Mar 30, 2023 - Economy

Communication take-aways from What's Next Summit

"Go Deeper" session on the future of work at the Axios What's Next Summit on March 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Ron Flores for Axios

Axios gathered hundreds of business leaders and policymakers at the second annual What's Next Summit on Wednesday with the goal of cracking the code on the future of business, entertainment and travel.

Why it matters: There was a lot of chatter around artificial intelligence, the evolution of corporate culture and the return of events — all issues that are spearheaded by or directly impact the work of communicators.

Catch up quick: Axios editor-in-chief Sara Goo and I moderated a discussion on the future of work.

  • Key take-aways: Folks are concerned about AI, the return-to-office debate is still brewing and there remains a lack of representation in the workplace.

Zoom in: Most of those in the room were already using AI for image generation, creation of marketing materials, drafting internal messaging and conducting research or summarization.

  • This isn't unique to the business leaders in attendance. A recent report found that roughly half of companies are already using AI tools like ChatGPT and 85% plan to within the next 6 months.

Everyone — from GenZ employees to working parents — believe that flexibility should be emphasized within a company's culture.

  • According to a recent Gallagher survey, much of this responsibility falls on internal comms, with 74% saying that the purpose of internal communication is to support culture and create alignment around an organization’s purpose and strategy.
  • Plus, a more flexible work culture will lead to more inclusion and representation across all levels.

Events are also back, and in-person attendees are more engaged than ever.

  • They expect a personalized experience, which starts with smart outreach, said Joe Berchtold, president and chief financial officer of Live Nation Entertainment.
  • "We want to make sure we are communicating with audiences in a meaningful way — not clogging their inboxes and destroying our reputation," said Berchtold. "Now we're able to tailor specific messages to specific groups and specific markets."
  • Some audiences are still opting to attend events virtually. For that reason, event producers are continuing to offer hybrid, livestreamed options too.

The bottom line: The post-pandemic impacts on work, and now the hype and interest around AI, are still roiling workplaces — putting a greater onus on communicators to explain new policies and tech.

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