whether an organisation is ready to communicate sustainability messages. This can only happen with open collaboration with relevant teams and being prepared to ask for and challenge empirical scientific evidence. Then, it’s crucial to ensure that the comms is telling a story of action and accountability.  

AI in PR 

AI strikes fear in many professionals, not to mention the general public.  Katie King would tell us otherwise. It all comes down to preparation – realising how AI can help your PR practice, and deciding what you want it to achieve. By not doing so, you risk being left so far behind that you can’t come back. For example, we should be thinking about how AI can enhance and personalise campaigns in a way like never before.  

Gen Z and Alpha 

Jay Richards posed the following statement: “Parents as influencers is a scaled-up version of the childhood celebrity.” Essentially, just as many child stars were put into the public eye by their parents – their lives readily available for the world to watch. Influencer parents are giving their child an online identity, taking away their virtual privacy. Jay went on to discuss what the potential mental health impacts this can have on children, as well as the level of exposure they are at risk of.  

Concluding thoughts 

By investing in discussions around the evolving nature of the PR industry, young professionals like me can see that there is room for and value in our voices. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this annual event continue. 

I am grateful to have attended this even on behalf of CIPR Scotland’s Future Leaders Forum.  

The Forum was launched to nurture and inspire talent in the communications industry. This network of young PR, media and industry professionals has members from all over Scotland and includes representatives from leading agencies and brands. 

To find out more about the forum, click here


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