Web2 created a tremendous opportunity for PR consultants. As we tell our clients: it’s called social media, not media social. In other words, the opportunity for a brand on a social platform unlocks when it succeeds in powering a positive conversation, which, as it grows, organically turns audiences into ambassadors and takes down media $ limits.
With AI taking on storytelling, brands and users have an opportunity to create larger stories, which, plugging into a shared dataset, could build on the distinct experiences and briefs of millions of participants.
“ChatGPT, document my Airbnb stay in Bangkok to help me win a trip to Bali.”
CRM on steroids
Branded as personal assistants for all, ChatGPT integrations in CRMs will enable brands to create experiences that transcend the limits posed by button-based chatbots.
A couple of weeks ago, and for the first time since I was first confronted with chatbots, I successfully solved a banking issue talking with my bank’s chatbot; it was efficient, but also lucky to be solving a pre-documented topic (don’t ask me how one suddenly manages to get his card PIN wrong three times). While the experience was positive, our interaction was limited to the specific issue I needed help with through a chat-like UI embedded in a website. ChatGPT will render these experiences seamless, acting as a live personal assistant, building on past queries as context, and tackling multiple questions simultaneously.
“ChatGPT, my card is blocked; please help me reset the PIN and let me know what the bank’s fees will be for my upcoming trip to Bali, won on an Airbnb social campaign.”
From copywriters and graphic designers to creative brief makers and AI-enabled creators
This is probably the most anticipated, feared, and talked about disruption to the brand consulting industry: will ChatGPT replace content producers?
To note, our (and probably your) content teams have been offloading tasks to AI tech for years now, Outlook’s AI writes bits of my emails, and our designers benefit from Macros embedded in Adobe products. Like other technology before them, the arrival of more robust AI visualization and copywriting applications will change the game but certainly not kill it.
One such change could be having creators be better at briefing AI.
Agencies have already started putting out vacancies for “prompt ninjas.”
While the shift may sound brutal, it also elevates the role of the human creator to build ideas and concepts that exceed execution skills and time constraints. This also postes a challenge to agencies and creators alike to mine deeper insights and really understand human behavior to create authentic campaigns utilizing AIs.
“ChatGPT, [insert anything a human can think of] ”
Crisis and truth
MIT finds that fake news is 70% more likely to be retweeted than fact based-news. It takes a real story six times longer to reach 1,500 people than a fake one.
It’s understandable; we like fiction more than facts, and the inherent bias (see the section below) embedded in AI, added to the malign use of the tech, will only accelerate what some call our entry into a post-truth world.
Helping organizations and audiences navigate this arena has become the most critical responsibility of a PR consultant.
More than ever, brands must be equipped with a deep corporate messaging and crisis management strategy, connecting decision makers to brand-consumer touchpoints in real-time thanks to advanced monitoring tools (AI-based btw) and an ongoing re-assessment of corporate messaging fit and executive branding strategy to address fragmented audiences and multiple futures. To note, despite their recent fall from grace, there are high chances that this context accelerates the mainstream adoption of NFTs as tools creating ownership and accountability of digital assets, should they be art, products, or messages.
“ChatGPT, help me broadcast a press conference, using a deep-faked face of Adidas’ spokesperson, the brand’s corporate tone of voice, and announcing that the company is launching the most generous and forward-thinking garment worker remuneration program ever put together by a major brand. While you’re at it, generate 10,000 personal stories told in the language and voice of Adidas garment workers on how the policy will transform their lives so that I can seed these stories in Facebook forums through bots.”
Wealth and employment
It’s easy to see how technology may replace an existing job but harder to imagine how it will give way to new ones. But experts find that the number of new ones tends to overpower the number of jobs replaced.
Empirical studies show that while it transforms the employment landscape in the short term, technological disruption doesn’t lead to job losses. It does the contrary.
In the case of ChatGPT, as brand communicators, we are given both an opportunity and a responsibility to help brands leverage and face the significant changes that advanced AI is creating in media landscapes, information, and human relationships. Copywriters will undoubtedly be spending less time writing copy, but they will be incepting a far greater amount of stories in a far more diverse range of styles, tones, and formats, in a far lesser amount of time.
As an optimist, I look at how disruption opens new markets, creates value, and calls for changes in how we invest time and focus.
“ChatGPT, will you please take my job?”
Do you sometimes ask yourself why your phone’s keyboard suggests you an odd next word? Or why Facebook suddenly starts feeding you this obscure product through an ad?
When that happens, the inevitable train of thought is: What past behavior led to this suggestion?
AI pulls from datasets built from past behaviors and can’t predict what future data humans will want to use as a reference. Yet, society evolves by changing past behavior and has expectations that transcend old datasets.
In Weapons of Math Destruction (2016), Cathy O’Neil reminds us how bias is embedded in algorithms and how we ought, as an increasingly AI-dependent species, to understand the limits and the impact of such bias.
As future users and audiences of ChatGPT, we must understand that it is not responsible, thoughtful, or considerate. It is nothing more than a fantastic magnifier of our collective past and future bias.
Raphael Lachkar is Vero's group chief operating officer leading key growth verticals for Vero's five offices across ASEAN.