The impact of AI and new technology on public relations

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By Anthony Olabode Ayodele (Chart.PR, MCIPR)

CIPR’s state of the profession 2018: the impact of AI and new technology on public relations

Highlighting the fact that elements of ‘the most commonly undertaken activities in PR (established as ‘copywriting, editing and Media Relations’- alongside Social Media Relations – another big-time PR activity) are at risk of automation, CIPR’s most recently released State of the Profession (2018) report brings PR’s Practitioners face to face with the question whether they are really prepared for the continuous change the future is set to ‘impact’ upon the profession.

A video summary on the report goes further to state PR ‘faces a longer-term challenge to establish new sources of value to counter the risk posed by Artificial Intelligence and New Technology’. Proponents of the latter two elements however would argue rather than poise as a risk A.I and New Technology enhance the profession. The question remains whether activities that require their introduction remain traditional PR or the profession is being overtaken by other disciplines. The big question is: are PR Practitioners on the verge of seeing the emergence of a branch of PR redefined and tagged as ‘Digital PR?

Benstock, General Manager and VP at Paragon Honda – a car dealer, put it this way: ‘what’s best for the customer is best for business’! The dictates of the day indicate that A.I and Automation are holding sway in our day to day lives.

According to an online platform, Flevy, ‘technology is shifting from playing the role of the business enabler to that of the business driver.‘ Digital Transformation is being embraced by companies across most industries…’ Flevy states this is ‘driven by six Technology Trends being: Social Media, Mobility, Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, Big Data and Cloud’!

It is not just PR as a profession that is faced with this Paradigm Shift. Rob Norman, of GroupM North America’s ‘said marketers shouldn’t fear ‘the move toward automation’ which ‘will only create more need for the work marketers do to build relevant, assistive brands’.

With regards to HR, Kouichi Shirayanagi quoting the Wall Street Journal points out a bank's 3,500 employee survey which usually took three months to produce, produced ‘almost instant results’ when handled by A.I.

A PR Platform, Trendkite, gives five areas AI will impact the practice of public relations…as 1) Mundane Daily Tasks 2) Deeper Audience Insight 3) A Better Understanding of Influence 4) Improved Media Lists and Custom Pitches and 5) Useful Media Monitoring.

Then there’s the issue of not embracing or ignoring A.I and Technology. The same CIPR State of the Profession 2018 report states ‘1 in 6 PR professionals surveyed admitted experiencing mental health issues… More than double’ the figure of the previous year, when six per cent said the same’.

Is there a positive correlation between A.I and automation and mental Health cases in PR? Probably! BBC states: ‘In many factories, humans already work alongside robots - some think feelings of displacement could have knock-on effects on mental health…

Trendkite again states: ‘The advancement of artificial intelligence is excellent news for PR pros’ .. . but ‘terrible news for organizations and folks who refuse to evolve because they will be outperformed by the competition and ultimately left behind’.

Welcome to the future, A.I, automation and new technology!


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