PR 5.0 – It’s PR and marketing, but not as we know it

Jamie Kightley, head of client services at IBA International, explains how new digital tech can cause marketers to lose sight of the driving force behind B2B sales - people.

Someone holding their hand in front of their face.

Already the smart tech processes of the Industry 4.0 revolution are having to bow to the human and social power of Industry 5.0. Hyper-personalisation is humanising smart tech and is one of Industry 5.0’s lead transformations. It will also be the saving grace of the AI charge in PR and marketing.

It’s all about the human touch in PR 5.0 as generative AI’s use in content creation is on the rise but it will always fall short of being a lead gen content creation tool.

Over the course of 2023, almost all industries have been impacted by AI, which has seen the AI market rise to $100 billion. The AI boom in many industries is not expected to slow down any time soon with the market predicted to reach $2 trillion by 2030. Much of the recent hype in the Mainstream Media (MSM) has been about ChatGPT, but it is important not to forget about more specific applications of the technology – from predictive maintenance in aviation, to automatic scheduling optimisation in service provision, and fraud prevention in banking and mobile payments.

Even hardware is struggling to keep up with the AI boom. The global AI chip market is expected to generate nearly $305 billion by the end of the decade, boasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29% from 2023 to 2030, the report projected. Microsoft itself has gone on record warning of potential shortages of GPUs, that are critical to underpinning data centres that process AI-driven applications.

Watch out – PR 5.0 is about

Like any new technology, AI is transforming many industries and has left marketing and PR professionals trying to adopt this generative technology into their work processes and understand its impact. According to a recent Prowly State of PR Technology report for instance, already 67.8% of PR professionals are utilising AI in their work and 52% are happy with their current PR tools including AI. But what do these new technologies mean for the future of marketing and PR professionals?

Witness what has happened in the manufacturing sector, where by the end of 2022, 72% of manufacturers had pressed ahead with implementing industry 4.0 and its driving technologies such as IIoT, AI, digital twins, and more. Now the pendulum has swung back towards the human factor in manufacturing operations with industry 5.0. There is a groundswell around industry 5.0, particularly how to marry technology developments, including AI, to better complement the working environment of human workers and to support Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives.

Big industry organisations have their say on humanised AI

Some of the big PR and marketing players have been looking at the impact of AI in the sector. A recent Cision webinar had a panel of experts assess the use of AI in PR activity and highlighted its ability to help digest trends and shape strategy so often lacking from a PR agency’s repertoire. One of the main topics that the panel discussed was when to use AI and when not to use AI. The overall feeling which came from the panel was that it should be used to help prompt ideas and training over time to extract the correct data. But it should not be used for quantitative and contextualised inferences from trends.

HubSpot has produced a report on AI Trends for Marketers to gauge the state of AI adoption across marketing and its CEO’s conclusions were in line with ours:

“AI will never replace human creativity and connection. Lived experiences and opinions will never be able to be generated by a machine, and an employee can’t be mentored and managed by AI. … AI is a great tool for marketers to use, but would be useless without human knowledge, strategy, and implementation.”

Written by humans for humans – solving industry pain points – the true aim of thought leadership

Buried within these reports are some eye-opening stats, none more so than a recent Hubspot report which found that 48% of marketers’ top use for generative AI is for content creation. However, the most effective companies will continue to utilise industry pain points for their content creation and thought leadership. This can be reinforced by research which states that 72% of marketers see relevant content creation as the most effective SEO tactic, so focusing your content on hot topics and industry pain points will peak the interest of consumers the most.

There’s no doubt that AI is getting smarter and more creative, but it often doesn’t have that personalised human element to its content creation. The most effective content creation copies are from the perspective of a human with their views, written by a human with acknowledgment that it must be fit for consumption by a human, so it must be around a topic that is within the industry at that moment. This is where the main downfalls of ChatGPT and marketing speak for thought leadership come from, as a key element of true thought leadership is that it’s written from the perspective of industry experts and aimed at industry experts.

Industry 5.0 possesses human hyper-personalisation powers

One of Industry 5.0 key elements is hyper-personalisation and its ability to be tailored and targeted towards individual consumers and we’re seeing it reflected in B2B buyer behaviour and the mental cues that are influencing the latest approaches to PR content creation and delivery. This is evident in a McKinsey survey which found 71% of consumers expect a personalised experience and 61% are frustrated when they don’t have a personalised experience. This all points back to the strengths that can be gained through adopting industry 5.0 to utilise its hyper-personalisation powers.

Mental cues can be identified by looking at key pain points within the target industry and how the product can resolve these issues. These mental cues need to be woven into all brand marketing for consistent messaging. Reinforcing the importance of cognitive resonance in the sale and buying process to become more recognised and trustworthy among consumers and get your organisations message repeatedly trusted and valued.

When end-readers have personal experiences, such as those specific industry pain points or issues that come from a deep knowledge of their subject, it must be written from a human perspective to ensure it gives the consumer a personalised experience. And that’s before you even factor in that for earned media placements, where the copy will also have to get through a journalist pair of eyes or their peer review committee, all who will know the subject too. This level of personalisation can’t be achieved by a robot – even if they are trained with the words of an individual subject matter expert.

Future-proofing new generations for AI and PR 5.0

The AI boom is still unfolding, and its impact on future generations and the job market are yet to fully emerge. In many countries, AI and quantum computing are seen as key to establishing global tech capital. But according to a recent report in the UK, the country slid down the global skills proficiency ratings from 38th place last year to 64th place this year. This will only be replicated in other countries.

One thing is for sure. New technologies will continue to filter into the PR and marketing space – but for the foreseeable future purchasing decisions will continue to be made by humans. PR 5.0 is coming, and the most prudent PR professionals and marketers will learn from the transition of 4.0 to 5.0 in other industries – to ensure technology complements, not replaces, their content creation.

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