- Julius Giron, senior strategist, customer success, NetBase Quid
- Niraj Sharma, director of product marketing, NetBase Quid
- Gideon Fidelzeid, editorial director, custom, PRWeek
AI has a huge role to play in modern communications – and that will only increase. The rewards for adopting it effectively are great. At the same time, the risks associated with AI can be severe.
This recent webcast, “5 ways to protect brand health in an AI powered world,” hosted by NetBase Quid, covers how AI is changing the media and marketing world. It highlights how comms pros can minimize risks in this new environment, one in which constant measurement of brand health is more crucial than ever.
As consumers’ relationships with brands become more complicated, AI can help keep a precise measure on brand health and evaluate the success of campaigns.
“Brands need to focus on outcome KPIs in terms of awareness, consideration, preference and sentiment,” says Julius Giron, senior strategist of customer success at NetBase Quid. He shares several examples of how brands have harnessed AI to gauge brand sentiment, assess campaign metrics and prevent crisis.
Strong social listening platforms allow marketers to efficiently comb through millions of conversations to determine sentiment narrative. For a beauty brand looking to build retail partnerships, NetBase Quid helped the company understand the conversation around beauty at Walmart and discovered that the retail giant is considered an affordable outlet for aspirational beauty brands.
“The search revealed that Walmart is actually viewed as a place where beauty is being democratized,” notes Giron.
AI tools can also measure conversation and sentiment around influencers and help brands identify an appropriate influencer for their specific needs.
For a CPG brand, NetBase Quid determined that rather than negative sentiment, the noise around a specific influencer was due to that individual’s outspoken and assertive stance – an attribute that could be an asset for that particular brand and, thus, make that influencer a good fit.
AI platforms can also weed out bot-generated content, making follower numbers more meaningful, while also being used to help brands take a more predictive stance on crisis management.
For a cryptocurrency company ready to start a campaign at the time when Bitcoin and other currencies were receiving unfavorable coverage, NetBase Quid was able to analyze the conversation around crypto, create benchmarks around sentiment and build a narrative without exposing the brand to negative sentiment.
“The best crises for a brand are the ones that you avoid,” adds Gideon Fidelzeid, editorial director of custom at PRWeek. “AI allows brands to adjust and make sure they are prepared.”
He also notes that AI is useful in identifying negative sentiments that pose a true threat to a brand, as well as those that do not.
“No matter how loud they are, when only five people are saying something nasty about your brand,” Fidelzeid explains, “it’s not really a crisis if millions of people are still happy with it.”
The competitive set
At a time when consumers’ relationships with brands are becoming more personal, establishing and reinforcing positive attributes helps brands stay top of mind for consumers. That’s why it’s imperative to monitor sentiment around competitors, as well. Enter AI, again.
“The need to keep a pulse on your competitors is definitely important,” suggests Niraj Sharma, director of product marketing at NetBase Quid. “Constant monitoring of new threats or opportunities, even in adjacent markets, is critical.”
He notes that identifying a competitor’s decline in sales or uptick in customer churn can indicate an opportunity for a brand to differentiate.
The ability to benchmark your brand against competitors regarding share of voice, sentiment and brand passion can give comms and marketing pros a more detailed accounting of how a brand stacks up to the competition.
“You can even use themes to compare difference in the volume or sentiment of conversations,” advises Sharma. “You can even go one step further to understand where competitors are being covered and mentioned in the news, track their share of voice across news, blogs and flow forums and start to identify major topics where they're getting coverage and maybe your brand is not. You can also identify which influencers are driving the conversation.”
Giron points out that social listening tools can also provide information on where companies are focusing research, if they are applying for patents, how they are being funded and whether mergers and acquisitions are on the horizon. The platforms can also provide insights into opportunities for working collaboratively with competitors.
“When you work with a competitor,” he suggests, “you can share ideas, increase innovation, reduce costs, improve industry standards or increase your credibility.”
AI can also reveal sentiments and emotions that can help communicators create messaging that will truly connect with their consumers.
“You can dig a little deeper to understand what is driving the emotion behind why consumers are purchasing,” offers Sharma.
Access to deep insights allows comms pros to measure how a campaign is resonating, tailor a message and pivot when necessary.
Used effectively, ChatGPT exemplifies how AI tools can help PR pros do their jobs better and more efficiently.
ChatGPT: Friend or foe?
While PR pros are increasingly turning to AI to make their jobs easier, fears over AI costing jobs still exist. ChatGPT and large-language models, for example, can augment productivity by quickly summarizing documents and even writing copy.
Fidelzeid stresses that while AI is a tool that can help communicators do their jobs better, it is never going to be a replacement for humans.
“The way ChatGPT can help comms pros save time is certainly compelling,” he says, “but it requires careful human oversight. ChatGPT doesn't understand tone and context. It can make factual mistakes. It can be used to build a foundation, for sure, but if you send out a press release, for example, completely crafted by ChatGPT, that's a mistake.”
And while AI is a powerful tool for helping understand a brand’s strengths and weaknesses, devising strategies to address them takes human analysis, concludes Fidelzeid. “AI cannot and should not make those decisions for you.”
Click here to view this webcast, “5 ways to protect brand health in an AI powered world,” on demand.