The Top PR Firms in Tech & A.I.

Greater demand is being placed on the technological acumen of PR agencies, generating a need for smarter managers and better tools to make sense of the data.

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In 2023, the public relations and communications industry met head-on with artificial intelligence. According to Tracxn Technologies, more than 22,500 A.I. companies were in the U.S. as of March 2024. Many new A.I. tools were deployed in applications such as healthcare management, payment processing and productivity solutions. In comms, there was a deep concern that A.I. could replace hundreds of thousands of jobs and shake up entire subcategories of industries, including public relations.

One of the first wake-up calls came from Hollywood, where film production halted as writers and actors went on strike, fearing that major studios would use A.I. to re-write or eliminate original work. A-list actors, meanwhile, expressed concern that their likenesses and voices would be digitally captured for use in perpetuity without compensation. Then, surprisingly, the script was flipped. A.I. itself experienced an existential crisis. OpenAI’s board of directors abruptly fired their CEO, Sam Altman, over concerns that he might backslide on ethical and safety guardrails for the technology. Just days later, the same board reinstated Altman and then disbanded itself after acknowledging it had mishandled the crisis, nearly losing almost the entire OpenAI workforce. 

The issue of safety and accuracy in A.I. re-emerged several times during the year, as industry insiders discovered significant flaws in the basic fabric of A.I. For instance, some large language models, or LLMs, were found to frequently “hallucinate,” or fabricate content, or create unintelligible responses to user prompts. Fixes for these concerns were already in the works. 

Despite A.I.’s rough start, the PR industry welcomed A.I. technology into its toolset, with seemingly no negative effect on headcount yet. Acknowledging that A.I. could perform important tasks much faster, many PR professionals embraced the technology. Some tech-savvy agencies even created their own A.I. models to speed up their work for clients. Others hired specialists who could help employees adopt A.I. tools. 

As 2024 progresses, A.I. appears to be creating more, not fewer, opportunities for communications professionals. Perhaps this is in part because a greater demand is being placed on the technological acumen of PR agencies, generating a need for smarter managers and better tools to make sense of the data. In addition, A.I. can generate strategic recommendations that might have been missed, for example, by junior PR staffers tasked with creating a new proposal for a valued client.

This trend was cause for celebration. With every new A.I. company that entered the market, new ways of adding value to their work for clients were being created. Below are five PR firms specializing in tech and A.I. to watch in 2024, and how they handled emerging trends in their own industry and those they serve.

Visit our Power Index to view the entire 2024 PR Power Series.

Diffusion PR

  • Ivan Ristic, Co-Founder/CEO & Daljit Bhurji, Co-Founder/Global Managing Director

Diffusion PR was founded in London in 2008 by Ivan Ristic and Daljit Bhurji. Today, it has about 50 employees across its offices in London, New York and Los Angeles. The agency was built to create “an integrated approach to client campaigns and improve accountability in PR,” Kate Ryan, Diffusion’s U.S. managing director, tells Observer. 

“Our mission is to work strategically with challenger and innovator brands to create and implement integrated communication campaigns,” Ryan said. “We use the best combination of mainstream press, social media and digital platforms to enable our clients to really connect with their stakeholders. We like to say we’re ‘bringing tomorrow closer.’”

Diffusion represents clients in direct-to-consumer, consumer technology, lifestyle, travel, and health and wellness. It also works across enterprise technology, B2B and corporate PR. Its notable accounts include L’Oreal, Air New Zealand, HopStop (acquired by Apple), CyberLink, Red Hat (acquired by IBM), USA Today and Mobileye (acquired by Intel).

The firm’s core strategy is to deliver campaigns that build brand awareness, create online advocacy, safeguard reputation, and drive measurable behavioral change. Examples of Diffusion’s creative approach include sending folks biking across the country to show off a new e-bike, setting a world record for longest TV binge-watch for a media player client (94 hours!), and taking reporters “on any number of boats, bikes, helicopters, and speed boats to show off a client’s tech.” Ryan said this strategy has helped scaleups master the new mainstream, challenger brands grasp the mantle of leadership, and innovative incumbents reinvent their legacy through the power of public relations.

As for A.I., the agency believes it can do the work faster, but the real value comes from the collective group's creative experience. “We are never afraid to come up with and execute the biggest ideas possible,” Ryan said. We’re known for taking a blank page approach to every brief—there’s no cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all campaign.” 

Over the years, Diffusion PR has seen new platforms and trends come and go—at times, threatening the future of the earned media landscape. “While the industry is innovating to meet the digitally connected customer, earned media is in no way dead and will continue to thrive,” Ryan said. “If anything, with it being easier than ever to start your own publication and use advancements in A.I. to create content, editorial teams will churn out more daily digital content than ever before, providing more room for earned media.”

Kate Ryan Diffusion PR

Gregory FCA

Founded by Gregory Matusky, Gregory FCA specializes in media relations, investor relations, social media—and now artificial intelligence. The firm has around 100 employees in New York and Philadelphia, with clients among the largest financial services, technology, nonprofit, sustainability and real estate companies worldwide.

“I love A.I.,” Matusky tells Observer. “We’ve been using it since around December 2021. I think it’s one of the greatest technologies to come along, aside from the internet.”
In-house, Gregory uses A.I. applications to develop products such as media training plans for clients on tight deadlines. “For example, we have a client who had a big interview coming up with the Los Angeles Times and needed help with media training,” Matusky explained. “We reviewed all the points that we gathered in our interviews with the client and asked our A.I. to develop a media training [program], including points such as how to approach negatives and positives. 

“This is the kind of thing that normally would have taken at least a week—which was untenable given our deadline. [Using A.I.], we were able to put together an entire media training plan in three hours,” Matusky added. 

