PR Tips: Leveraging AI and the IOT
Are you ready for 360°/365, tech and AI-enhanced, digital-first PR?
The future of PR is here, and it may be driven by inanimate objects, bots, and artificial intelligence technologies. Already companies like Pernod Ricard UK (Malibu Rum, Absolut Vodka) are experimenting with available mobile technologies like NFC (near field communication), which may prove to be easier for consumers to adopt than ill-fated attempts at the multi-step QR codes of years past. Stores are trying everything from location marketing via apps to augmented in-store experiences, and the technology behind the innovation is just getting started.
Brands like Tide are participating in the still-slightly-clunky but surprisingly convenient Amazon Dash program, utilizing Alexa. The IoT ecosystem, and physical reminder buttons for voice-based ordering, and media companies are already experimenting with in-show ordering of products on TV.
Additionally, as Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Viv, and Google Now duke it out on your phone and in your smart home/smart devices to be the best digital life assistant, more and more people are using voice first when they look for brands and brand news. Imagine the potential reach once virtual reality and augmented reality go mainstream? For a taste of what’s to come in the near future, look at the level of excitement Pokémon Go garnered this summer, from gamers and non-gamers alike.
Are you ready?
The biggest hurdle PR will face in the coming tech boom will be digital fluency. Your team will need to partner with great developers and designers to make sure you are designing programs and products agilely for current consumer wants and needs, not for last year’s hot tech. Not only that, you’ll need fluency in a variety of new technology behind marketing and PR efforts to keep the total experience front of mind.
One big change will be SEO. Marketers have been used to SEO in the form of keywords, key phrases and other KPIs designed for the written word. In the near future, being able to utilize bots, programming, machine learning, and AI to improve SEO for voice search, visual stickiness, and conversational neural networks will be key to getting your clients seen. Already customers are asking Alexa to read them their flash briefing to get news with their morning coffee, asking Siri to find songs they hear in commercials, using Google Now to navigate routes via Waze, and adding stops at points of interest along the way. Knowing how to leverage that natural language will keep you top of mind.
As we can see by Apple’s push recently to create a wireless, voice-driven world, man and machine are merging (like it or not). This impacts user experience, creating a new normal where customers expect things to be seamless, simple, and always on. That includes marketing and press releases. You’ll need a no-boundaries approach to PR that allows your news to be triggered by location, event, proximity, voice, gathering place, and product launch. Are you ready to put your brand’s news in driverless cars? Some automakers already deliver ads through the navigation and sound system, triggered when a customer passes a landmark with their navigation turned on – are you taking advantage of that? It’s happening now.
What you can do right now
Some of this new technology can seem overwhelming. We live in a world where self-driving cars have a neural network that may be able to learn skills from video games, and that’s only one type of new tech being discussed this week! What can a savvy PR pro do to stay competitive?
- Learn all about how modern data analytics works, and how to read the real stories it is telling you (go beyond ego metrics).
- Play around with bots and AI now, early, so you can start leveraging AI as it grows and changes.
- Get fluent on the multiple ways to tell brand stories: visual, voice, automated, textural, and experiential.
- Develop (or enhance your existing) network of partners who are experimenting with new technologies. This will enable your agility.
- Include R&D in your PR budget. By helping clients think of things as “test and learn” as well as ROI-driven, clients will be poised for future success.