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The Promise and Risk of AI in Communications

September 2023

The Promise and Risk of AI in Communications

Use AI to Make Communications Faster & Smarter

From fear to full-on excitement, AI is here and tools like ChatGPT pose great promise and possible risk. Are you curious and excited about the transformative power of AI? Or are you feeling apprehensive about integrating AI into your business and communications? 

Jackson Spalding’s Randall Kirsch answered these questions and more in our live webcast with PRWeek titled “Machine Learning & The Human Touch: Putting ChatGPT and Generative AI to Work in Your Business.” 

Check out these four takeaways to help you feel inspired and empowered to make your communications faster, smarter and more efficient with the winning combo of AI and human touch. 

1. Learn to make AI an asset for your clients. “You can’t erase it, so embrace it.” 

Currently, for many marketing and communications professionals, fear is the immediate first response when beginning to interact with and understand the capabilities of new AI technologies. But the advancement of AI technologies does not have to be a liability for your career or company. The first step to embracing AI as an asset is a mindset shift: fun over fear.  

Encourage collaborative environments and explore AI as a team. Share your screen during group presentations and open the floor to live questions while walking through a variety of AI tools. Have team members try generating prompts for ChatGPT, DALL-E, Midjourney and other generative AI tools and discuss what you get back. Have a sense of humor and playfulness during these exercises – they are both teaching and learning moments.  

As Randall noted in the panel discussion, “The best antidote to fear is fun.” Tackling the unknown with curiosity, collaboration and enthusiasm is a great way to start accepting AI as an asset, not an adversary.  

2. Implementing AI: A Rodeo Rider’s Mindset  

Figuring out how to best implement AI in a professional setting can feel like being in the wild west. There are a multitude of tools and platforms on offer, and nearly endless ways to use them. It can be intimidating.  

Given AI’s fast, unstable evolution, it may be impossible or unproductive to plan too far ahead. There’s simply too much change happening too fast. Your AI implementation plans might be outdated before you even implement them. With that in mind, consider a more decentralized approach, encouraging your early adopters to experiment on their own – even with paid tools – and share their findings in real time. Let your teams find what works and spread the word. The most useful tools and applications will stick, others won’t, and new tools will appear weekly. Go with it. 

That said, even rodeos have rules. Train your team on universal principles of smart AI usage, including effective prompting techniques, privacy and data-security considerations, fact-checking and other best practices. You’ll get better results and stay out of trouble, too. 

3. The Agency-Client Relationship  

Agencies tend to experiment and evolve their ways of working faster than in-house marketing departments, only because the agency business is more conditioned to rapid change. But, as both agencies and their clients become more proficient with AI tools, it’s important for agencies and their clients to be transparent and explicit with each other about how they want to use AI to advance the client’s business.  

For agencies, this means AI should make it easier and faster to produce certain types of work, not to pad their margins, but to free up a portion of their client budgets for more advanced, complex or creative work. For clients, it means encouraging their agencies to use AI to accelerate certain types of work so they can spend more time on results-producing activity. For both, it means working together in good faith so AI doesn’t turn the agency-client relationship into a zero-sum game. 

4. The Human Touch  

Writing has long been an integral skill of being a communications practitioner. However, as AI tools continue to advance, practical writing may not be as necessary of a skill any longer. This does not mean practitioners should fear their job security.  

Most practical writing has been automated already. What practitioners can do instead is start seeing themselves more as storytellers (or storytakers, as Glen Jackson likes to say). Humans will know humans better than bots ever will. Highly creative writing will never be truly replaced by generative language models because machines cannot fully grasp the nuanced, cultural and emotional details that the perspective of a human storyteller offers.  

This can be seen as the ultimate opportunity – not only for writers, but for all practitioners of highly creative work. Instead of needing to concentrate on dry details or repeatable tasks, marketing and communications pros can leverage AI technology to work more efficiently, freeing up time and mental capacity for the more strategic aspects of their roles.  

AI-Friendly Marketing Communications Agency in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles 

If you’re ready to start or evolve your communications strategy, Jackson Spalding is here to help. Contact our team to discuss a tailored plan to help meet your organization’s goals. (We promise it’ll be developed by thoughtful, experienced humans who can connect the dots where AI can’t.)


Randall Kirsch

Public Relations