Talking about AI – The Role of PR Professionals 

Published On: January 26th, 2024Categories: Black Vanilla, PRBy

Public relations (PR) professionals will play a crucial role in guiding businesses regarding the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on corporate reputation, stakeholder relations and internal communications.  

PR itself is at the vanguard of change, the profession has to embrace the opportunities of AI whilst navigating the many challenges. The explosion of AI tools that can be used by PR teams means we’ve been experimenting with it for some time and that in turn makes us well-placed to use our experiences to help our clients as they now grapple with how it is integrated into their organisations.  

So, how can we help?  

Strategic Communication 

PR professionals help craft and communicate a clear message about the organisation’s use of AI. This includes explaining how AI is implemented within the business, its benefits, and addressing client and staff concerns or misconceptions. We also work closely with other stakeholders and are mindful of any potential impacts on third parties and partners.  

Reputation Management 

AI can be a contentious and emotive topic, PR professionals can manage the business’s reputation in light of its AI initiatives. We can help to ensure that AI use is seen positively, or at least with a practical lens, working to mitigate any potential public backlash or ethical concerns. Equally, innovation, performance, customer service, etc., are all reputation drivers, so talking about how you improve these aspects of your product performance could bolster your reputation too. 

Crisis Management 

PR professionals are responsible for crisis management if any issues arise from AI, such as data breaches or ethical dilemmas. We develop and execute strategies to minimise damage and communicate effectively with stakeholders. An organisation’s crisis communications manual should not include risks associated with using AI. Equally, AI technologies can help us to respond quickly in a crisis; adapting content for different channels rapidly is one way the tech could help the comms team work more efficiently when it hits the fan. 

Tackling Misinformation and Disinformation 

The ability for AI to spread misinformation and disinformation at scale and pace is a growing concern. We have already seen the potential for fake news and images to cause damage. The picture of an explosion at the Pentagon was fake, but that didn’t stop the Russian news channel RT tweeting about “reports of an explosion near the Pentagon”. The brief dip in stock markets showed AI’s potential for chaos. This is firmly on our reputation risk radar for 2024 and highlights the need for journalist relationships and using trusted media sources. The ability to scan social media and spot issues early is essential, along with reacting quickly and with clarity. 

Ethical Guidance 

PR professionals can guide businesses in making moral decisions regarding AI use, ensuring that the company’s actions align with its values and public expectations. 

Internal Communication 

Ensuring employees understand the company’s AI initiatives is crucial. We can undertake internal communications audits and create strategic plans to keep staff informed and engaged with these technological changes. Remember, internal communications are not one way and establishing forums for people to share their views will provide feedback that can be used to shape communications strategies.  

Brand Positioning 

If innovation and technology is an important part of your brand positioning, showcasing the company’s achievements and advancements in AI will help to maintain its relevance in a fast-moving landscape. 

I believe that PR professionals are key to help organisations navigate the complex landscape of AI in business, ensuring effective communication, ethical considerations, reputation management are aligned with business goals and public expectations.

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