The concept of evolution which is an elemental truth in our ecosystem has been remarkably defined by two main reckoning ‘forces’ – Darwin and Digital. While the theory of the famed geologist Charles Darwin on the science of evolution is drawn from the concept of common ancestors, the increasingly digital getup of our daily lives is inspired by the need to be relevant throughout our evolutionary cycles. Though the pro and cons of being overly digital can be debated, we have to acknowledge the simplicity and convenience it has introduced in our lives. To see objectively, both our professional and personal lives are somewhat driven by the protocols of the digital world.
Our world of PR and corporate communications might be on the verge of a digital makeover (maybe there is an evolutionary knock on the door). The brand and consultancy relationship has worked wonders over the years – setting great examples of teams coming together to conclude some epic campaigns/outreach programs documented in our area of work, but do we sense a creeping factor bringing some disruption in this equilibrium? Maybe yes! And the ‘culprit’ might be the advent of automation through Artificial Intelligence. We cannot undermine the importance of our partner consultancies reaching out to journalists for pitching stories but, what if a system takes over and proactively sends story recommendations to journalists analysing their past filings with ready content to be used? It is difficult to assess how kindly our journalist friends will respond to this action, but it may have the potential to make story conceptualisation a bit easy.
Artificial Intelligence may also efficiently handle the timely delivery of inputs to media by customising the story filing schedules (time preferences) of every journalists from the distribution lists – a daunting task from the software development angle but it will have its merits. Sentiment Analysis comes naturally to AI enabled software already implemented in this field which may also sniff out a potential crisis or a competitor threat (through a simulation model in its future upgrades) pertaining to a particular news / product campaign – thereby providing ample opportunities to the brand to put contingency plans in place. There might be a particular feature that would help strategise a demographic marketing plan/communication strategy by capturing how consumers have responded to similar product news– in print/online/television mediums in those particular regions. The yet to be explored area of PR will be like an empty canvas for AI-enabled tools which may drastically unsettle the legacy of relationship between the brand and its PR partners.
However, such tools can protect and strengthen the perception built over time by the brand but can it lay the foundation stones of reputation? Would those tools be efficient in creating a human connect between the brand and the journalists while passionately mentioning the value propositions? May be not.
Communication is a human practice which may not be as efficient if we take the humanity out of it. A considerable portion of making our journalist friends visualise a brand may still lie with the partnering firms. And what about when a crisis looms to threaten reputation? Reputation damage is the result of negative emotions of consumers collectively pulling a brand down which would eventually need human intervention for course correction. Smart tools might be able to provide data points to strategise a crisis communication plan but it may fail to resonate the narrative required to dissolve an adverse situation.
It might happen that a consultancy spends too much time in content dissemination and follow-ups which can be delegated to AI tools in future. But adequate steps should be taken now to identify more avenues where real-life experience could be leveraged and translated into action items. Having a PR partner should work like having a member of your inner circle out there, gathering insights and helping the brand to create a positive impact and a higher brand recall value. Conscious steps must be adopted to automate the daily routine of activities to be executed while using human intelligence to drive the smart tools to build up the positive tonality in reputation pure perception management. Surely, Mr Darwin would agree.
The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.