Art and Science in public relations are no longer polarized ideas. They are beginning to mesh with the acceleration of the digital sphere. Data may sound analytical, robotic or even boring, but the truth is: PR is moving towards data whether you want it to or not.
So how does data affect public relations? Data can be extremely large sets of information that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends and associations especially relating to human behavior and interactions. This can form the strategies we use in public relations. You want to be seen as a strategic partner in your organization and be able to articulate the business channel and how you are using public relations to help solve it. Data can be the conversation that gets you a seat at the table.
Why is data so important? There are 2.5 Quintillion bytes of data created each day (2,500,000,000,000,000,000). And even so, the amount of data collected is accelerating. With such fast growth in technology and data, 90 percent of the data in the world was collected in the last 2 years. As a public relations professional you have to ask yourself: Are you going to be on the train or not because the train has already left the station.
Increasing in popularity, the Internet of things is causing data to rise significantly. Everything we build now has technology that is gathering data, whether that is how many steps we take or who we are calling, companies are collecting the data and using it to inform their business strategies.
There is now a basis of neuroscience behind many organizations and their data. So firstly, neuroscience is any or all of the sciences, such as which deal with how the brain works.
This plays into digital public relations and the psychology of social media “likes”. We can use data to get more likes, by tracking what triggers a social media user to push the heart on Instagram or comment on a Facebook post. Knowing what drives interaction can be the key to your organization’s success online.
There is another concept called the elusive of 600. This says that the brain has the capacity to understand 750 words per minute, but we speak at around 150 a minute. This plays into length of advertising, length of content and studying the effectiveness of brevity in digital content. We can understand so much more than what is being said, so how are we gaining all of their headspace.
Every 8 seconds, we reevaluate whether we are going to continue to pay attention and focus on something, if not we move on to something else. This is valuable science, that as public relations professionals, we constantly have to be aware of when creating, pitching and presenting information to key publics. Competing for mind space and time share should be one of our main concerns.
What are we storytelling? Storytelling has main drivers that we can track and detect when facing our audience. The brain reacts differently to certain types of storytelling. Facts only activate 2 parts of the brain but stories activate many additional parts of the brain. This evidence can help us tell stories that trigger multiple parts of the brain and we can convey this to our bosses, to convey our value in the business process.
Science proves that when PR professionals convey a story, you (consumer) will enter yourself into the story, doing the work for us (PR professionals). From the data we also know, you have to keep content short and compelling as we are trying to be a part of each person’s consumption capacity in a day. The brain processes images 60x faster than words so how can you show the consumer instead of telling them because data says it’s more effective.
Neuroscience and data are a weapon all public relations professionals should be using. How is the brain acting and then ultimately how do we use that to our advantage to gain clicks, ROI, impressions, gain awareness, tell a story or create a brand. But remember, data means nothing with the insight and ability to analyze it. Being able to analyze and recognize data is an invaluable skill to carry with you, so join in on the trend of neuroscience and big data.
By: Audra Gormley