Why our purposeful PR agency is leaning into AI

How often have you listened to a keynote speech and immediately decided to do something differently as a result? If you’re anything like me, probably not often. You listen along, gain a few insights (if you’re lucky) and then get back to the day job. 

Last month, I attended an MPA event where Flight Story’s Oliver Yonchev was the keynote speaker. I sort of knew our communications agency needed to be doing more with AI, but I wasn’t hugely engaged.

I would have been one of the people queuing on the left-hand side of the image Oliver showed in his presentation (below). We’re busy at High-Rise doing meaningful work that is making a difference. Our clients and team are happy – so why change? 

If you’re looking to ignore AI in the hope it will go away, it’s all too easy to seize on reassuring news items that confirm your prejudices. Just last week, there was an article in the FT that a lot of commentators have seized on saying AI is over-hyped and over-valued. 

How not to do AI in a PR and communications agency

Many websites (including shockingly news sites with fake journalist profiles) are awash with landing pages produced by chatGPT with no thought or care for the audience. There’s no doubt that used ineffectively, AI encourages lazy behaviour and communications staff dialling it in, as this recent post on a third sector facebook group complains:

The internet is already awash with crap, syndicated content. If you want your audience to switch off (and possibly never return) producing turgid, generic content is a good way of going about it.

AI and ROI for our PR and communications clients

But for all the crap and noise around AI, Oliver gave great examples of how AI is improving at a phenomenal rate.

Video that was impressive but still pretty glitchy is so much better today – in another few years it will be better still. Voiceovers that would have needed a re-record to correct them in the past can now be corrected seamlessly by AI, the list goes on.

He explained how Netflix is using AI in their marketing to tempt customers to watch another programme featuring an actor you seem to like. For example, because you watched The Queen’s Gambit, it will recommend Peaky Blinders to you, but with Anya Taylor-Joy featuring on the ad creative rather than Cillian Murphy.

His presentation has convinced me there’s a way we can embrace AI in a way where we can get it right. Creating more value for our clients which include plenty of charities on tight budgets who need to be sure they are getting value for money from their communications agency.

With a young and ambitious team, part of my role as MD is to ensure we’re developing our staff so they can have successful careers in the future, with skills that remain valuable and don’t go obsolete. Upskilling our team in AI will help with that.

What’s more as a relatively small agency we are agile enough to be able to do this easily. The High-Rise team all now know they have the permission to take time out to have a go, try things, experiment and discover how we can use AI far more effectively in our PR and communications work to benefit our purposeful clients. 

If this sounds like something you’d like to know more about please get in touch!