Getting ready for AI

For many, AI has played a big part in transforming businesses. However, in the PR industry, its presence is yet to see an impact – with other industries somewhat ahead of PR. So, how can we catch up? And is there even the need to? 

Simon Corbett, Jargon PR’s Founder and Managing Director discusses more… 

Industries across the board are preparing for a new working world, where AI will reshape and impact everything and every process. AI can streamline practice, create new efficiencies and reveal new insights. For some, AI will empower their existing work. For others, it will be seen as a threat, putting their position at risk and reducing their perceived value. 

Every industry needs to prepare for the impact that increasing use of AI technology is going to have in the next 10 years. Of course, in PR, you would imagine that there will always be room for the human touch and that our profession might be less affected than other, more mechanical or process-led industries.  That is worth recognising, but be in no doubt, PR will be impacted by AI.  

In fact, where AI is concerned, the PR profession needs to do some serious catching up. Other sectors have devoted significant resources to evaluating the likely changes AI could deliver, so it was good to see our professional body, the CIPR, take up the challenge by establishing an AIinPR panel to research the area and publish advice for members. 

The Panel’s first report has warned that the PR profession is in danger of sleepwalking into AI, and the team has immediately pulled together a comprehensive online library of resources.  

“The effects of AI on the Professions: A literature repository” was launched last month and is a wide-ranging collection of studies into AI across the professional services sector. While not specifically about the PR industry, it is a fantastic resource for PR professionals – whether in-house or in consultancies – to start researching the potential of AI technology. 

Speaking at its launch, Professor Anne Gregory, one of the world’s leading PR Academics and a former President of the CIPR, said that she believes AI in the professional services sector will disproportionately impact specific groups – particularly women, ethnic minorities, those without professional qualifications, and new entrants to the profession.

In the professional services sector, entry-level work often follows a routine pattern which is ripe for automation, even if the task is quite complex.  AI can carry this out work out faster and can also remove unconscious human bias that might serve to hinder the quality of the output. 

However, AI could also create new jobs within PR – these might be harder to predict, but it is not a stretch to imagine that some software programming or manipulation skills could be required to get the best targeted results from AI in PR. 

At Jargon PR, we want to be ready for challenges ahead, and we are including AI as a topic within our annual training programme. Our graduate recruitment policy also favours students with PR qualifications, and we have built a strong link with the PR, media and marketing faculty at Bournemouth University.  

With the right preparation, AI can be a tool that empowers and improves our work, so naturally, we are going to investigate how to make best use of it in the months and years ahead. But rest assured, we also firmly believe that it is people that really build relationships, not technology. So, while we are committed to understanding and using the best technology to support our work, we will always put our people and our clients first.