Tackling the impact of technology and AI on PR
The march of technology in PR is undeniable. Here’s a plan for embracing innovation in your organisation.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a catch all term to describe technology that simplifies a task for a human being. It’s unhelpful and is contributing to hype and uncertainty around the topic.
I’m frustrated by the polarised nature of the discussion around AI and the lack of critical thinking. Until very recently there was limited discourse in PR in the space between denial and techno-panic.
Technology is impacting PR work in a variety of ways, including the simplification of tasks; listening and monitoring; and automation.
AI goes a stage further. It’s a sophisticated application of technology whereby a machine demonstrates human behaviour or cognitive functions such as learning, analysis and problem solving.
I’d urge you to consider taking a proactive approach to technology within your organisation. Here are some ideas for introducing a culture of innovation. You’ll undoubtedly have your own suggestions to add to this list.
#1 Learning and development
Explore the changes that technology is driving in media and PR. There’s a growing body of knowledge related to AI and the professions. I try and spend at least 90 minutes a day reading, and deconstructing information via my blog.
#2 Join the conversation
There’s a growing conversation around AI in PR. The CIPR #AIinPR panel is hosting a Twitter chat on 3 July between midday and 1pm BST and I’ll be sharing our work during workshops at the CIPR’s Northern Conference. We’re keen to explore where to take the work next.
#3 Investigate the third party tool market
The vendor community is keen to sell into the PR market. As a start point Investigate tools that could help deliver your existing work smarter or more efficiently. Listen to vendor pitches and ask to trial tools for yourself.
#4 Make and break, test and learn
The current wave of innovation is creating a huge variety of new channels for public engagement. These include messenger bots, voice marketing and image recognition. Appoint people within you organisation to investigate different forms of technology, and the opportunity to create new services.
#5 Competency and skills for the future
The work of the CIPR AI in PR panel on skills versus tech shows the clear march of technology in our business. However there’s a protected subset of skills: law, ethics, professional and ethics. These are a clear signpost to the future of our profession, and should be part of any medium term strategic plan for future proofing your organisation.