With technology advancing at pace and artificial intelligence, or AI, becoming more prevalent within how we as marketers deliver our services, we’re beginning to wonder if tools such as ChatGPT stand a realistic chance of removing the need for PR professionals?
Our team works across the full PR spectrum – with in-house experts possessing knowledge of traditional media liaison, written communications, crisis management and digital content.
In this article, we’re going to offer our opinion on a hot debate within the world of PR – can AI ever truly take the place of a PR professional?
What is PR?
Public relations, often referred to as PR, is a marketing tactic which involves maintaining and managing a brand’s reputation. By setting out a PR strategy with clear goals and objectives that align with a wider marketing strategy, brands can take control of their reputation and manage public perception.
Reputation management can include celebrating successes or limiting the amount of damage caused to a brand when a crisis occurs through a process called crisis management.
Typical examples of PR include whitepapers, news reports and press statements and with the rise of digital marketing, digital PR is now arguably the most common method of communicating news through websites and social content.
Statistics show that 91% of consumers trust PR, which historically has not always been the case. PR was once referred to as “manipulation propaganda”, until the Chartered Institute for Public Relations enforced regulations on content that is produced for the purpose of brand awareness.
It was stated that PR professionals must remain “honest, loyal, fair and respectful” when creating content. This is where the problems with AI begin to surface. Is a machine, or piece of technology, ever truly capable of working within these regulations? Can it truly understand and ensure honesty, loyalty, fairness and respectfulness?
Introduction to AI and ChatGPT
Artificial intelligence is a computer-based intelligence system which can be used and engaged with by humans. When ChatGPT first launched in November 2022, it successfully clocked up 1 million users within its first week. As of January 2023, 100 million global users were accessing the site.
Many people use ChatGPT to produce content, and it has already caused controversy with students who are relying on AI tools to complete their homework or write their essays. With a simple input, AI tools use what they have been programmed to learn to fulfil a user’s demand – which can lead to people wondering, “Why don’t I just ask ChatGPT to write my content for me?”
Problems with AI-generated content
It is important to remember that AI does not produce original, authentic content. Everything produced is information that already exists on the web.
This may not seem important for a Year 8 reflective piece on Macbeth but for PR professionals, plagiarism is a huge risk. AI-generated content subsequently removes the level of trust that consumers have within a brand if the content they’re reading is a copy of someone else’s.
What does this mean for PR?
In our view, and the view of many fellow PR professionals, no computer will ever be able to replicate a human’s creativity and individuality. Brands may find themselves quickly losing their positive reputation if their PR becomes bland, and lacking in character and emotion.
Emotion plays a significant role in any written marketing communications and AI cannot replicate that. We talk a lot about tone of voice in marketing – and no machine can learn, understand and create content that delivers the emotion needed to suit each brand’s individual tone and style.
All brands have a reputation and persona that they need to uphold, and this requires a PR professional who understands the brand and can display this throughout their writing. AI cannot stand as a spokesperson for a brand because, quite simply, it’s not a person. In an industry where personality is so important, a computer will never be able to replicate a brand’s personality.
Technology will continue to evolve and we must of course continue to evolve with it. AI can be a useful tool within marketing, and we have a duty to work with it and use it where it has a logical place. For example, some may choose to use AI tools to aid their research around content which they will then go on to produce themselves.
Nevertheless, a human’s creativity, emotion and decision-making process cannot be truly replicated by a computer and so the future of PR has to remain with the professionals who we put our trust in today – with technology simply working alongside them.
So if you’re in need of PR, don’t turn to ChatGPT, get in touch with us!