Thierry Cornez, COO and Member of the Board at Auxipress kicks off this interview with a positive prediction about the future for print in a digital world, shares his views on the impact that fake news has on media monitoring. Moving on, Thierry elaborates on why human insight is still essential in AI-power automation media monitoring tools and explains the factors that only humans can handle. Last but not least, he shares his resolution about the new paradigm in media intelligence.
Q: Is there a future for print in a digital world?
Thierry: I do believe that print has a future, even if it’s clear that the advent of digital has clearly had a disruptive effect on it. Many experts and studies show that traditional media remain dominant and especially newspapers and magazines remain the most credible media. Of course print will not be the dominate communication method it was for decades, but I share with others the idea that digital and print are perfect partners. The abundance of mobile-adapted content, among other reasons, explains the rise of mobile internet consumption. On a marketing point of view, when print is combined with digital via cross-media or multi-channel promotion, the results are powerful.
It’s true that print media is still looking for a new business model. Meanwhile, print must absolutely maintain the quality of the content at a high level. It is essential for its future that reputation and credibility are preserved. What matters is content. I think it’s the content that will allow print media to get through. Newspapers that retain this quality and reputation are better off than those who try to affect rather than inform. Being emotional and sensational is a short-sighted policy.
Every publisher has added a digital version, but digital and print are two different things with different requirements. With print, development, thought and analysis are recognized added values. Print media has to explain, put in perspective and propose alternatives by putting forward social, economic or environmental innovations. The web takes place in a short time where what counts is the speed and the immediacy of the information. What is needed is a certain agility to disseminate information in all its forms, via paper, web, infographics, video, data … It requires for journalists a narrative gymnastics, to be agile and to inform in different ways.The future of print goes through investigation and explanation. A real recon quest of the readership can then take place.
Q: What impact does fake news has on media monitoring?
Thierry: Fake news is a real problem for public relations because it is eroding trust in all media, but it’s also a big opportunity for media monitoring agencies. Brands have to watch out for fake news, so a careful media monitoring and reputation management are essential to identifying any fake news that crops up about the brand and nipping it in the bud. We have also to take in account the fact that online news and blogs rank much lower in scale of trust in comparison to more traditional outlets such as radio, regional newspapers and television: there is a relatively high level of distrust towards both social media and online news.
Brands can experience significant reputational and financial damage from fake news. Social media sites and other tech giants themselves are now taking steps, but this will not be enough. Human expertise in the loop will help. It is very important for our clients to be notified and respond quickly, as this can effectively restore reputation and potentially reduce the longer-term damage to stock price. Beside this, it is also vital for a company that specialists like MMO’s filter out the noise created by the less impactful fake stories, so they only focus on the content likely to cause damage.
We can today objectively score the sentiment of a piece of content, but also assign the source with an influencer score. If it is from a traditionally trusted source, then it is likely to result in amplification and will be weighted as more important. If a less established source is also displaying significant amplification, then this will boost the influencer score on this occasion to reflect the impact it is having. This enables companies to understand which content has the most potential for influencing stakeholder perceptions of their brands, regardless of the accuracy of the source material.
Q: Why human insight is still essential in AI-powered automation media monitoring tools and which are the factors only humans can handle?
Thierry: It could be that AI will one day come to meet or exceed human capabilities. Perhaps it will learn to appreciate the nuances of human phraseology, to appreciate the history, humour and culture of a given group of people. But despite the rise of AI, the game is certainly not over yet for the media monitoring and analysis industry.
Today human insight is still essential because only humans have the instinct to do the particularly subjective risk/reward assessments that can lead to marketing brilliance. Robots are incapable of such behaviour.
Only humans can evaluate accurately a content or handle authentic translations. There are human skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble to replicate: understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings. A machine cannot get inside the minds and hearts of another person and trigger the intimate bond that only another human can create. Only humans can understand the context or subliminal references. Machines today miss intuition or empathy. Understand emotions remains uniquely a human skill. To understand why we make the decisions we make, requires a human understanding, a human sense. For now the human brain is still winning at human understanding.
But the situation will certainly change in the future. Today, some machine intelligence experts predict that computers would gain human-level ability around the year 2050, and superhuman ability less than 30 years after.
Q: What you believe is the new paradigm in media intelligence?
Everyone in our business knows that today’s media monitoring is no longer about press clippings. It’s only the first level now, and even on-demand digital availability of the coverage, live daily updates to stay constantly informed or even top-level analytics are part of it.
Media monitoring is now about extracting the right intelligence from all the media sources to provide critical insights about brand sentiment, advocacy, share of voice and the associated mid- or long-term trends. The brand intelligence is the future of media monitoring.
The next step and the greater real value will consist in predictive analysis of brand intelligence, by layering data science over the top of our services. Predicting how a brand, a thematic or a social issue will be perceived in the media in the future will become a crucial insight for many business executives to tailor their strategies to the market. We have to build a strong relationship with our clients so that we receive information about their brand strategy, their positioning and even their product development. The ambition is to combine brand intelligence with internal brand data such as sales, revenue and CRM data. A kind of Holy Grail!
About Thierry Cornez
He managed different teams, each time larger, to become the COO of the company in 2001. Since 2013, Thierry is a board member. His job is to ensure that all teams involved in the process of media monitoring and analysis deliver a service according to the customer‘s needs.
Founded in 1919, Auxipress is the Belgian leader in media intelligence. We offer monitoring and analysis of all media (Press-Radio-TV-Internet-Social Media) in Belgium and Luxembourg and access to international media worldwide via partnerships.
Through intelligent filtering and human interpretation, we offer our customers a complete understanding of the perception people and competition have of their brand, product and company.
Our analyses offer a clear overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the brand’s marketing strategy, allowing enhancing their communication strategy. Auxipress is a member of FIBEP, AMEC and GMI.