Cowling’s Corner: The Advent Of AI In Business

Nick Cowling - CEO
April 18, 2024
Woman on Bench

In the era where businesses are continually searching for competitive edges, AI integration isn’t just a futuristic concept; it’s a present-day necessity.  While I know the premise isn’t new,  I continue to find so much promise in the advent of AI in business.  These intelligence machines can help refine operations and offer predictive analytics, aiding in superior decision making. So admittedly, I often find myself trying to prognosticate how this technology could reshape my business – in public relations and communications.  

I’m pretty sure a leading answer lies in personalization and precision targeting. AI-driven tools have the uncanny ability to sift through extensive consumer data, unraveling patterns and preferences that might be invisible to the human eye. This means that PR strategies can now be tailored to incredibly specific audiences, ensuring that messages resonate on a more personal level. This would clearly result in campaigns that are more effective, engagement rates that go through the roof, and an ROI that puts a wide smile on any CFO’s face.  But I believe crafting bespoke content is just one facet of the AI prism. The technology also takes on the mantle of an impartial analyst, deciphering market trends, and consumer feedback. This results in communications that not only speak directly to the customer’s desires but could also adapt dynamically to the shifting moods of customers. If I think about the sphere of diversity and inclusion, you have to believe AI’s potential can profoundly remodel the recruitment process. By deploying algorithms that are designed to ignore the likes of gender, age, race, and ethnicity, companies can combat the entrenched unconscious biases that often plague hiring decisions. This breakthrough could lead to workforces that truly reflect the diverse fabric of society, fostering innovation, empathy, and a multitude of perspectives within the corporate environment – and deliver spectacular skilled candidates that would otherwise be overlooked. 

As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. No doubt ethical dimensions tag along with AI integration. Issues such as data privacy, the potential for machine-based profiling and other biases, and the displacement of jobs by automation necessitate a well-thought-out ethical framework. 

Lots would agree that AI is not a replacement but a supplement to human intuition and creativity.  In the communications world, like many others,  a synergy between man and machine offers a potent combination. Creative campaigns conceived by humans but enhanced by AI’s analytical prowess mark the future of the industry. Employee communications and employer branding too, would have a future where the insights are sharper, strategies more nuanced, and narratives more compelling and relevant. Moreover, the broader impact on workforce dynamics is significant. While AI could potentially streamline certain job functions, leading to workforce reduction in some areas, it also opens up a realm of new, previously unimagined roles. We’ve already seen the demand for AI specialists, data scientists, and ethical compliance officers is on the rise – jobs that embody the interplay between humanity and technology. But I also believe new roles that harness human creativity and innovation will start to show up — while AI can aggregate and conceptualize, it’s humans that will contemplate what’s next and leverage the machine to make it happen…  Just Imagine a corporate panorama where decision-making is informed by data-driven insights, biases in hiring are obliterated, and inclusion is the bedrock of every team. That would be pretty sweet and AI is the potential architect of this vision. 

It would be so easy to suggest every business needs to embrace the AI wave thoughtfully and ethically. But with tens of thousands of new “AI companies” popping up, it’s really difficult to decipher which ones to use and which ones to avoid. While the industry is in its infancy and booming, it’ll be difficult for many years, so I’d suggest experimenting – identify your needs first and find a solution that fits. Don’t lock in long term with anyone, because who knows what kind of revolutionary system or tool will arrive tomorrow. But make no mistake, you shouldn’t wait, or you risk becoming irrelevant and fast!

With its unparalleled ability to personalize, analyze big data, and enhance workplace diversity, AI is not merely a disruptor; it’s a catalyst for a more inclusive and efficient future. As we drift further into the digital age, the companies that will stand tall are those that wield AI not as a tool of convenience, but as a cornerstone for innovation and equity.