The notion of a fourth industrial revolution has enabled a new era of unprecedented transformation, impacting various information and communication technologies. Industry 4.0 refers to the current disruptive technologies and trends like artificial intelligence (AI) and new computational capabilities. They are all cumulatively impacting the way we live and work. And public relations (PR) is also finding more ways to use it, and it is now on the verge of a revolution similar to the one in marketing.
As PR professionals, we need to adapt to new ways of communication if we want to stay ahead of current trends and be competitive. The current disruption in PR is happening because of emerging technologies, new gadgets, and automation. This is impacting the way we plan, execute, and manage our communication strategy.
In the past, PR was all about sending press releases to traditional media platforms. Now, we also talk about digital communication. With the increased penetration of smartphones and the internet, today's PR campaigns are a blend of digital and non-digital strategies. It has become a great tactic to reach our target audience at the right time with the right content in the best way possible. Overall, digitalization has become a major part of our lives.
As a PR practitioner, I look at the PR industry as ever-evolving and highly adaptable when it comes to leveraging technology. If we take media monitoring, for example, I still remember those days when we used to go to physical newsstands every morning and purchase all kinds of publications to find relevant news for our clients. Today, news is at our fingertips at any time of the day, from anywhere.
Why is the PR Industry on the verge of disruption?
No matter how much the PR industry evolves, its basic purpose will always be to maintain good relations between brands and their audiences. And to respond to the behavioral changes of people and their demands, it is essential for PR professionals to quickly adopt new technologies.
With innovation, we can be creative and find the ideal solutions for our clients. Recent disruption I see affecting the PR industry includes big data analysis, AI, and the metaverse.
Bringing Big Insights with Big Data
Data and analytics are giving excellent results in PR compared to traditional methods. It will continue to play a big role in driving strategies, enhancing performance, selecting target audiences and channels, and achieving the desired results. Advanced technologies, including AI and metaverse, are also leveraging data for their performance optimization.
Today, data-driven PR campaigns have become integral to marking their success. Right from targeting the audience to media mapping and measuring impact, data has become the heart of the industry.
Similarly, as technology advances, clients have more specific demands and expectations for the highest quality of client service that is both agile and personalized. By offering detailed insights and the right metrics, we can not only enhance our clients’ journey but we can also drive the best results for our campaigns.
Innovating PR with Artificial Intelligence
AI has brought several disruptions in the marketing communications industry, and now PR is also at the brink of a similar AI revolution. AI can automate and perform various tasks like updating media lists, transcribing, monitoring media trends, follow up emails, and managing social media.
Some of the everyday activities for PR professionals, like distributing press releases, designing campaigns, are time-consuming and tedious. The self-learning capacity of AI offers us PR professionals a tool to accomplish some of these day-to-day mundane tasks. In turn, we can divert our focus to more creative tasks like trust building and storytelling.
At the same time, its application is still in its nascent phase. Yet, the industry is positive about the impact of increased AI adoption. There are also sentiments that it will bring transparency and trust in client-agency relationships while making the whole process of PR more effective, efficient, and timely.
Metaverse for the PR Universe
The future of the PR industry has a lot to gain from the metaverse. Platforms like Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Roblox have given the metaverse immense popularity. This virtual reality space offers endless possibilities for users, be it socializing, playing games, attending concerts, or even hosting corporate meetings. And this is only the beginning.
For PR professionals, it can be an effective communication tool where brands can hold workshops, live streams, or Q&A sessions with the audience. And what I love about the metaverse is how the PR industry is treating it as a third asset, in addition to traditional and digital media.
Public relations is all about fostering better communication between brands and their target audience. As PR professionals, we control the narratives of businesses and their public image. And I look at recent technological advancements, be it metaverse or big data, as tools that would give us more opportunities and accessibilities to bring value to people on a grand scale. The importance of these developments will only increase with each passing year. And I am thrilled to explore new tech developments that will come in the PR industry.
Shipra Jena is the founder of PitchOne PR.