Recently, a senior PR executive told me that her client had used ChatGPT to prepare the brief for her agency. The brief was well-written and clearly articulated. The client had given prompts to the tool, reviewed the content the tool produced, and then sent it to the agency to develop an outreach strategy. For all you know, the agency will feed this brief to a tool, give the right prompts, and generate a strategy outline that they can then further refine and present to the client!
Every other day one learns about new uses of Gen AI for the comms fraternity.
At Cannes Lion this year, Aurelia Noel, global head of innovation and digital transformation at dentsu X, said that ‘By 2026, nearly 90% of online content will be generated by AI.’
What this means is that we have entered an age where work that is monotonous, routine, repetitive, labour-intensive or templates that can be farmed out to AI. Many of us are already using AI tools to generate drafts of press releases, articles, blog posts and social media posts, or even asking Gen AI to make copy more empathetic or human. It will be up to us, the marcom specialists, to enhance the output of Gen AI tools by providing the right prompts and then adding value through our experience, creativity and ingenuity. In time, we will be able to unlock the full power of AI, helping us do what we do even better.
These are a few uses, among others, for which the marcom fraternity has begun leveraging Gen AI tools:
Research: Usually campaign planning starts with multifold research to profile the customer, understand their preferences, the type of content they engage with and where, and which influencers they follow. The tools are able to provide real-time patterns and trends, enabling personalized marketing campaigns that help in improving the customer experience.
Campaign optimisation: AI tools can help make email campaigns more effective by suggesting more catchy headlines, the best open rate, the best time to send an email and also how to bypass spam filters. These tools can provide data on the performance of advertisements in the testing phase and even create campaigns. What’s more, they can also target different groups with customised experiences. For instance, if the call to action of a campaign is to ‘purchase now’ and it failed to translate into a sale, then AI can trigger a discount communication in the next re-targeted ad unit. AI tools can also analyse a customer’s purchase history and offer a more customised product feed, thus helping to increase revenue and save costs.
AI image generation: Tools like DALL-E 2 have been effectively used by FMCG brands to crowdsource content from users. The best visuals created using the tool are then featured by the brand in their television commercials.
Measurement: It is crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of any campaign in terms of content that generated the highest engagement, and messages that resulted in maximum action. AI tools can be used to track and analyse these results, working with huge amounts of data to deliver actionable insights, as well as make recommendations for change.
Brand reputation: AI tools can track and analyse conversations, both positive and negative, around a brand across all social media platforms, thus helping to evaluate its perception (as well as that of its competitors) and the overall sentiment. Thus, the tools can empower brand managers to take corrective action. Also, monitoring sensitive issues and their development helps marcom professionals address them before they escalate.
Even as the adoption of Gen AI gathers pace, there are concerns that it may result in the loss of jobs. However, historically, increased technology adoption has led to the creation of new roles. Kent Beck, the author of Extreme Programming, was initially reluctant to try ChatGPT.
He later tweeted, ‘Now I understand why I was reluctant. The value of 90% of my skills just dropped to $0. The leverage of the remaining 10% went up to 1000x. I need to calibrate.’
A new role that is generating a lot of buzz in the context of AI is that of the prompt engineer – namely an expert who provides the right prompts to text, image and video generation tools. Many new jobs will surely get created as we start to explore the full potential of this emerging technology – for example, AI governance or AI ethics specialists.
To unlock the full power of AI, we need to identify and pay close attention to the challenges we face in our personal or professional lives and try and understand if an AI tool, with its ability to uncover meaningful and actionable insights from huge swathes of data, can help us address these.
However, for the moment, one skill that AI cannot replace is the ability to build relationships. Maybe one day AI will also have the ability to understand human emotions and intentions. Till that time, for those of us in the PR and comms profession, let us use AI to free up our time from routine tasks, get a productivity boost, and use that time instead for thinking, for creativity, for connecting, for collaborating with people, and for building the magic that will power the tools.
Nandini Chatterjee, chief marketing and communications officer, PwC