Exec Connect London: How communicators are handling the AI boom

Capitalizing on AI advancements for better decision-making, enhanced trust, and reputation in an era of content saturation.
5.12.23 / 3 min read

Earlier this week, PR and Comms executives from a range of industries convened in London for Signal AI’s Exec Connect Breakfast. The view over Tower Bridge was historic, but the discussion was forward looking. 

Participants included chair of the CIPR’s #AIinPR panel, Andrew Bruce Smith, who led a lively and thought provoking roundtable about how rapid changes in artificial intelligence are transforming PR, trust and reputation – and the opportunities presented to PR leaders as a result.

Here are three key takeaways from the event:

  • When the world is drowning in content, trust, reputation and high quality information is paramount. 
  • AI is opening up new use cases for PR every day, but upskilling is required. 
  • AI will allow PRs to make more data-driven decisions.

When the world is drowning in content, trust, reputation and high quality information is paramount

Generative AI is leading to a proliferation of content, and while PR teams can benefit from efficiencies in AI content creation, there’s potential risks too – from imitations of your brand, to challenges in cutting through the noise. 

In the wrong hands, generative AI has the potential to undermine truth with poor quality information and perpetuate bias.  As custodians of brand trust and reputation, and the ultimate controller of information flows, communicators have an opportunity to build trust by ensuring high quality, authentic information. 

AI is opening up new use cases for PR every day, but upskilling is required

The pace of change is fast, and PR professionals need to be staying close to new trends to stay competitive in the field. We spoke about how ChatGPT could be use to better understand audiences (‘think like an employee, how would you react if?’), and generative AI more broadly could be used for creating brand visuals, writing press releases and chatbots to automate customer or employee communications. Autonomous AI is even executing on unstructured tasks like ‘find the top 5 tech journalists’

While no one seemed worried about being replaced by a robot, the prevailing mood was ‘we should be learning and doing more to take advantage of new technologies, lest we risk falling behind’.

AI will allow PRs to make more data-driven decisions

The industry has already been using AI to surface and analyze information, but AI is creating opportunities to link and interpret data with increasing sophistication. We’re not quite there yet – the PR industry still struggles with attribution and measuring the true impact of campaigns, but AI has the potential to change this by bringing together different datasets (media outputs vs customer opinion) and giving communicators greater tools for data interpretation – running regression or correlation analysis, or automatically pulling out trends.

But this comes with a caution – communicators using AI in their measurement analysis must be able to understand and drill down to the data – for example, which specific themes, stories or campaigns have impacted reputation rather than just looking at trend lines. Without this ‘explainability’ you risk losing credibility with leadership. 

Overall, the pace of change in AI is being felt across all industries including PR. This presents opportunities to PR executives, but only those who are willing to adapt to and embrace change. 

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