Megaphone rainbow of communications

Pump up the Volume

April 5, 2024

Every time I open up LinkedIn, PR Week, or the Wall Street Journal, I see someone writing about AI and the immense change that it is having on the communications industry — everything from how we create to how we spot fake news to how we staff.

One issue that I haven’t seen discussed much is how the mere existence of AI needs to change the VOLUME that organizations communicate.

I went to ChatGPT and asked the question “how does AI learn,” and most of it was what you’d expect. But then I asked, “when you are learning can you discern from verified sources and non verified sources?”

This is the response: “as an AI language model, I don’t have the capability to discern between verified and non-verified sources in the same way a human can. However, I can be programmed or guided to prioritize certain sources based on their reliability, credibility, or reputation.”

Think about that for a second, something that thousands of people and other AI rely on for information is likely not getting its information from the people who produce it. A large part of how it learns is based on how many times it finds information. If you put news on your website, your X/Twitter, your Facebook, and your Instagram, that’s a quantifiable, pretty low number.

If a detractor puts something on Reddit that is false, and then it gets reposted 64,000 times and those posts seep onto other platforms, and catch fire, that is what AI is going to take and then spit back to people.

Now factor in that there are over 50,000 publicly traded companies worldwide. That says nothing for the companies that aren’t publicly traded.

With those kinds of numbers, what are the chances that the information about you is going to be accurate? Scary, isn’t it?

I have some things you can do right now to get a head start on your strategy. Here we go: 1. Figure out your stakeholders and get to know them, 2. Employ message discipline like a figure skater training for the Olympics, and 3. Increase your volume of content.

Figure out Your Stakeholders and Get to Know Them

People are inundated with information constantly, so they don’t have a lot of bandwidth to focus on much, so you want to make sure that the people that are most important to you pay attention to you.

And, given the amount of time and effort you are going to put into connecting with them, you want to make sure that the people who are the most important to your business are the ones you are talking to.

So, you’d better sit down with your entire leadership team and take a hard look at who matters — is it your employees, your supply chain, your customers, or left-handed, purple-haired architects?

Next step, figure out what those important people, including the left-handed, purple-haired architects, like about your business and so on. Now figure out what messages are going to land with them and which channels they pay attention to, which media influence them, where online they congregate, and what they need to hear from you.

Employ Message Discipline Like a Figure Skater Training for the Olympics

We talk about message discipline, but when you are contending with a technology that relies on the number of reps, message discipline is critical. You have to repeat your messages to your key stakeholders until you repeat them in your sleep.

Every piece of information that goes out from your company must have some of the home base messaging in it. Press release, post, letter to Congress, and even HR listings — all places that are an opportunity to reinforce your messaging. Take advantage of them.

And preach, preach message discipline internally with everyone. EVERYONE.

Increase Your Volume of Content.

More content. It’s that simple. Content that is created by you and distributed by you to the people that matter the most. You want AI to have a lot of content about you to learn from. This is the technological manifestation of a cardinal rule in politics — define yourself before your opponent can. This goes for AI.

Don’t get me wrong, I love AI. Before I made my request this morning to ChatGPT, I said “good morning.” I ask it to draw things and proof things and give me answers. Millions of other people and me (although most probably didn’t’ say, “good morning”). So, don’t you want your information to be right?

For fun, below is my friend ChatGPT’s rewrite of this column. I think it’s pretty good but misses my pizzazz! Have a great day!

Each time I browse through LinkedIn, PR Week, or the Wall Street Journal, I encounter discussions on AI and its profound impact on the communications sector, spanning from content creation to fake news detection and staffing strategies.

However, a topic that seems overlooked is the necessity for organizations to adapt their communication volume in response to the advent of AI.

Consider this: when I queried ChatGPT about AI learning, it acknowledged its inability to discern between verified and non-verified sources akin to humans. Instead, it relies on programming or guidance to prioritize sources based on reliability, credibility, or reputation.

This raises a significant concern: AI, relied upon by thousands for information, may not always retrieve data from original sources. Its learning process often hinges on the frequency of encountering information. For instance, if misinformation proliferates on platforms like Reddit and is subsequently reposted thousands of times, AI may absorb and regurgitate this flawed information.

Now, factor in the existence of over 50,000 publicly traded companies globally, not to mention countless privately held firms. In such a vast landscape, the likelihood of information accuracy dwindles.

This reality is unsettling. So, what can be done?

Identify and Understand Stakeholders: Given the deluge of information bombarding individuals daily, it’s crucial to ensure that your key stakeholders pay attention to your message. Define your audience meticulously—whether it’s your employees, supply chain partners, customers, or niche groups like left-handed, purple-haired architects. Tailor your messaging accordingly.

Implement Message Discipline: In a world where AI thrives on repetition, consistent messaging is paramount. Embed your key messages across all communication channels—be it press releases, social media posts, or internal correspondence. Instill the importance of message discipline within your organization.

Ramp Up Content Production: Quantity matters. Flood the digital space with content crafted by you and directed at your target audience. By providing ample content for AI to digest, you increase the likelihood of accurate representation. Remember the golden rule of politics: define yourself before your opponent does. The same principle applies to AI.

In conclusion, while AI offers incredible capabilities, ensuring the accuracy of information it processes remains a collective responsibility. So, let’s strive to provide AI with the right information—it’s the foundation of informed decision-making in our increasingly digital world.

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Stephanie Craig

Stephanie Craig has built her reputation as a crisis expert by guiding some of the world’s most prominent people and organizations through their most trying moments. Before Kith, Stephanie founded the Apeiron Strategy Group where she counted former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and the mayor of the nation’s 10th largest city as clients.