It’s PR and marketing, but not as we know it: the power of the human touch in the new era of PR 5.0!

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-personalization is humanizing smart tech and is one of Industry 5.0’s lead transformers, and it will also be the saving grace of the AI charge in PR and marketing. It’s all about the 3 Human Eyes of PR 5.0: it’s the views of humans, written by humans, and read by humans!

There has been extreme clamor around artificial intelligence across almost every industry throughout the course of 2023. We aren’t just talking about ChatGPT, which has certainly crossed the chasm from technology topic into the Mainstream Media (MSM), but also more specific applications of the technology – from predictive maintenance in aviation, to automatic scheduling optimization in service provision, and fraud prevention in banking and mobile payments.

Even hardware is struggling to keep up with the AI boom. The global AI chip market is expected to generate nearly $305 billion by the end of the decade, boasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29% from 2023 to 2030, the report projected. Microsoft itself has gone on record warning of potential shortages of GPUs, that are critical to underpinning data centers that process AI-driven applications.

Watch out – PR 5.0 is afoot

Like any new technology, the AI hype has reached mass hysteria – and has left marketing and PR commentators trying to find meaning in the madness. But let’s go beyond simply applications of AI within PR and marketing – and think about how our sector will adapt with this technology change not just immediately, but into the future?

Witness what has happened in the manufacturing sector, where eager manufacturers have pressed ahead with implemented 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. 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.

Big industry players come out to bat for humanized AI

Some of the big PR and marketing players have been looking at the impact of AI in the sector. We’ve already had our say on what it can do well, will never be able to do, and its problem with critical thinking. 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. But the panel also discussed when to use AI vs. not: no for quantitative and contextualized inferences from trends – yes for prompts and training over time to extract the correct data.

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 three AI-eyes

But scratch below the surface and there are a few eye-opening stats within these reports. HubSpot reported that creating content was the top use of generative AI, with 48% of marketers deploying it in this way. This kind of use case sets off alarm bells at IBA! Remember content creation is not thought leadership for opinion leading commentary.

Effective company thought leadership needs to tap into industry pain points. At the end of the day it has to pass the test of the “three eyes” – and it’s all about human eyes. Copy needs to be the views of a human, written by humans, and read by humans. ChatGPT and marketing speak has no place in thought leadership copy, which is written by industry experts for industry experts – the respect must be mutual.

Experts can come in many forms too! Take the example of one of the team in the IBA office, a self-confessed Harry Styles superfan. She’s already seen him three times as part of his current tour – some of us couldn’t pay to go once! She asked ChatGPT to write an essay on him and was able to pick out some glaring errors, including what was his most recent album (apparently every fan knows it’s not Watermelon Sugar).

Human hyper-personalization

Hyper-personalization is a key element within Industry 5.0 and we’re seeing it reflected in B2B buyer behavior and the mental cues that are influencing the latest approaches to PR content creation and delivery.

Mental cues can be identified by looking at key pain points within the target industry and how the product can resolve these issues. These mental cues need to be woven into all brand marketing for consistent messaging. We’re now back to the importance of cognitive resonance in the sales and buying process.

When end-readers have such personal experiences, such as those specific industry pain points or issues that come from a deep knowledge of their subject, IBA’s rule of the 3 Human Eyes has to apply. And that’s before you even factor in that for earned media placements, where the copy will also have to get through a journalist pair of eyes or their peer review committee, all who will know the subject too. This level of personalization can’t be achieved by a robot – even if they are 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. In many countries, AI and quantum computing are seen as key to establishing global tech capital. But according to a recent report in the UK, the country slid down the global skills proficiency ratings from 38th place last year to 64th place this year. This will only be replicated in other countries.

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. The three Human Eyes have it!

Jamie Kightley is Head of Client Services at IBA International.

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