Carl Ejiro David James, a digital advertising and PR expert, says the future of digital advertising and PR is both dynamic and transformative driven by advancements in technology and communication. As society embraces Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and personalized experiences, the convergence of digital advertising and PR will revolutionize audience engagement, influence and brand communication in an increasingly digital world. The business development and communications professional insists that industry players, particularly those in digital advertising and public relations must skill up to be better positioned to deliver services that resonate with the dynamics of the industry. He shares his insights with Tracy Yekaghe of IT Edge News.Africa.
In an era of information overload, how can digital advertisers and PR practitioners cut through the noise and capture the attention of their target audience effectively?
There are a lot of aspects under public relations which is PR and what I usually say to people in the industry is – Niche down, find an angle that best resonates with your skillset. Some of the different areas within the field of public relations include Crisis PR, Corporate Social Responsibility PR, Events PR and Brand PR. So basically, it is pretty simple; find an angle that you have strength in and focus on it so you can grow from there.
In your opinion, what role would you say influencer marketing play in the future of digital advertising and PR. And how can brands actually leverage this strategy effectively?
Influencer marketing is based on two things – relationships and connections, so it plays a major role because brands are able to tap into the fan base and the circle of certain people that have high influence. And what this means is it reduces overall marketing cost for the brands. This is because if you are able to identity an influencer that has a certain community you are looking for, it is easier to narrow down your scope and engage that influencer to do marketing for you.
With AI now, you can do multiple projects at once within a short span of time. So the life span of PR is limitless because like the name suggests, Public Relations, people are the heartbeat of every business so as long as people exist; the business of people will keep evolving.
As it pertains to brands leveraging the strategy effectively, some brands are already doing so especially telecommunications companies. For instance Glo has done a fantastic job for influencer marketing because they have worked with artists, musicians, actors, etc. And all these efforts have done a lot for their public relations strategy. A lot of people are aware of Glo, and MTN also did the same thing with Saka not long ago where he ported from 9Mobile to MTN, etcetera…
Personally, I have also seen it work for a lot of brands. Using Jos for instance where NASCO was able to sign Osama the comedian recently as their lead brand Ambassador. And that has done a lot for them in terms of marketing because a lot of people who love and like Osama now associate the NASCO brand to his image. That has thus far helped the brand to get goodwill and gain further credibility as well as brand trust in the eyes of their audience.
How do you see the future of digital advertising and PR evolving in the next five years?
That’s unlimited. Especially with the coming of Artificial Intelligence (AI), this has broken boundaries because most of the things that were manual and analogue are now automated and this is saving a great deal of time. I mean… with AI now, you can do multiple projects at once within a short span of time. So the life span of PR is limitless because like the name suggests. Public Relations, people are the heartbeat of every business so as long as people live, as long as people exist; the business of people will keep evolving.
What emerging technologies or trends, such as blockchain or the Internet of Things (IoT), do you believe will have a significant impact on the future of digital advertising and PR? How can businesses prepare for these changes?
Well, I think each and every of these technologies have a role to play: Blockchain especially when it comes to transactions and security or funds transfer, internet of things (IoT) when it comes to discovering knowledge, research and of course innovation, and AI which is artificial intelligence when it comes to automation and multitasking. So that’s planning or scheduling a lot of projects at once because artificial intelligence has now replaced manual labour to an extent.
Hence, all three are very relevant. I also think that uniquely, they all play a vital role to enhance the world of digital marketing and public relations because for blockchain, payments will have to be made and as we are evolving, agencies are developing new ways of payments through NFTs, Cryptocurrency, etcetera.
So this would be a safe space for agencies outside the present government legislations, levies, tax and fees. And then for the Internet of things, I think this would broaden the scope of how companies or agencies operate because you can be in your living room in Jos and be able to see what is happening in Malaysia – thanks to the internet, you can also see what is happening in China, the modern trends in Japan, etc. For example, in Lagos currently; there is a new 3D billboard called the Maslow that was launched and it has changed the face of advertising. As we all know billboards are 2D but currently, these billboards look like they are coming out of the frame to interact with viewers and if you know anything about human beings, you know that human beings are very visual people.
Human beings like to think with their eyes. So most times, even when they bring food to you, the way the food looks, you probably would have decided if it is going to be sweet or not before you taste it. So that is for the internet of things. And then for AI, it just makes work a lot faster, a lot easier and a lot seamless because these artificial intelligence chatbots or systems have been programmed with over a million, 10 million to a billion languages and case scenarios as well as experiences so they can tend to ready demand questions and problems that we face in the work front. All of these would certainly help us achieve much more work in a shorter time.