Five Takeaways from CIPR’s AI Conference

There is an exponential growth in the use of AI tools, and with that, a surge of interest in AI within public relations. The theme for this year’s CIPR East Anglia naturally aligned with AI’s impact on PR practices – and by selling out weeks in advance, there was a clear indicator of how eager us PRs are to gain more insights and best practices in AI.

Our Digital PR Lead, Mark Pearson, got one of the lucky tickets, so naturally we had to squeeze him for all the insights from the day!

Held in a modern building on the outskirts of Braintree, Essex, this was the first major in-person event for CIPR East Anglia that I had attended since the COVID pandemic. CIPR President Rachel Clamp guided the conference (and also sat on my table), which included talks from Ben Verinder, Kate Everett, Adam Tuckwell, and Chris Summers. The afternoon featured an opportunity for group discussion with a task based around working for the Tower of London PR and Comms team.

Do you have an AI policy in place?

I’ve consciously been using AI tools (or large language models (LLMs) as they were commonly referred to here) to support my work in PR and Comms for around one year, and we often talk about its benefits and risks within the Athene team. 

Here are my top five takeaways from the AI conference:

Importance of workplaces having an AI policy

  • In his presentation, Ben Verinder outlined that 9 out of 10 companies use AI at work. However, 4 out of 10 don’t have an AI policy in place. 
  • Why is a policy needed? Organisations must have an understanding of what is ethically and legally acceptable in AI usage.
  • The University of Cambridge has a great set of guidelines, that will be useful for companies looking to create guidelines for AI tool use.

Public Relations has a role in educating others

  • People working in PR and Communications have a duty to help those they work with.
  • This means educating and building trust in AI tools and showcasing ethical and responsible PR practices.

Google has taken a firm stand against AI-generated content

  • AI is unavoidable. In its latest Core update published in March 2024, Google’s position on AI-generated content specifically targets “spammy automatically-generated content.”
  • As Kate Everett said in her presentation, Google favours well-written, original content. It is concerned with quality, so make sure your work aligns with this.

See AI as your co-pilot

  • AI can help complete work that is too time-consuming for humans and provide technical assistance.
  • By harnessing AI, PR practitioners can navigate the complexities of modern communication with greater precision and effectiveness.

The use of prompts in AI use is key to success

  • How you choose to structure your prompt will largely impact the type of response you will receive.
  • According to Chris Summers, as a prompt writer, you must have a solid understanding of the topic that you are asking the model to prompt.
  • Always remember that LLMs cannot learn all computable functions and will have a tendency hallucinate. Do not trust everything that it formulates.

Where to start with your use of AI

I was impressed that the tone of the discussion during the conference was always positive toward the use of AI in PR.

If you have yet to explore AI much, then tools such as ChatGPT, Claude, and Jasper are good tools to start with. If the company you work for doesn’t have an AI use policy in place, then encourage it to do so. AI is growing so fast that an understanding of beneficial, ethical use across those you work with is paramount.

You may be thinking, did I use AI to write this blog? Yes, in two ways: one for it to analyse a picture I’d taken of my written notes and formulate the key points from it, and secondly to run a spelling and grammar check through it all. A useful co-pilot. Would fly again!

Thank you to CIPR East Anglia for organising such an interest event. Find out more on what they do here: