MONDAY 29 NOV 2021 12:29 PM


Research from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ AlinPR Panel highlights the untapped potential of artificial intelligence and data within the PR industry, with limited knowledge and technical understanding cited as the central prohibitor of progress.

The ‘AI and Big Data Readiness Report – Assessing the Public Relation’s Preparedness for an AI Future’ report works to provide an overview of current AI understanding within the PR industry. It outlines how the industry can best equip itself to maximise the benefits and minimise the dangers of AI in the future.

The research found that 43.2% of PR practitioners have limited knowledge of AI and lack confidence using it. Only 13.9% of respondents reported feeling ‘very comfortable’ using AI in their work. However, there is a clear optimism and eagerness among practitioners to learn, with 38.9% feeling ‘excited’ about AI compared to just 3.9% who feel ‘overwhelmed.’

Andrew Bruce Smith, chair of CIPR's AIinPR Panel says, “There is clearly a mix of optimism and fear in the PR industry with regard to AI. Excitement at the potential and possibilities – and concern that the role of the practitioner will be eroded away. There is clearly a willingness to learn and adapt – but knowing where to start and a lack of time, training and skills seems to be putting a brake on progress. However, doing nothing is not an option either.”

Education is key to building the confidence of PR practitioners when thinking about AI. Data and analytics have been the focus of training for many, with 20.7% stating they now feel confident using these tools in their work, compared to just 8.2% who feel the same about AI.

Professor Anne Gregory, co-author of the report, says these findings serve as a wake-up call for the PR industry to identify where AI fits within existing organisational structures. “We need to get a strategic grip and determine for ourselves what our enhanced role and contribution can be in the organisations we serve. Otherwise others will make the decision for us and it won’t be in our favour,” adds Gregory.

Find the full AI and Big Data Readiness Report – Assessing the Public Relation’s Preparedness for an AI Future report here.