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Clāra Ly-Le on Future-proofing Your Career.

Dr. Clāra Ly-Le is Managing director of EloQ Communications and is a thought leader on the topic of career progression and adaptability. They took some time out to speak with The Industry Leaders about this vital subject.

What's your career journey been like and how has that led you to be an authority on this topic?

My career journey has been a dynamic and fulfilling path in the world of public relations and marketing. After honing my skills through formal education in the U.S. and Australia, my passion for the industry and my home country, Vietnam, led me to establish EloQ Communications. For over a decade, I've been deeply committed to showcasing Vietnam's capabilities globally and supporting businesses in achieving their communication goals. Through my role at EloQ Communications, I have firsthand experience in implementing AI-driven tools and automation processes to enhance our clients' PR and marketing campaigns. Leveraging AI-powered analytics, we can now gather and interpret vast amounts of data in real-time, enabling us to make data-driven decisions and optimize our strategies more effectively. Automation has streamlined repetitive tasks, allowing our team to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of PR, ultimately delivering better results for our clients. I also serve as the vice dean at Van Lang University's Faculty of Public Relations and Communications. Here, I challenge conventional norms and strive to elevate the PR sector in Vietnam, nurturing the next generation of PR practitioners. This position has allowed me to engage with aspiring PR professionals and educate them about the transformative potential of automation and AI. I have actively incorporated discussions on these topics into the curriculum, empowering students to be future-ready and equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the age of automation and AI.

Are there specific jobs in your industry at higher risk of AI disruption?

In the public relations industry, there are certain jobs that may be at higher risk of AI disruption than others. While AI can undoubtedly enhance efficiency and streamline certain processes, there are specific aspects of PR that rely heavily on human creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, making them less susceptible to complete automation. One area that could be more vulnerable to AI disruption is data analysis and media monitoring. AI-driven tools can efficiently process and analyze large volumes of data, including media coverage and social media mentions. Similarly, tasks such as bulk emailing or mass outreach to media contacts could be at risk of being overly automated. However, while these tools can provide valuable insights, I believe they may not fully replace the human ability to interpret and understand the nuanced implications of media coverage or the broader public sentiment. Over-reliance on AI for such tasks might lead to a lack of authenticity and genuine connections, which are core components of successful PR strategies.

What skills do you think young professionals should learn to stay employable in a world with AI?

In a world with AI, young professionals must equip themselves with a combination of technical and soft skills to stay employable and thrive in their careers. Here are some skills I believe young professionals should learn to future-proof their careers in the age of automation and AI: Understanding data analysis and interpretation is crucial in a world where AI plays a significant role. Young professionals should be proficient in extracting insights from data, making data-driven decisions, and knowing how to use AI-driven tools effectively. AI relies heavily on data, and the ability to analyze, interpret, and draw meaningful insights from data sets will remain a valuable skill. Understanding data-driven decision-making processes can help PR professionals leverage AI-generated insights effectively. PR is a people-centric profession, and human qualities like emotional intelligence and empathy will continue to be indispensable. Understanding and connecting with human emotions and building authentic relationships with clients and audiences cannot be replaced by AI. These skills can help young professionals can complement AI-driven tools, leverage their human strengths, and become indispensable assets to their organizations. The key is to embrace AI as an aid rather than a replacement, and to continually adapt and upskill to stay relevant in the ever-changing landscape of automation and AI.

How can AI help business owners and executives make better decisions?

As mentioned, one of the key ways AI can assist is through data analysis and monitoring. AI-powered tools can process vast amounts of data from various sources, including social media, news outlets, and online platforms. By analyzing this data in real-time, business owners and executives can gain a comprehensive understanding of their brand's reputation, public sentiment, and overall market perception. This data-driven approach allows for more informed decision-making and enables proactive responses to emerging trends and issues. AI can also enhance audience targeting and segmentation. By analyzing user behavior and preferences, AI can identify specific audience segments with high potential for engagement and conversion. This level of granularity allows PR professionals to create tailored messages that resonate with each segment, leading to more effective communication strategies. Furthermore, AI-driven tools can automate media monitoring, providing instant updates on brand mentions, competitor activities, and industry trends. This not only saves time but also ensures that PR professionals stay updated in real-time, allowing for prompt responses to opportunities or crises.

