INTERVIEW with Barbara Yuste, communications director and consultant at Atrevia, who has just published the book “La Comunicación en Tiempos de Algoritmos”, Ediciones Pirámide
-how has technology changed the new scenario in which companies must operate? What challenges do they face?
Technology has completely changed the scenario in which companies have to operate today. Digitalization has impacted different areas, not only business, of organizations and they have to assume this transformation naturally and with the ability to take full advantage of it. From the point of view of communication, which is what my book is about, the main challenge is to embrace change and incorporate the most disruptive technologies into the communication strategy to make it more effective. Professionals working in communication within companies must promote this technological revolution and take advantage of its enormous possibilities to improve the organization’s relationship with its different stakeholders.
-And especially in recent years, it has done so drastically. Has the pandemic accelerated the process?
It is clear that the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of companies, which have been forced to adopt technology to make teleworking a reality, something that was unthinkable only a short time ago. And this adoption, moreover, is here to stay and expand.
-why is Big Data becoming a fundamental tool for companies? What are the keys to take advantage of it.
It has become a powerful tool to the extent that through data companies can better know their customers and potential customers and, therefore, can offer them those products or services that most interest them. Big data is key when it comes to making decisions and improving companies’ business and communication strategies. In any case, it should be made clear that data as such does not have a direct application to business decisions. It is essential to incorporate algorithms based on artificial intelligence to analyze and interpret them, but above all to detect behavioral patterns to which companies can respond with certain products or services.
-How Artificial Intelligence changes the communication process
AI has multiple applications and uses in the field of communication. Thanks to this technology, tasks can be automated, content can be generated automatically, immediate analysis can be made of the data received by organizations through different sources… chatbots can be developed for internal and external communication… In short, artificial intelligence can help communication professionals to improve the strategy and the relationship with the different audiences of interest or stakeholders of the company.
-are companies ready for automation? We have been talking about chatbots for years, but in most cases it seems that the user experience is not adequate.
The adaptation process is complex. But, little by little, they will understand that the automation of processes and routines in the field of communication can bring them great benefits, especially having more time to provide value, since many of the tasks that are automated are mechanical and have little value for companies. The use of chatbots is today focusing more on customer service and, indeed, many of them, those based on parameters or rules and not on artificial intelligence are very limited and, therefore, do not meet the purpose for which they were created. But the applications of this type of tools in the field of communication are very wide, they can be used for the relationship with media/journalists, they can be a very interesting platform to improve internal communication with employees..
-In many cases, the experience with Voice Assistants is similar. What is missing to be able to take advantage of them?
The problem is not only the experience, but also the lack of a content strategy. It must be clear that developing a voice assistant must respond to a plan and specific objectives. And, from there, it is likely that the creation of a voice assistant is done with a purpose and not because we have to adopt this technology because it has become popular and we cannot stay on the sidelines. Voice has to be part of a company’s brand and communication strategy and this also integrates all the technological tools that are developed in this area.
-Mark Zuckerberg says that in the coming years 90% of the content we publish on the Internet will be audiovisual. Do you agree? How will this change the way companies and consumers relate to each other?
Of course it will. It is more than evident that audiovisual content has been increasing in recent years and this is due to the fact that companies are aware of the greater appeal it has among users. Proof of this is also the arrival of audiovisual platforms and social networks such as TikTok or Twitch and their great growth, which has led many brands to want to be in these channels deploying all kinds of sales strategies.
– And in all this changing context, we face a serious problem, the proliferation of fake news. How does it affect companies? How can companies fight against disinformation?
The impact that the phenomenon of disinformation has on the corporate environment is enormous. The clearest one has to do with your reputation. Technology can be a great ally for companies in their fight against fake news to the extent that it can be very useful and effective in quickly detecting a potential crisis (through the analysis of conversations on social networks, for example) and acting in advance, which is key to prevent a crisis from spreading.