The public relations profession has always differentiated from other communications disciplines through an ability to relate to core audiences and influencers. Our intuitive understanding of the power of relationships and how to strengthen them allows us to navigate crises and manage reputations nimbly and effectively.
As new technology has enabled the rise and use of big data, are we leaving appropriate room for the power of intuition?
The Council of Public Relations Firms will address this question among a host of others during the 2014 Critical Issues Forum. The speakers, Teddy Goff, co-founder of Precision Strategy and the Digital Director for President Obama’s reelection campaign, Tim Leberecht, CMO of NBBJ and Claudia Perlich, Chief Scientist at dStillery will debate if there is room for big data and intuition to coexist and how the two inform each other in their panel on October 23 in New York.
Big data certainly has a rightful place in PR. It assists companies in filtering through the noise to develop insights that truly inform and help determine impact. It can be so valuable, it’s no wonder 91 percent of executives have a big data initiative planned or in progress. Big data is projected to grow from a $28.5B market by the end of 2014, to $50.1B in 2015.
Intuition on the other hand is manufactured from relationships. It is a gut feeling constructed of personal experience, learnings from failures and risk taking. It allows us to ask follow up questions, dig deeper and account for the nuances numbers can’t compute. Intuition is why PR can be flexible and impactful. Most importantly, intuition helps us build trust with our most important audiences
Here’s an interesting way to think about it – do you prefer radio/satellite stations that are run by algorithms or the tastes and preferences of individual DJ’s? Where does the relationship between listener and station exist?
A recent PwC report reflects this inherent tension:
“…Experience and intuition, and data and analysis, are not mutually exclusive. The challenge for business is how best to marry the two. A ‘gut instinct’ nowadays is likely to be based on increasingly large amounts of data, while even the largest data set cannot be relied upon to make an effective big decision without human involvement.”
This tug of war between data and intuition be challenging but harnessing the relationship between the two is an opportunity to leverage all of the organization’s resources, both tangible and intangible. We tap our intuition to identify the conversations that need to be started. The right data helps assess the effectiveness and identify opportunities to change course. When leveraged together, intuition and data can provide insight into where the dialogue can be steered. The challenge is to allow ample room for both.
We look forward to further discussion at the forum on October 23rd. To register to the event click here.