What Big Data (Not Big Brother) can Mean to the Future of PR
Many people are just plain terrified of big data, much as many were of personal computers back in the 1980s. It’s new, it’s different, and it seems incomprehensible. But we’ve progressed as a society, and now we walk around with personal computers connected to the internet, our phones and notepads, and we think nothing of it. Most don’t think about the privacy they give up in the process either.
Big data is going to do the same, and maybe even in a bigger way when it comes to business. It has already wormed its way into much of your private life. You order or look at a retail item online and the next time you are on your email account or social media, low and behold, what pops up on the right-hand side of our screen but ads about that very item, or similar ones. Yep, that’s big data at work in the consumer world, and the one everyone is familiar with.
But big data can do so much more. The trick is knowing what you want to achieve and then making sure the data is available in digital form. As an example, one national chain store used big data to save them millions a year in utility costs by finding ideal temperatures for the stores at various times of the day and when closed. After that, all of the stores’ climate control settings were controlled digitally from one computer program for all stores across the country, and they could track what they were saving as well, in real time.
If a PR firm specializing in financial services wanted to track information for a client’s customer bases, they would need to know what the goal is. Maybe what shares have the most hits from investors, or helping a mutual fund manager track all the investments and trends, what’s going up and down, and how fast.
Likewise, the PR company may want to show their clients what they’ve helped other clients make by their involvement – all with a simple click of the mouse because the data is being automatically added into the equation without anyone having to touch anything. The big data gurus have coded their programs that way. If the goal is known, then the information coded or captured and coded by big data can change everything, freeing up your staff and executives to do what they do best — make products, services, people, and organizations look amazing