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  • Sofia Leadbetter

Future-proofing the PR industry: why robots won’t replace PR professionals


Across the world, the rapid acceleration of technology is continuing undeterred. From robotics to AI, we have seen an explosion in innovation over recent years with the future of work becoming a hot topic as a result. Earlier this month a team of scientists in South Korea were revealed to have created a new robotic hand prototype and in 2020, a report from the World Economic Forum concluded that 85 million jobs worldwide could be displaced by automation by 2025.


With new developments and statistics like these being pushed out almost daily, it can naturally feel quite unsettling to think about what the future holds for the world of work. Naturally, at Lem-uhn we have also wondered what these changes will mean for us as PR pros, however, with websites such as www.willrobotstakemyjob.com and www.robotizados.net, suggesting there is only a 6% or 1.5% risk of robots replacing PR specialists jobs, we take comfort in knowing that we’re at very low risk.


The combination of emotional intelligence, creativity, nuance, social perceptiveness and persuasion, means robots are no match for us. Here are just a few of the reasons why PR professionals can sleep soundly knowing their jobs will be safe in the age of the robots.


Building relationships


The ability to form strong relationships with others lies at the heart of PR. Whether it’s with colleagues, clients or journalists, fundamental characteristics such as trust, empathy and humour are all integral to these day-to-day interactions that we as PR professionals have with the outside world. To our clients, we always need to be seen as informative, empathetic and agile - with journalists it’s important that we are reliable, friendly and helpful. Moreover, when a crisis arises for a client, quick thinking, ingenuity and our experience make us best served to find a solution. Essentially, emotional intelligence is key and when it comes to a profession like PR, this isn’t something that can be automated.


Creativity


From new business pitches to big-budget PR campaigns, creativity is one of the most important skills that’s needed in PR. Clients look to us for creative solutions and as PR pros, it’s our job to find compelling new ways to communicate our client’s story to the outside world. As well as raising brand awareness, creative PR strategies also have the ability to make an emotional impact on an audience. Around the world, PR professionals everywhere should feel rest assured that algorithms and robots are still no match for their creative human minds!


Reputation and crisis management


Alongside building positive relationships with clients, the practice of managing a client’s reputation is another core skill that PRs must master. While the vast majority of PR professionals already possess a keen eye for detail, being able to closely understand nuance and context in situations where a client’s reputation is at risk, is crucial. All in all, successful reputation management comes about as a result of in-depth knowledge and prior experience of handling vastly different crises. When it comes to robots in PR, no amount of programming and automation can effectively replicate this much-needed skill.


Although it’s easy to feel fearful about the risk of robots replacing humans at work, we think it’s unlikely that the PR profession will experience any major disruption as a result of robots becoming a more familiar sight over the years to come. In spite of this, anything that helps us as PR professionals to carry out certain tasks more effectively and efficiently should of course, in our view, be encouraged. At Lem-uhn, we use efficient practices to ensure talented junior team members aren’t wasting their time on long-winded admin tasks.


I feel incredibly privileged to work in an industry like PR. No two days are ever the same and as a highly observant extrovert who enjoys nothing more than engaging with other people, I love this very ‘human’ aspect of the job! It’s hard to imagine how a robot could ever do what I do.


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