Unlike social media, which was introduced to agencies by younger people, the evangelization of A.I. at an agency “has to be driven from the top,” Matusky said. The biggest bump comes when the senior-level managers use the technology first and bring it to the junior level, he added, because top management usually has a better sense of how broadly it can be applied to improve agency output.

Once the junior staff gets it, the team is fully engaged, he said. “The super creators can generate a week’s worth of work in a day. It’s the most exciting advancement ever for content generation, brainstorming and workflow.”

Greg Matusky Gregory FCA

Kite Hill PR

Tiffany Guarnaccia founded Kite Hill PR in New York City in 2013, borrowing the company name from the Kite Hill Park neighborhood of San Francisco. “We started as a specialist agency focused on the advertising and marketing industries, as well as the business side of media and entertainment,” Guarnaccia tells Observer. “The last decade, from day one, has been primarily a tech shop. That is what has fueled our growth…We’ve made our mark working with big names like BuzzFeed and Snap, eventually branching out to B2B tech practice in areas like ad tech, climate tech, cybersecurity, health tech, mobility and fintech.”

Kite Hill was behind some of the biggest deals in ad tech in recent years, such as Telnor’s acquisition of Tapad, SpotX’s merger with Magnite, and the introduction of Uber Advertising solutions at Advertising Week 2022. “As a PR agency that frequently works with this sector, our job is to navigate our clients through the evolving ad tech landscape and closely monitor new technological advancements and industry conversations so that we can best support our clients in the space,” Guarnaccia said.  

Before founding Kite Hill, Guarnaccia led communications for The Huffington Post, helping launch the digital publication’s streaming channel, HuffPost Live. She was also at the center of the music industry’s most disruptive years as head of communications for the file-sharing company LimeWire.

Guarnaccia said the emergence of A.I. is not a threat, but an opportunity. “With any new technology, there’s always a question about how it will impact the industry, but my directive has been to see AI as an enabler—not the enemy. Within AI’s application to PR, we have an opportunity to leverage AI for administrative tasks and shift our focus to more high-value, strategic work for clients. Today, we’re seeing different types of AI implemented across 100 percent of our clients’ industries, including ad tech, climate tech, music tech and more. AI’s effect on the workforce should be celebrated rather than feared, and we’re already seeing how it’s helping to give communications professionals a seat at the table and increase the value of our work across the board.”

Tiffany Guarnaccia Kite Hill PR

Raven PR

Raven PR stands apart from many agencies in one very visible way: It’s based in Nashville, Tenn. rather than New York. Although the company has an office in New York and clients in Los Angeles and San Francisco, it has never really left this tranquil southern town.

Co-founders Matt Van Hoven and Hollie Rapello met in Nashville when they were both working at a local advertising agency, and they immediately started thinking about the return on investment of PR.

“The traditional way PR is measured is really meaningless,” Van Hoven tells Observer. “It’s basically the monthly impressions of the publication you are mentioned in, which looks good in the boardroom, but it’s not really accurate.” To change that, Raven provides specific data on who has actually read a story. The firm does this by promoting coverage on social media platforms, using their targeting tools to hone in on specific audiences. “When we amplify a story, we determine who sees it. We know if they clicked into the article, if they commented, liked or shared the post. That tells us far more about an audience’s interest in a particular story than a faceless impression,” Van Hoven said.

Raven’s core client base is ad agencies, several of which had their work shown at the 2024 Super Bowl. The agency has also formulated a speaker’s bureau for brand marketers at client companies, including Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Land O’ Lakes. Raven’s success with this approach has helped three of its clients secure spots on Ad Age’s Top 20 list, a feat that triggered a doubling in the agency's size to serve its 32 client companies better.

Like many other PR agencies highlighted on this list, Raven has a thoughtful approach to A.I. Raven uses A.I. for trends analysis to help clients use the technology for their own purposes. “We always embrace new technologies, and A.I. is of course impacting every industry,” said Van Hoven. “We think the PR agencies representing ad tech have just scratched the surface of its potential.”

Matt Van Hoven and Hollie Rapello Photo by Jessica Amerson

SourceCode Communications

In 2017, Greg Mondshein and his partner Rebecca Honeyman were working at Eastwick Communications in Silicon Valley when the company was acquired by Hotwire PR. Sitting together at a bar in San Francisco after the merger, they began to think about their way forward. They began brainstorming an agency focused primarily on storytelling in an affordable way to ensure clients could realize a clear return on investment. In the process, the pair developed a new agency, SourceCode PR, and a new headquarters: New York City.

“The media landscape is always changing,” Mondshein tells Observer. “I had an uncle who worked at NBC. He told me he would work on a story for four or five weeks, but now the industry standard is like five articles a day. Journalists are overworked. They need help.”

In a few short years, Mondshein and Honeyman created an agency serving six core areas: lifestyle, enterprise technology, marketing technology, mobile and telecom, fintech and executive brand management.

A merger between technology and storytelling has been central to the agency’s success. “We are a technology company, so we make an effort to hire people who are smarter than us. But the focus is on storytelling,” Mondshein said. “We have a strong opinion that executives need to be outspoken. Not every executive feels this way, but in their positions, they have earned an audience. That’s what we are here to help them do.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s Silicon Valley Bank collapse “had a lot of people thinking about how to insulate their agencies from whatever might happen next,” Mondshein said. His agency’s strategy focuses on exploring new opportunities, such as A.I. The principal said 11 of his agency’s clients are adopting A.I. as an in-house tool, and so is the agency itself. “That has great effects. We’re now in the same room with agencies four, five times our size,” Mondshein said. 

Rebecca Honeyman and Greg Mondshein SourceCode Communications

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