What ethical issues should businesses consider when using AI?

As a PR professional, I recognize the ethical implications that businesses should consider when using AI in decision-making processes. One crucial aspect is addressing bias and discrimination. AI algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in training data, leading to discriminatory practices in PR strategies and messaging. Ethical frameworks emphasize the importance of continuous monitoring and mitigation of biases to ensure fair and inclusive decision-making. Privacy and data protection are equally significant concerns in the PR industry when utilizing AI. AI systems often rely on extensive personal data to make informed decisions. Ethical considerations demand obtaining informed consent, implementing robust data protection measures, and enabling individuals to have control over their personal information. Protecting privacy and data security is essential to maintain public trust and ensure compliance with data regulations. Transparency and explainability are also vital ethical considerations in AI-aided decision-making. The lack of transparency in AI algorithms can hinder accountability and erode stakeholder trust. Ethical frameworks stress the need for clear explanations of how AI systems reach their conclusions to ensure transparency and maintain trust with the public.

How will AI impact leadership and management?

By leveraging AI-powered data analytics and insights, leaders can make more informed and data-driven decisions. AI can process vast amounts of information from various sources, providing valuable insights into audience behavior, sentiment analysis, and campaign performance. This will enable leaders to develop more effective and targeted PR strategies, leading to better outcomes and increased ROI. Furthermore, AI can enhance efficiency and productivity in management practices. Tasks that were once time-consuming, such as media monitoring, trend analysis, and competitor research, can now be automated through AI tools. This allows managers to focus on strategic planning and creative thinking, driving innovation and staying ahead in the competitive landscape. However, AI also presents challenges in leadership and management. One significant concern is the potential displacement of jobs. As AI technology continues to advance, some traditional PR tasks may be automated, leading to a shift in job roles and responsibilities. Future-proofing careers in PR will require leaders and managers to adapt, upskill, and find new ways to add value in a more technologically integrated environment.

What specific skills or roles do you think AI can't replace in your industry?

While AI can enhance efficiency and provide valuable insights, it cannot replicate the unique human attributes and expertise that are essential in PR. One skill that AI cannot replace is creativity. Crafting compelling and innovative storytelling requires human imagination, empathy, and the ability to connect emotionally with the target audience. PR professionals have the capacity to think outside the box and develop creative strategies that resonate with people on a deeper level. Additionally, AI lacks emotional intelligence, which is crucial in building and maintaining authentic relationships with clients, media, and stakeholders. PR professionals possess the ability to understand and navigate complex human emotions, adapt to unique situations, and respond empathetically to various stakeholders' needs. And crisis management is an indispensable human role in PR. Handling delicate situations, mitigating risks, and managing reputational crises require quick thinking, adaptability, and the ability to make informed decisions under pressure. These skills are deeply rooted in human capabilities and cannot be replicated by AI.

Finally, what does the future of work look like with automation and AI, and how can ambitious professionals thrive in this changing landscape?

In the public relations industry, the future of work with automation and AI holds immense potential and exciting possibilities. To thrive in this changing landscape, ambitious PR professionals must adopt a growth mindset and continuously upskill. Embracing AI tools and learning to leverage them effectively will be essential. This includes understanding how AI can enhance data-driven decision-making and streamline processes, empowering PR practitioners to deliver more meaningful and impactful results. Additionally, proactive adaptation to change will be paramount. As AI technology evolves, new roles and opportunities will emerge. Ambitious professionals must be open to exploring these novel roles and adapting their skill sets accordingly. This may involve seeking additional training, pursuing certifications in AI-related fields, or even exploring interdisciplinary roles that blend PR expertise with technology. The future of work with automation and AI in the public relations industry offers a chance for ambitious professionals to excel by combining their human strengths with the capabilities of AI. By embracing technology, fostering a growth mindset, networking, and proactively adapting to change, PR practitioners can future-proof their careers and remain at the forefront of innovation in this dynamic and exciting field.

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