Hello all,

And…we’re back! It’s hard to believe we’re scant weeks away from the start of a new year. Here at PPMG, everything is coming up roses and we’re thrilled to finally share a special project with the world. But let’s talk about 2016 for a minute. It’s safe to say that this year was a bit… different than years past.

Oh sure, some things remain wonderfully consistent in the PR world. We’ve learned of course that nearly every social media platform is just a couple of missteps away from becoming the next MySpace, and that companies need to evolve with their audience; that authentic, creative marketing doesn’t mean you have to treat people like idiots; that many of us would still put money on Apple in a fight against just about anyone; and that the role of the modern-day CEO requires an unprecedented level of transparency, integrity and empathy in communicating with stakeholders.

But in 2016, seemingly every new technology introduction seemed to be on the verge of transforming the world. Every buzzworthy creative campaign touched on the seismic shifts taking place in our culture. The world is more connected than ever, and yet we are collectively more in danger of data leaks and more fiercely protective about our privacy than ever. Never before have all of these forces collided so forcefully while leading up a presidential election.

As is our tradition at PPMG, we come up with our own annual list of defining moments for our industry. This is an unusually difficult task specifically because it forces us to exclude all of the sensational flash-in-the-pan news items that flood our news feeds. We consider events and news items based on their implications, such as the lessons learned, or a lasting impact on our industry. As such, we didn’t include headline grabbers like Ryan Lochte and Kim Kardashian. In PR speak: yes, they generated a lot of media impressions but it didn’t go any deeper than that.

And so, without further ado, we present The Pollack PR Marketing Group’s Defining PR Moments of 2016.

  • Privacy Battle – Apple vs. the FBI set a precedent that customer loyalty and privacy shouldn’t be overlooked
  • Cover Boy – Brands are changing the way they are messaging products, making way for gender-neutral marketing
  • Catch ‘Em All – The Pokemon GO app showed PR practitioners that augmented reality can be a tool
  • Social Spectacle – Social media platforms need to update content and features to keep from being antiquated
  • Paid Influence – Social media celebrities cashed in, but marketers began to question the influencer marketing bubble
  • Machines Rising – From automated shopping to customer support chatbots, brands invested in AI to reach customers
  • Got Hacked – Digitization has yielded increased data breaches from sources like Wikileaks and The Panama Papers
  • Sinking Ship – The respective CEOs of Theranos, Mylan, Fox News, Samsung, Wells Fargo and Volkswagen eagerly await 2017
  • Blurred Lines – Traditional and new media platforms continue to merge, and challenge brands to break through the marketing landscape
  • Under Pressure – Post–presidential election, Facebook and Google are under fire for facilitating the sharing of fake news