Creating and maintaining an effective public relation strategy has never been more difficult. Treading in the constantly shifting waters of the current media environment is dangerous, but necessary for any brand to have a chance of being noticed.
Whether it be the volatility of social media interactions, misleading news stories, or flat-out lies spread about your brand, executing a PR plan in the information age can feel unobtainable.
The biggest issue for any PR firm or department is that even a full team of people can't process the mass influx of information. Not only are millions of interactions and stories being spread every minute, but those occurrences are happening across a wide variety of outlets: social media platforms, news websites, blogs, etc. How can you understand a brand’s issues or public image approach when the data is scattered so broadly?
Narrative intelligence is one answer to the woes of PR strategy. Simply put, narrative intelligence refers to the ability to listen, understand, and analyze narratives or stories effectively. When implemented effectively, narrative intelligence can cut through the noise and provide real, actionable data that can improve any PR team’s decision-making and online presence.
Let’s break down the three core components of narrative intelligence and how they coincide with creating an effective PR campaign.
A specific, identifiable target audience is essential to any PR campaign. But this goes beyond whittling your audience to a specific demographic– it’s knowing what that demographic is saying and what they care about. This requires active listening.
As we’ve discussed, though, listening at scale is extremely tedious, if not impossible with the sheer amount of content online. This is where the efficiency part of narrative intelligence factors in. Applied well, narrative intelligence can parse through thousands of stories and pieces of data and reveal the common threads which bind a target audience together.
Using narrative intelligence on a singular platform, like Twitter or even Google, is ineffective due to algorithmic bias clouding the real picture and siloing off important data that should be grouped.
For a PR campaign to have a clear picture of the state of their audience, they need narratives that transcend singular platforms. Additionally, they need to be able to access that data quickly to maximize efficiency. This is where incorporating AI as a listening tool helps PR strategists conduct narrative intelligence effectively.
Instead of manually reading dozens of articles covering topics of interest to a given target audience, AI can quickly filter and produce key takeaways from the wide-ranging conversation. This leads to less time needed for research and enhanced listening capabilities which give PR professionals a better ear to listen to the narratives that matter most to their target audience.
Kudzu, an AI-native narrative intelligence platform, consumes thousands of articles every day to show how narratives start, who’s amplifying them, and how they affect your corporate strategy.
Quicker access to large amounts of online conversation is useful, but just as essential is the ability to quickly comprehend that data and transform it into a positive branding message. A brand’s message has to be informed by current sociopolitical trends in the current information environment.
This is where the understanding component of narrative intelligence comes into play. AI built with narrative intelligence not only absorbs thousands of sources from across the web, it systematically categorizes (or atomizes) narratives. This allows for a PR team to quickly understand the state of a narrative and read the response of any given online demographic.
Kudzu narrative briefs are an example of this distillation process in effect. These are short, constantly-updating documents that give an executive-level summary of any given topic or source. Using NLP techniques, narrative briefs contain rich data visualizations, source analysis, and amplification tracking that gives the user actionable insights for addressing their public image.
But narrative intelligence goes beyond comprehension– it also provides suggested messaging. This is shareable content backed by data that has been scraped from the sources that matter most to a brand. The result is intelligent, prompt responses to online trends that affect a company’s PR strategy.
We’ve already discussed the importance of listening to your target audience and understanding the industry trends. But how does it all combine? And what about other factors that can affect a PR campaign, like mainstream media coverage, political trends, world events, etc.? Organizing and aggregating so much data is dizzying and time-consuming.
The third pillar of narrative intelligence, analysis, addresses the problem of the overwhelming information environment. Narrative-driven Data analysis helps any PR-related process be more organized and effective. This is accomplished by separating entities by national origin, sphere of influence, political or factional affiliation, industry, or any other organizational unit, to better determine the origin and evolution of narrative amplification campaigns.
With all of the data spread out into well-defined groups, a PR team (particularly the analysts) can see narrative patterns earlier, often, deeper, giving their campaign a competitive edge. Suddenly, a sea of scattered information is shaped into a concentrated pool of data that accelerates decision-making.
The Kudzu platform does data analysis on a massive scale and tailors it to each team’s needs. With dozens of plug-and-play data modules at your disposal, Kudzu’s extensive segmentation makes analysis quick, effective, and portable.
Narrative intelligence is a must-have for any PR firm that wants to deploy well-researched and effective campaigns. In a crowded online environment, you have to have the right tools to be heard, stay relevant, and react to both positive and negative trends affecting your campaign. Listening, understanding, and analyzing are a requirement, but how effectively are you employing them in your current strategy?
EdgeTheory is an AI-powered narrative intelligence company that helps its customers understand and participate in the narratives that shape their world. Click here to learn more.