Laura CubillosLaura Cubillos

In today’s world, integrating the latest technology and tools into your work isn’t optional—it’s vital. While it may feel daunting to stay on top of all the new tools and services, understanding when and how to integrate technology into the every day is essential to keep your clients one step ahead. At Padilla, we’re constantly looking for that little bit extra to solve unmet client needs—sometimes ones they didn’t even know they had—through innovative approaches, creative thinking, new ways of working and continuous learning. “Make it Better” is a core value that guides how we work and interact with clients, colleagues and the world around us, and leveraging tech is a way to do just that.

Even if you don’t feel tech-savvy, it’s important to understand how to use available tools and anticipate future innovation. Here are three ways you can maximize technology to unlock key insights, develop new strategies and deliver novel client solutions.

Connect with your audience. A deep understanding of your target consumer is vital for a successful campaign and is particularly important when working with premium products and brands. Employing tools to identify specific characteristics of your target helps you connect and deliver brand messages in a way that’s meaningful and impactful to your audience.

This was particularly true in a recent multi-tactic campaign for a premium food client. Thanks to client investments in customized market research, we dug deep to uncover the unique attributes and needs of our specific target market that were addressed by our client’s premium brand eating experience. It’s important to note we didn’t get there on our first shot; we reanalyzed existing survey data and integrated other media partner measurement tools to peel back layers of consumer behavior and perceptions in a way that allowed us to establish a deeper connection. We used these insights to thoughtfully curate a mix of four influencers who could individually tailor authentic brand messages that would resonate deeply with the people we wanted to reach.

This article is featured in O'Dwyer's May '24 PR Firm Rankings Magazine
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Accurately measure success. Measurement is essential for delivering a successful campaign, but it isn’t always clear or easy to show impact in PR. Going back to the aforementioned example, we used this same tool to measure campaign impact. The results? The influencer component was nearly three times as impactful as expected for increasing brand awareness, value and sales, outperforming the more traditional PR approaches including digital ads and point-of-sale messaging. But we wouldn’t have known that without a deeper analysis of the survey tool dataset.

The client’s investment in market research allowed us to uncover metrics hidden beneath the surface, capturing both initial visibility and engagement as well as lasting residual effects, and gave us a clearer understanding of long-term combined tactic impact. This not only proved we picked the right influencers and messages for this campaign but will help inform strategic direction and influencer tactics in future work.

Be prepared for shifts in tools. In the world of tech, change can happen fast. It’s essential to stay in the know when new technology launches, or when the tools you’re currently using grow and evolve.

In the food, beverage and wellness space, the recent launch of the Instacart Developer Platform was a moment where this rang true.

IDP gives third-party companies the keys to implement a more granular, customized shopping experience directly into their sites and apps. At launch, IDP is offering certain self-sufficient website and app development teams the ability to integrate Instacart functionality and content directly into their meal planning, recipe, health, nutrition, and entertainment content, unlocking new opportunities to build connected experiences, enhance the customer journey and meet consumer needs. This also makes it easier to track sales conversion.

Within two days of the announced launch, our development team proactively joined the waitlist for the beta release. As consumers look for less friction in their food and beverage shopping and purchasing experiences, we need to be ready to identify applicable use cases for clients and be a sounding board for internal teams who may be interested in leveraging this upgrade. It’s essential to monitor emerging digital retail technologies and advancements so you can evaluate the opportunity the moment the tech hits the ground.

Elevate your skillset with the power of AI. By this point, everyone is using AI in one way or another, and AI’s capabilities are accelerating by the day. From research and inspiration to image and video creation, generative AI is a game changer in PR and the world at large—but the technology crumbles if we aren’t bringing our own knowledge and skills to the table as well.

Take for instance a recent client project to identify and map top leaders in the field of sustainability. Ask AI to do the job and you’ll get a list of experts that fail to consider the unique needs and nuances of the particular client—not exactly the thoughtful work you’d want to deliver. Rather, you can use that list as a starting place and verify, add and connect the dots using your own valuable knowledge and insights, considering factors like sentiment and other nuances that AI simply cannot comprehend. This basic but important example drives home the point that AI removes barriers and jumpstarts the work, but human skill is needed to refine, finesse and truly meet the client’s needs. As AI continues to evolve, we need to adapt, test and learn what’s possible, always remembering tech can only go so far.


Laura Cubillos is Executive Vice President of the Food, Beverage and Nutrition Practice at Padilla and a Founding Partner at FoodMinds.