Jun 26, 2019 / by Alister Houghton

Our key takeaways from CommsCon X Insights


Cision’s CommsCon X Insights aimed to do exactly what the name suggested: provide insight into measurement journeys, social evaluation, the impact of AI and what future comms technology will allow communicators to do.

We’re delighted that our great speakers did exactly that! Here are a few of the key points they made throughout the day.


Communicators shouldn’t fear AI

Humans are in control of how much or little they use artificial intelligence and shouldn’t be afraid of it, according to Thwaites Communications CEO Emma Thwaites.

She believes that humanity should stop running around in circles when it comes to this technology, as the world will be a better place with it in use.


Understanding and experimenting with artificial intelligence

Continuing on the theme of making use of AI, IBM external relations leader Lucy Linthwaite encouraged communicators to look to other creative disciplines, such as advertising, for examples of adopting AI effectively. Linthwaite added that communicators should start small using free tools and demos to learn how the technology works.

CIPR AI in PR vice chair Kerry Sheehan echoed this need for comms professionals to understand the technology, warning that they will need to become “guardians of the truth”.


Using a data-driven approach to social

Social channels are often about capturing moments in time, but rather than this magic being wholly spontaneous, using data can help creatives to come up with great social campaigns, the How to measure magic panel found.

Chris Talago, Oracle’s VP PR and communications, JAPAC and EMEA, said that using data enabled creatives to take a “rifle shot” rather than using a scattergun approach, while Colgate-Palmolive search and engagement lead Jenn Day noted that working with creative teams early in the planning process across all four platforms brought the best results.


Who to target

Social media editor-in-chief William Bonaddio warned that on social your competitors will be “everyone”, which means you need to identify the best way to talk to your audience.

Talago also noted that understanding your audience extended to understanding the best media titles comms professionals should target, arguing that niche and trade media can have far more impact on your business objectives than “major” media outlets.


Outcomes not outputs

Both Kellogg’s PR and comms manager, EMEA, Sarah O’Neill and Macmillan’s head of media and PR Kate Jones emphasised the importance of measuring outcomes rather than outputs.

Jones said that Macmillan’s comms team has moved away from generating lots of numbers which provided little insight into how their work was impacting the business, while O’Neill described how Kellogg’s AMEC award winning Better Starts campaign was measured alongside real business objectives.


Measuring the effectiveness images

In presenting an outline of what is possible through using developing comms technology, Cision Insights COO Timo Thomann-Rompf highlighted the importance of being able to effectively measure the value of images for comms professionals.

He argued that media monitoring has historically been about text, yet pictures are now become the most important source of comms.


A fantastic audience

Finally, we’d like to thank all of our attendees who overcame the dastardly duo of terrible weather than severe tube delays to make their way to the Ministry of Sound. No speaker wants to talk to an empty room, so the fact that the venue was full despite those issues is a testament to everybody who made their way to CommsCon X Insights.

We hope you found the sessions insightful and you came away with practical tips you will use in your day-to-day roles.

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About Alister Houghton

Alister Houghton is UK Content Marketing Manager at Cision, writing and commissioning thought leadership, interviews and opinion pieces covering the earned media, marketing and journalism spheres. As well as working in a variety of roles across the business, he has previously managed media and web content for the British American Football Association.