AI is an essential tool to exploit not worship, says IBA International’s Jamie Kightley. A proponent of the power of the human brain in creative campaigns, he explains how, with new digital technologies, it can be easy to forget the creative driving force behind B2B sales: people. 

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. 

Over the course of 2023, almost all industries have been impacted by AI, which has seen the AI market rise to $100bn with predictions it will reach $2trn by 2030. Hardware is struggling to keep up, with Microsoft warning of potential shortages of the GPUs that are critical to underpinning data centres processing AI-driven applications.

While much of the recent hype has been about ChatGPT, 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.

Watch out – PR 5.0 is about

PR professionals, too, are 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: 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. 

Industry sees a future of ‘humanised’ AI

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 discussed was when to use AI and when not to use AI. The overall feeling was that it should be used to help prompt ideas and be trained 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.”

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 is 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 pique the interest of buyers the most. 

While AI is getting smarter and more creative, a key element of true thought leadership is that it’s written from the perspective of industry experts and aimed at industry experts – and this is where ChatGPT falls down. The most effective content creation is from the perspective of a human – written by a human with acknowledgment that it must be fit for consumption by a human, and around an issue that is current within the industry at any given moment. 

Industry 5.0 possesses hyper-personalisation powers

Industry 5.0 offers hyper-personalisation and the ability to tailor and target towards individual consumers. We’re seeing this reflected in B2B buyer behaviour and the mental cues that are influencing the latest approaches to PR content creation and delivery. 

A McKinsey survey found 71% of consumers expect a personalised experience and 61% are frustrated when they don’t get one. This all points to the gains that can be made through adopting Industry 5.0’s 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. When end-readers have personal experience of specific pain points or issues that come from a deep knowledge of their subject, it reinforces the need for content to be written from a human perspective. 

And that’s before you even factor in that, for earned media placements, the copy will also have to get past a journalist pair of eyes or a peer review committee, all of whom will know the subject too. This level of personalisation can’t be achieved by a robot – even if it is 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. But AI and quantum computing are seen as key to establishing global tech capital (the UK slid down the global skills proficiency ratings from 38th place last year to 64th place this year).

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.