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Do AI and PR go together?

Adopting change is a knotty task, and the ever-growing selection of AI tools on the market can make traversing the new tech landscape confusing. Not to mention, nobody likes change. 

But are PR and AI a match made in heaven, or more like a Greek tragedy? 

Speakers at the latest PRmoment Masterclass, AI in PR demystified the idea of AI-driven aids for over 160 virtual delegates and physical attendees at the conference held at Kings Place, London.

"People are using the wrong ones [AI tools]." Jonny Bentwood, global head of data and analytics at Golin

Recognising that change can sometimes be tricky in organisations, Allison Spray, group managing director, data and intelligence at Burson says the fact it is “hard” to introduce AI tools into your work life should be acknowledged.

Fear of change

“When we think about what we are asking our teams to do, I think it's worth taking a breath and recognising that change can be scary,” says Spray during her impact of AI on your PR workflow session.

“We can face pockets of organisational resistance, both because people don't understand what is being asked of them and they don't understand the tools, but also because we are wired [to be fearful] that way it's how our brains work.”

Spray reminds delegates to be mindful that change can be scary when talking to colleagues and clients, as this “isn’t going to be unpacked overnight”. She insists, “it’s a process”.

But she summarises her point by highlighting the necessity and importance of change within such a fast-moving sector, “we can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s tool.”

A bad workman always…

But what if you don’t even know what tool you needed for yesterday’s job, and are sleepwalking into being out of step with the rest of the industry when it comes to AI adoption.

During his case study presentation, what should be in your PR AI toolbox, Jonny Bentwood shares a grounding, reassuring insight:

“Often there are so many wonderful AI tools out there that people are using the wrong ones,” says Bentwood, against a backdrop of the AI tools he uses at Golin of which there are over 10.

“We can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s tool.” Allison Spray, group managing director, data and intelligence at Burson

“It's not that the tools can't do the job, it's that we think that one tool does everything, and I prefer to have made for purpose [AI tools] than asking for one that can do everything.”

He explains that the adoption and usefulness of AI won’t happen straight away, but it is “happening quickly”, and he claims the adoption rate [of AI] is happening “quicker than the Smartphone ''.

No silver bullet

But ultimately, for Andrew Bruce Smith, managing director at Escherman, there’s no one size fits all.

During his session on what specific AI tools would suit certain PR tasks, Smith says a hard truth: “Hate to break it to you but there is no single best tool. There are a range of tools, and some of them are better than others at doing certain things.

"Hate to break it to you but there is no single best tool." Andrew Bruce Smith, managing director at Escherman

“The tool that is good now may not be next week, we don’t know. We all want assurance and certainty but you’re not going to get it anytime soon. You need to keep your options open.”

He also warned delegates to check the legal small print before adopting a free AI tool, as it could retain the right to publicly post whatever information you feed into it.

He said some tools retain the right to publicly post whatever information you put in there and warned to always read the legal es before adopting a free tool.

“One of the barriers to stop us adopting AI is data governance and your IT department needs more time to figure out what's going on, because in terms of AI expertise [some IT departments] are just as much in the dark as you are, which is reassuring.”

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