SXSW: Alexa, how do you define PR? Sorry, I don't know that...

As an industry, we sometimes have a reputation as lazy early adopters. We are fascinated by new technology, but it takes a lot for us to actually start using something.

The industry must not sit on its hands regarding new technology, argues Philip Honour
The industry must not sit on its hands regarding new technology, argues Philip Honour

We’d rather wait and see how it develops, what new capabilities are added and ensure that it works for our clients.

Until then, we would rather leave the experimentation to the creative agencies.

It’s not that we’re not curious; we just want to make sure we’re not wasting our time and energy investing in something that doesn’t have staying power.

Sitting in an auditorium at SXSW, it is obvious that we can no longer act like this.

We are now living in an age of such fast-paced technological advancement that we can’t sit on our hands and wait for others to declare a technology "safe" for mass adoption, as we risk getting left behind.

Fortuitously, with the rise of Audio AR and personal assistants, we’re entering an era of advancement that we can own – where we have the right to dominate.

We’ve been given an opportunity to develop a more dynamic, dramatic form of communication and lead in delivering attention-grabbing audio content that relies on the power of the word.

Essentially, it’s a chance for us to re-visit the origins of our industry - quality storytelling.

The most exciting thing is that we can get in at the ground level.

We can work with media outlets to develop experimental content for these emerging channels on behalf of our clients to build the business case for investment.

We can work with government, media and the private sector to identify the new battlegrounds when it comes to fake news and misinformation.

And it is a great chance to be creative.

Remember how excited we all were when Twitter came along, how disruptive it felt?

The next general election campaign (whenever it’s called) will be the first time we will be able to use this platform for campaign ads…now there’s a thought.

A post-mobile world won’t kill off the traditional press release or media relations, but let’s seize this chance to innovate and lead.

No one can tell stories like we can.

We have earned the right to brag about that based on over a century of collective work.

And whether our clients are talking to customers directly in their homes and cars, or if it’s through personal devices, that ability is going to be more important than ever.

Philip Honour is associate director at Porter Novelli

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