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Inkhouse, a full-service communications and marketing agency, joined the BerlinRosen Holdings network in 2023 to expand both agencies’ capabilities and support clients on the next phase of technological advancement across artificial intelligence, climate tech, healthcare and more. 

Beth Monaghan, Inkhouse’s CEO & founder and Jonathan Rosen, BerlinRosen’s principal & co-founder share insights on the biggest trends shaping the future of PR and communications.

How is The media landscape changing in 2024?

BETH: We’re watching what happens to X, of course, but aside from that, we’ve seen a massive shift from social feeds being driven by friends to algorithms. In 2024, we will likely see a clarifying of purpose for brands and thought leaders on social media — knowing your goals helps narrow your focus for posts. Is it to drive sales? Hire? Build community? Who’s in your online community and what do they care about? Are you posting about world events or are you staying focused on your business? And if those two intersect, how will you handle it? We have some questions you can ask to help determine how you’ll engage.

JONATHAN: The landscape is absolutely in flux – we’ll continue to see social media algorithms change – to the detriment of publishers and legacy media. AI-driven content creation will overwhelm people’s feeds and increase the demand for trusted sources. We’re firmly in the information overload era and with that, not only earning trust but sustaining your audience’s attention will be key to breaking through. The cost of creating bad irrelevant content has gone to zero – whether it’s a byline on LinkedIn or a fake article on Sports Illustrated. What that means is people are going to seek out and value relevant content – not automated responses created by generative AI. The key for any communicator in this era is to know what your audience cares about and to deliver that to them. That’s the only way at this moment to cut through the noise and establish lasting connections. 

AI continues to be one of the biggest topics of conversation. What role do you see it playing in the future of communications?

BETH: AI promises to help us and hinder us. Mostly, we’re excited about it — we specialize in tech PR. The biggest thing we’re watching for is the proliferation of unreliable content that’s indecipherable from trusted sources. Right now, it’s easy to spot, but this will get more difficult. Reliable sources will continue to fact check and use AI to help with research, early draft structure and more. This, though, will amplify the need to demonstrate credibility and authority in your content, which means your owned content that lives on your social channels and website will take on greater importance. 

JONATHAN: AI really is a tool, and it’s our job as communicators to best harness the technology in service of clients. AI can be exceptionally helpful to drive efficiency at the initial stages of ideation, identifying trends or simplifying tedious processes  – but in the era of information overload as consumers are overwhelmed with content – a brand or organization’s strategic approach to reaching and engaging consumers is something that can’t be automated. As the media landscape gets ever more Darwinian, companies will increasingly need to communicate with a strong, strategic point of view that demonstrates a deep understanding of diverse stakeholders – everyone from consumers and employees to customers and the broader business community. 

What are clients’ evolving expectations from their PR and communications agencies in today’s fast-paced, digital-first world?

BETH: Over the past decade, PR agencies have increasingly taken on the role of strategic advisor. Sure, we’re also arms and legs for tactics, but the stakes for communications are higher than ever, and very often we’re working with boards of directors, CEOs, DE&I teams and lawyers to help determine the best strategy for a company in good and difficult times alike. 

JONATHAN: Partnership. Regardless of the challenge or opportunity, clients expect deep strategic partnership from their PR teams – and while that certainly means delivering on KPIs, it also means innovative solutions, industry thought leadership, creative thinking and often, challenging the status quo. There is also a trend of companies streamlining internal teams and consolidating agencies – meaning that strategic but also flexible partnerships are more important than ever. 

It’s why we’re building a network that allows us to partner with clients at any point – from regulatory challenges and public affairs to digital strategies like influencers or advertising campaigns to reach new audiences combined with high quality design and video capabilities to bring their stories to life. 

How do you see the role of traditional journalism in today’s media landscape?

BETH: The advent of AI and misinformation online combined with the banning of news links from many social media sites, is creating an atmosphere of confusion for everyday people. TikTok has become a primary source of news, which is often being delivered by influencers who do not abide by the journalistic code of ethics — fair and balanced reporting. As a society, we need this more than ever and I’ve seen interesting new models pop up like our client, The Markup, to apply journalism to today’s issues such as how algorithms shape our experience and perception of the world. Earned media is still one of the best ways to establish credibility and journalism has extended to newsletters and podcasts, two areas in which we’ve evolved our media relations practice over the years.

How do you see the importance of owned content in the current communications landscape?

JONATHAN: Owned content that is not only authentic but relevant for audiences will become even more important as consumers are continuously bombarded with unreliable SEO sponcon masquerading as media. Companies need to leverage their owned content to build brand credibility, as Beth mentions above, but also as a way to engage their target audiences and build demand for their services and offerings. The key for good content is to answer an audience’s question – tell them what they want to know – not what you’re trying to sell.

A big reason why we decided to partner with Message Lab is not only their unparalleled approach to content development, but also the ability to measure the effectiveness of content across several channels. Understanding everything from which headline and image work best to how many pieces of content someone needs to see before they take action allows us to curate and market content efficiently – driving relevance for our clients.  

Jonathan Rosen, a principal and co-founder of the strategic communications firm BerlinRosen. With offices spread across the United States and Europe, Rosen has become a leading figure in the world of PR. His expertise and leadership have helped shape BerlinRosen into one of the most impactful agencies in the nation and launched BerlinRosen Holdings, a forward-thinking holding company comprising seven firms, each bringing a unique set of expertise to tell the stories of the biggest brands and organizations of today. With deep expertise in strategic communications, public relations and crisis management, Jonathan Rosen from BerlinRosen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.

Beth Monaghan, a PR veteran responsible for leading and founding Inkhouse. Monaghan’s experience stretches wide, with a particular focus on leveraging storytelling to create compelling narratives for brands. As the CEO of Inkhouse, Monaghan has grown the agency into one of the fastest-growing strategic communications firms in the nation with 130+ employees in seven major cities with hybrid and fully remote employees across 16 states. Named one of the “Top Women in PR” by PR News, Beth is working to reinvent the PR agency model to bend it toward the kind of culture that catapults great ideas and jettisons the rules that no longer work.

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