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Please welcome Kim Prince, CEO and founder of Proven Media, a marketing communications agency serving B2B and B2C companies throughout North America.
Prince brings more than 20 years of corporate marketing campaigns to the table and has an impressive background in corporate messaging strategies, public relations, and strategic planning for corporations, brands, and C-level executives. Her passion is to help strong, complex businesses and their visionaries reach their goals.
Artificial Intelligence & Cannabis Public Relations
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic these days—and for good reason—as the AI market is
predicted to become a $407 billion industry by 2027, according to a Forbes report. But for those of us in the cannabis industry (in particular public relations, marketing, and communications), how does AI impact how we share the news about our B2B and B2C clients, projects, and products?
What is Artificial Intelligence?
A recent TechCrunch article explains that AI is "a kind of software system based on neural
networks, a technique that was actually pioneered decades ago but very recently has blossomed thanks to powerful new computing resources."
"AI has enabled effective voice and image recognition, as well as the ability to generate synthetic imagery and speech," according to TechCrunch. "Researchers are hard at work making it possible for an AI to browse the web, book tickets, tweak recipes, and more."
"AI has enabled effective voice and image recognition, as well as the ability to generate synthetic imagery and speech."
In essence, AI is using technology to do tasks that normally require human intelligence. Some examples of AI include chatbots, services like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, facial recognition, and more.
When it comes to business, and in particular communication, Forbes found that the most popular tasks for AI are responding to messages like texts or emails, crafting emails, writing social media posts, and summarizing complex or lengthy copy, among others. It's these tasks that make communication professionals wonder how AI will impact their day-to-day jobs.
AI & Public Relations
Artificial Intelligence & Cannabis Public Relations. AI is a relatively new phenomenon and communications professionals are still figuring out its uses and limitations. The national Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recently addressed the topic in a blog post and came to a few conclusions that PR professionals in any sector should keep in mind, including:
Understanding AI's capabilities and limitations.
Utilizing the time saved from using AI as a tool to work on PR strategy.
Understanding that ChatGPT still needs a human editor.
"While AI is a wonderful tool to utilize for research and condensing data, public relations and marketing—especially in the regulated and nuanced world of cannabis—will always require a human touch."
The general conclusion is that, while AI is a wonderful tool to utilize for research and condensing data, public relations and marketing—especially in the regulated and nuanced world of cannabis—will always require a human touch.
Essentially, most industry experts believe that AI is not replacing experienced, knowledgeable PR professionals anytime soon. "Artificial intelligence will never replace the reasoned insights that we gain through in-person contact with audiences and industry experts," according to the PRSA.
"The technology also won't supplant our interaction with senior managers in our organizations, who define the objectives and strategies that our communications should support. You can devote the time that AI saves you to tasks that are beyond its capabilities, such as robust support of strategy."
At a recent Meet the Cannabis press webinar hosted by the Cannabis Marketing Association and facilitated by Proven Media, top journalists and editors working in the cannabis media space agreed with the PRSA's conclusions. When asked about AI, the panelists agreed that they can tell when a press release or news brief is written by AI—and they felt that well-written content by public relations professionals was preferred over AI generated pieces.
"AI can be used as a tool by communication professionals across all sectors and help with non-media relations tasks such as social media management and measurement."
When it comes to other tasks often on a PR professional's plate, Sprout Social interviewed
Rachelle Bedell, an expert communications and engagement manager who has been utilizing AI in her role. Her insights, similar to those from PRSA, are that AI can be used as a tool by communication professionals across all sectors and help with non-media relations tasks such as social media management and measurement.
"Not only does it make us more efficient, but it also makes us go further," Bedell told Sprout
Social. "It's like the invention of the graphing calculator for math. We don't have to sit around and add numbers with paper and a pencil anymore. Instead, we can take what it provides and do so much more."
AI Concerns & The Future of the Industry
If your cannabis company's PR team chooses to explore utilizing AI, experts note to do so with knowledge and caution. For example, Sprout Social notes that there is still a lot of legal
ambiguity on whether AI created content is protected by copyright laws.
They recommend making sure that AI helps to get the ball rolling for creative ideas, but that PR experts always add a personal touch and voice to content. Other cautionary tips they note are to always double check AI-generated research and be willing to experiment with how AI can best help in their roles.
The PRSA notes that, as AI continues to evolve, up-and-coming communication professionals will need guidance on not only how to use the tools, but to make sure they understand that AI will never replace the human elements of experience and nuance.
"Public relations depends on human qualities such as curiosity, critical thinking, and empathy," cites the PRSA. "ChatGPT can save time, but the real thinking will still be the questions that PR practitioners ask themselves, their leaders, and their clients."
"Public relations depends on human qualities such as curiosity, critical thinking, and empathy," cites the PRSA.
For PR professionals in the cannabis sector, this nuance is even more critical as expertise on not only PR best practices, but knowledge regarding how to navigate the nuanced world of
communication in a regulated industry is key to success.
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