The PRCA’s International Summit was a meeting of PR professionals from around the world – with some, such as me, attending in person and others joining virtually.
One theme cropped up time and time again: we are living in an age of disinformation. With so much data at the simple click of a button, it can be difficult for consumers to distinguish fact from fiction. Bots account for 5% of online users but produce a staggering 30% of online content. Alarmingly fictional stories have a larger tendency to go viral – as one panellist put it, in 2023 “facts are boring.” And that is where we as communication professionals have a role and huge duty to play in cutting through the noise and telling compelling stories with substance.
AI was another topic that reared its head throughout the day. While it was acknowledged there are lots of exciting opportunities that come with the advancement of this technology that can assist with efficiency and creativity, those opportunities don’t come without consequences. For example, AI does have biases and when relied upon heavily this can be detrimental and in the worst-case scenarios lead to harm. Put simply, being able to tell when a story or idea could have negative reputational repercussions will always require a PR pro with good judgement. A line that really stuck with me following a panel discussion on this subject was that “empathy, ethics and putting things into context are all things a machine will never achieve.”
The final speakers of the day were representatives from WARTO Comms, a Ukrainian PR agency. Their inspiring presentation highlighted that at a time of crisis, and in their case conflict, communication wields great power. While times of uncertainty and difficulty can be challenging and uncomfortable, often this is when change is accelerated and can ultimately be a good thing. A lesson that I think can also be applied to property PR in today’s climate.
To summarise there are many opportunities and challenges facing the PR industry today. There is a lot of online noise to cut through, and not all of it is rooted in fact. A dangerous thought when you consider this is where most people read their news, whether that’s on online news sites or simply through social media. In today’s world, truth and a good sense of judgement are the most powerful tools in the PR industry’s arsenal.
If you’re a property business looking to cut through the noise – please get in touch with email@example.com