Farewell to an intense 2023

Picture of Agencia comma

My memory is starting to fade, maybe. But if I had to say which year of these almost 25 years as a communications entrepreneur has been the most intense, I would say – without any doubt – 2023;

On the verge of the last days of December, yes, I confirm it: 2023 has been a very, very intense year;

The constant threat of a deep crisis, if not recession, among the more pessimistic has haunted us for each and every one of the 365 days; We were periodically reminded of this by a trickle of rate hikes in a desperate attempt to curb inflation; The closest wars, in Ukraine and Israel, have not helped; The message is clear: we are alive, but let’s not get overconfident; Tomorrow everything may be different;

The world has continued to turn, but with much more anguish. We’re protecting ourselves from the news (bad, mostly) because we can’t fit any more and something tells me we’re getting a ball.

What is coming – that wildly rampaging AI – is even more disturbing as the regulatory framework doesn’t quite know whether it wants to regulate the technology or its uses, but we’ve all already been put on alert. Just in case; We suffer a lot for what may never happen;

Perhaps what has struck me most in recent months, after my brief and unfruitful experience as acting president of the Association of Communication Consultants, the reviled content that we professionals in the sector give to the word communication, as if we were talking about the Antichrist himself; First it was the word ‘agency’; now it’s the turn of ‘communication’; I claim the beauty and power of both; It cannot be that we are still our own worst enemy; Meanwhile, the analogues conquer our space, taking advantage of the fact that we are paralysed by a fear fuelled by our lack of courage; “There is a lack of courage in the sector and among professionals,” said Antonio López in our Elefante Verde.

I’m coming out with a less than positive post, I’m afraid; Remember that I said it has been an intense year and perhaps I am a little too tired; But I do not forget that we are alive; As Pablo Mairal says, “if you can’t handle life, try ‘little life’” Thanks, Belén Torregrosa for bringing it into my story.

And in this little life, as in many other years, the intense need to move forward is again emerging; 2024 is a new year, just like many others; for some, it will be an important year; They will have faith in the human condition, in fair play and many will be a little closer to their dream; others will have it more complicated, because they got the wrong cards in the deal, because they did not know how to play them or because they were simply not where they needed to be at the time they needed to be; But this happens every year; It is life itself;

So what will be so special about the coming year? I am inclined to think that, in the fascinating world of communication, we have two challenges and two opportunities ahead of us, neither of them so common sense – but no less important – that they can knock us out; Let’s be careful;

The main challenges for 2024

1. Make AI an ally and not the enemy.

Artificial intelligence has been the word of the year 2023; There must be a reason; We know and we don’t know what we are talking about;

There are those who have already incorporated it without trauma into their daily lives – seeking to understand it little by little – and those who resist in the absolute conviction that it is not up to the task and that it is not intelligent at all; Make no mistake: we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg; AI has been in our lives for decades and has now become more apparent through generative intelligence; But there are many of them, and whether we want to or not, we will have to learn to live with them;

But what does AI think of AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a number of significant contributions to the communication sector; Here are some ways in which AI is impacting and improving this sector:

  • Data and sentiment analysis: AI can analyse large amounts of data from social networks, online comments, and other communication channels to understand audience sentiment. This allows organisations to adjust their communication strategies according to current trends and opinions;
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants: AI-based chatbots and virtual assistants enable more efficient and faster communication on digital platforms. They can answer frequently asked questions, assist in website navigation and provide real-time information, enhancing the user experience;
  • Content personalisation: AI makes it easy to personalise content for specific audiences. Through data analytics, companies can tailor their messages to individual user preferences, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of communication;
  • – Machine translation: AI-based machine translation systems facilitate communication between people speaking different languages; This is essential for companies and organisations operating globally;
  • Speech recognition and transcription: AI has significantly improved the accuracy of speech recognition and transcription of conversations. This is useful in the creation of multimedia content, such as podcasts and videos, as well as in accessibility for people with hearing disabilities;
  • Content Generation: natural language generation algorithms allow the automatic creation of written content. This can be useful for report writing, automated news and other types of content that do not require specific creativity;
  • Audience segmentation: AI can identify patterns and segment audiences more precisely. This helps companies to target specific messages to particular demographic groups, improving the effectiveness of communication campaigns;
  • Predictive analytics: using machine learning techniques, AI can predict future trends and behaviours based on historical data. This helps organisations anticipate changes in public opinion and adjust their communication strategies accordingly;
  • Marketing automation: AI can automate repetitive tasks in marketing, such as sending personalised emails, audience targeting and optimising advertising campaigns.

In short, artificial intelligence is transforming the way communication is planned, executed and evaluated in various sectors; From automating tasks to improving personalisation and understanding data, AI offers powerful tools to optimise communication strategies and improve interaction with audiences;

Of course, what is one to say about oneself? We could talk about all this and about all this, but what is clear is that AI is here to stay and that we must make the most of it to make our contribution truly valuable, differential and creative, thus making the difference that will make us stronger and much more efficient;

2. Learn to say no;

This year, in comma, we have exercised two wonderful powers; One, to say enough is enough, when certain renowned entrepreneurs and companies embark on the demanding world of communication and discover that it is all about discipline, truthfulness and authenticity; That is when they want to change the rules of the game and they must not be allowed to; Getting off a boat in the middle of a voyage hurts, but it is advisable and healthy; Likewise, it is knowing how to say no in time; The boundaries between communication, marketing and advertising seem to be increasingly blurred and, although we are destined to understand each other and work together, the shoe fits your shoes; Let us provide the value that our knowledge and experience guarantees, accepting that we do not know and cannot do everything; Let us guarantee the best of consultancy by doing what we know and surrounding ourselves with those who make us better with their expert knowledge;

The main opportunities for 2024

1. Unity is strength.

Well, a little bit in the same vein as above; Only by joining forces and energies will we be able to move forward; The world of the Lone Ranger is full of “The Best Communication Agency” but empty of conscious companies; If only we do well, we are likely to have great laurels, but only for a short time; If we all do well, we will go further and, above all, we will have the recognition that our profession deserves definitively and forever;

And by togetherness I don’t just mean the urgent need for the communications and PR industry to pull in the same direction, to put limits on brands that abuse with derisory budgets, to demand a decent level of professional skills, to play in the league of transparency among equals….I am also referring to the need to work together with content generators of any kind, with the media and their professionals, with media intelligence companies and the urgent need to stop the abusive manoeuvres of anachronistic collecting societies – more typical of the noucento than of the blockchain era…., to protect the intellectual property of all and not that of a few;

2. Find our own evaluation indices;

I don’t know if it is very foolish of me to say that communication is not about Excell, or not only; The fact that marketing uses certain evaluation criteria should not force us to mimic them, especially if we take into account that we are not measuring the same thing; Reputation is measurable, Of course it’s measurable! but not with the same parameters and indicators as in other areas; Let us reclaim our evaluation space and our metrics; let us bear in mind that we are talking about reputation and feeling (as our friend said) and let us value a work that, together with all of the above, is more heart than head;

In short, we are talking about the rise of conscious communication; To put soul into what we do and to safeguard the essence of a trade that, far from disappearing, has the capacity to adapt without losing its essence;

We say goodbye to an intense but challenging year, I do not forget; Let’s say hello to 2024 which, like other early years, looks tremendously attractive; Let’s make the most of it because communication is power;

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