Much has been written about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the property profession. There is no question that data acquisition has become significantly more efficient as a result of technology, and there is concern that this could result in substantial change to some professions. Now more than ever, property consultancies must become agile to remain viable.
As data production demands less of a company’s resources than previously, the balance is shifting towards the value that only humans can bring: interpretation, analysis and expert comment on that data. Consequently the balance between the promotion of comment versus statistics is changing.
PR has a significant role to play in promoting comment, opinion and expertise on behalf of property professionals. An increased emphasis on expert comment is not solely an opportunity to create a marketable niche, but a reflection of the proliferation of data to which we are exposed: not all of it reliable, scientific or easy to comprehend. Property professionals are increasingly required to select, curate and make sense of data for the benefit of their clients and to predict its likely impact. This shift in emphasis is also a reflection of the speed of change: whereas previously, 10 year forecasts were the staple PR output of a property consultancy, the pace of political and economic change has rendered such long-term forecasts redundant. In 2005, which property consultancies predicted the worldwide banking crisis and the lengthy period of austerity which followed it? In 2015, which property consultancies predicted the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Brexit, or coronavirus? While 10 year forecasts have a role to play, journalists’ interests are turning to live data and the sophisticated modelling of this data which is now available.
Comment needs to reflect recent changes. It needs to be bang up to date and it needs to be agile. It needs to reflect the expertise of its author but also the needs of its audience and it must cut through the noise in an increasingly busy arena. PR increasingly provides a vital service in taking the expert comment of a property professional and getting it heard. There is no doubt that this is a challenge, but it’s a fascinating challenge.
This blog is an extract from my book Promoting Property: insight, experience and best practice which was published by Routledge in April 2020.