According to the Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI) State of the Industry Survey 2019-20 the public relations industry grew by 12%, a YOY growth trend, with the key driver being cited as digital technology. In addition, 71% of survey respondents indicate the need for providing measurements on public relations efforts.
But despite this need, there is no one tool specifically designed for public relations agencies to consolidate and analyze their data, in order for them to help their clients better understand their stakeholder ecosystem, nor to create an enduring reputation, and to generate real-time reports.
With this in mind, The PRactice was looking for an improved ‘one-stop’ digital platform for its clients to easily access, increasing online availability and improving speeds, to enhance the end-user experience. Considering that it works with many partners and vendors, managing the on-boarding of new organizations was also proving a challenge.
The project developed into the search for an all-encompassing, innovative solution to provide a real-time, single source-of-truth. It was time to move away from managing and storing projects, clients, stakeholders and media coverage via MS Excel, eliminate manual report generation and eradicate issues around various versions of spreadsheets being in circulation between team members.
As the project evolved with SourceFuse, The PRactice also considered the need to be able to analyze historical data in order to make more strategic business decisions, where to concentrate its activities or which business relationships to cultivate.
In the absence of a PRactice digital platform, the following challenges existed:
- No Single Source of Truth:
Projects, clients, stakeholders and media coverage was stored across hundreds of MS Excel spreadsheets, with no single data repository. This posed a problem with various spreadsheet versions being in circulation with multiple team members, the data contained within not being in real-time, and with the risk of ‘data islands’ held on unconnected devices.
- Inefficient Project Management:
Since project management was a highly manual process, the more clients The PRactice had, the greater the process inefficiencies, especially around task assignment and status updates. For senior management it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep an overview on project status updates.
- Manual Push of Content and Reporting:
There was duplication of effort when content was published, as clients were notified by manually uploading content to the client-specific site as well e.g. WordPress. In addition, The PRactice team members collected all the client coverage, read each and every article, filtered the relevant ones and generated daily coverage reports for their clients. In generating these manual reports, no consistent format was followed, and analytical reports were manually generated only once a fortnight.
- Erroneous and Inefficient Extraction of Metadata:
The PRactice employees were required to fetch the content from various sources (primarily from Talkwalker), after which they would go through the content manually to extract the metadata, for example, author, subject, sentiment, location, brand/organization, publication, etc.
- Content Shortlisting Decisions:
The content to be shortlisted and pushed to the client was very much a subjective decision made by the employees, and bearing in mind the huge volume of content they had to navigate, the shortlisting process was based more on the cognitive skill of the individual.
Having reviewed its current challenges and business objectives, The PRactice team came up with the idea of building a platform to assist public relations project management, stakeholder engagement, client management and media monitoring.
In collaboration with the SourceFuse team, SourceFuse proposed incorporating AWS artificial intelligence services, such as AWS Comprehend, to automatically extract metadata from the content, AWS SageMaker to shortlist content, based on the past actions by the employees, to immediately overcome two of its business challenges.
SourceFuse then set about building a unique platform for The PRactice, which integrates a research-based stakeholder perspective with real-time listening and monitoring. This integration allowed The PRactice to have a real-time overview of their stakeholders across a range of parameters and helps their clients to understand their stakeholder ecosystem in a holistic and comprehensive manner, enabling them to make better management decisions aligned with current market dynamics.
Key Features of the Solution
- Single Data Repository: building a consolidated data repository capable of generating real-time reports, the web application (designed to be an amalgamation of Media Monitor and Stakeholder Engagement Platform) uniquely facilitates all day-to-day activities of a public relations agency. In addition, real-time reports are generated and readily available for the client at any time.
- Extensive Insights: provides intelligent business insights regarding stakeholders’ industry influence, relationship networks, and publication mentions.
- Content Upload: allows an agency to upload coverage for its clients from various sources, such as Talkwalker, Impact, Cirrus and VeeTrack via CSVs.
- Automated Data Extraction: the NLP component extracts useful data from hundreds of articles, eliminating the need for individual manual searching.
- Automatic Content Prioritization: the AI component continuously learns from user actions to determine whether or not an article will be relevant for a client, assigning a ‘score’ and automatically prioritizing the article’s relevance for a particular client.
- Multi-level Access Security: with customizable access permissions, both for The PRactice and its clients, only content that is relevant is made available, for example, articles or business insights.
The success of any solution implementation always begins with SourceFuse taking the time to understand, through collaborative stakeholder engagement, and visualize the business objectives, in this case the complete business cycle and objectives of The PRactice’s stakeholder management program.
In meeting The PRactice’s key challenges, this new solution now delivers:
- Data Centralization: accurate and real-time information for all projects, clients and content, ensures full visibility and transparency for all authorized users, including automatic notification of project updates.
- Automatic Report Generation: automatic report generation based on analyzing historical data, trends and metrics, can now provide valuable insights to create more strategic business decisions and activities.
- Automatic Metadata Extraction: content metadata is now automatically extracted, eliminating manual, timely and potentially erroneous processes.
- Improved Content Management: automatic content scoring and prioritization, enables quicker accept-reject decisions for sharing content with clients or to other channels, while machine learning ensures the accuracy keeps improving over time.
Throughout the project, SourceFuse proposed innovative technology to go beyond what The PRactice had originally envisioned, with extremely successful outcomes and a solution that is scalable and highly efficient.