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David Benigson, CEO of Signal AI, on the PRmoment podcast

This week we’re changing tack – we’re challenging our listeners out there to engage your brains!

Technology means we’re on the cusp of data and insight playing a much bigger role in the planning, activation and measurement of communications.

Alongside this development, a number of new (and established firms) have invested in the technology to more accurately and more swiftly understand the numbers behind communications.

And on the show today is David Benigson who is the CEO at one of these firms Signal AI.

Signal has just raised a further $25 million funding, taking its total funding to something like $53m. So we’re talking about significant sums of money. 

And Cision this week has announced that it has been bought for $2.74bn by private equity firm Platinum Equity.

So this is a sector attracting some very significant investment.

While we’re on the topic of data and insight PRmoment has just launched what I reckon is the best PR Analytics programme we’ve ever had – with speakers from Facebook, Diageo, The UK Government Communications Service and many more. 

Here’s a summary of what David and I discussed: 

[00:02:38] What does David see as the opportunity for data and insight within earned media?

[00:03:07] David talks about the explosion of data, about how there has never been greater access to a more diverse data set for large organisations.

[00:03:58] Why firms having to kind of manage this onslaught of information is both a huge challenge, and opportunity.

[00:04:28] The extent to which AI technology can be applied to this explosion of data and used to derive meaningful insights that can drive better decisions for your organisation. 

[00:06:42] How PR people can use those insights derived from data to improve and enhance and make more sophisticated their strategies for then delivering PR and comms activity.

[00:06:59] The difference between insight data and impact data in communications.

[00:07:52] Is PR as a sector becoming too focused on overly simple single channel ROI measurements when there are usually numerous buyer touch points?

[00:09:12] The importance of reputation measurement: how EY has identified a direct correlation to trust and confidence in a business and its ongoing financial performance.

 [00:09:31] Why communications professionals need better data to enable them to derive better insights.

[00:10:58] David discusses the four layers within the data pyramid: unstructured data, structured data,  data discovery/predictions and finally decision support data through machine learning. 

[00:14:04] David and I discuss the currently complex communications tool market: with social listening, earned media analysis, consumer sentiment tools all competing for budget and coming at the insight problem at differing angles.

[00:17:40] What evidence is there that PR and communications is becoming a more data led practice? 

[00:20:21] Why is it that private equity firms have started to invest so heavily in this earned media and the analytics space?

[00:23:14] Why David believes AI technologies will continue to augment professionals and enhance the work that they by pushing them up the value chain. 

[00:24:57] Which communication KPIs are most popular with Signal's clients?

[00:26:39] Why your media measurement should consider the following: what this piece of content is saying about the particular entity that we care about? What is the sentiment? What are the semantics? What is the tone? What was the life of this particular piece of content after it was published? Was it shared by people? Did someone take a particular action off the back of it?  Did it did it create some sort of causal effect on the share price?

[00:28:11] Who tends to buy the measurement analysis – the agency or the client?

[00:29:48] Is the suspicion that the marketers are much better at measurement than PR people right? Or are PR people catching up?

[00:29:59] Why PR and communications professionals must define their own value add to the organisation – and this is almost always different to marketers.

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