We live in a disruptive world. Technologies like AI and blockchain are rapidly changing our future possibilities, new applications being explored every day as we write this blog. Within four years, the first wave of hype around blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already over. The narratives have been adopted by global companies integrating these new technologies into the core of their business. Amazon is using blockchain in their daily business operations; Microsoft is using blockchain as an enterprise service to help businesses build applications on top of blockchain technology; IBM is using AI to find jobs for people without a college degree and UPS is using AI enabled chatbots to respond to customer queries among other uses.
In this scenario, what should a PR company that represents SMEs and startups, do?
Leverage these technologies for PR activities
The first step is to explore these technologies yourself. As with other industries, PR companies can use machine learning to get smarter insights about customers and share these with clients. These technologies can help in distinguishing emotions and conduct sentiment analysis so PR professionals can understand targeted audience better. Forward looking PR companies are already using AI to change how they work, exploring tools for creating better stories and understanding what clients want.
Furthermore, AI can assist in crisis management by monitoring and analysing social media conversations and thus anticipate crises for clients. It also helps PR organizations understand their audience needs better and to see the correlation between their online behaviour and priorities they have stated. PR companies can also use these technologies to distinguish between real people and bots to see who is behind clicks.
Tackling technology challenges
Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to make technical information accessible, so the targeted audience understands how or why new technologies like blockchain or AI are so integral to their business. Many a times, disruptive technologies are highly technical and constantly evolving fields and PR professionals need to sift through numerous white papers, technical journals and industry-specific jargon to make the technology accessible to not only journalists but also to their clients and the targeted audience. There are also misconceptions and fears about these technologies and PR professionals have to make sure they have the right narrative to be heard over the hype and the noise and sound knowledgeable.
In an increasingly complex world with constantly evolving technologies, PR can help establish brand narratives and direct conversations about new technologies to their right outcomes.
Make the ‘how’ accessible
To ensure that media sustains its interest in new technologies, SMEs need to focus their PR initiatives on their customers and the benefits these disruptive technologies will bring to them. A relevant public relations strategy that showcases not just what is being done, but also how it’s being done, can play an important role in giving a human face to these technologies.
Using PR, SMEs can inspire the public, their customers and build a positive narrative around these disruptive technologies, by showing how they can change their lives. The best way to proceed with building a communication strategy is a problem-solution approach. For instance, public relations, with the help of storytelling, can highlight how blockchain is bringing transparency into data and creating more ethical products, leading to more engagement among customers, driving interest and ensuring that blockchain is more than just a buzzword-that-was. PR can also help dispel myths about AI and control the narrative so that they can prevent negative hype from spreading.
Today, as new technologies and new use-case scenarios emerge almost everyday, it has become imperative for SMEs and startups to build conversations about these technologies, make them more accessible to journalists and create the right narrative about how they are changing their customers life. A tech-enabled, tech-aware PR company can aid in that.