The Post-ChatGPT Playbook: Key Learnings about Communicating GenAI - Vested

Whether you’re at work, with family or friends, or simply reading the news, the excitement around generative AI (GenAI) is hard to miss today. As communications professionals, we get to have a front-row seat as organizations consider the impacts of this technology on their own operations, test its potential, and launch offerings that reverberate through the market. 

But with something as buzzy as GenAI, and with so much about this technology still unknown, managing messaging around the topic is not without challenges. Since ChatGPT took the world by storm, the Vested team has partnered with and advised clients around their own GenAI communications. Here, we break down some of our key learnings. 

Conduct internal fact-finding first

Many organizations, large ones in particular, are piloting GenAI initiatives as they work to understand how this technology could be applied to their operations. But most of these initiatives are unlikely to be communicated externally, and information may be closely guarded internally as well to prevent leaks. 

At the same time, some comms teams within an organization may work with a subject matter expert (SME) or business line that is particularly excited to talk about an aspect of GenAI. In such a scenario, it is essential to conduct thorough internal fact-finding before beginning any external messaging initiatives. This entails assessing any existing GenAI projects happening within the organization and understanding how communications efforts may impact them. Collaboration across departments is crucial for ensuring alignment and avoiding a messy PR situation. By conducting this internal assessment, comms pros can navigate potential challenges and ensure that any external communications are well-informed.

Don’t front-run customers 

Leaders and SMEs across organizations are eager to talk about GenAI – and this is a good thing! It is a pleasure to work with thought leaders who are excited about the potential of new innovations for their operations and end customers. However, while some leaders may be chomping at the bit to discuss GenAI, communications efforts must always prioritize the end customer. 

This consideration is particularly vital in B2B work, where tech-forward vendors may partner with more traditional institutions that tend to be more cautious and risk-averse when it comes to adopting new technologies. Comms pros must think about how any GenAI messaging will resonate with those audiences – will it feel relevant to their day-to-day, or do we risk sounding out of touch with and distracted from customers’ actual concerns? If the answer could be yes, it’s time to reassess. 

Ensure synergy between different SMEs

As interest in GenAI continues to grow, numerous voices within organizations may be eager to contribute to the conversation. While diversity in perspectives is valuable, maintaining coherence across messaging is paramount. As communications professionals, it’s our responsibility to ensure that the overarching narrative remains consistent. For example, if the message from one SME to a reporter is that it’s too soon to implement GenAI for a certain group of institutions, and the message from another is that these institutions must act now to implement GenAI tools, there’s a problem. 

This is an excellent moment for comms pros to play the role of connectors, applying knowledge gained from working across an organization to make sure that a cohesive message makes it to market. 

It’s our job to help educate the media – so expect that education will be necessary

Across verticals, reporters are working hard to understand the intricacies, implications and potential dangers of GenAI for the benefit of their readers. They must build a firm understanding of this technology – How does GenAI work? What is the difference between a chatbot and an LLM? – as well as connect the dots to its relevance for their specific beat. As with many new innovations, this takes time. 

It is part of the job of comms pros to be a helpful resource for the media. With this in mind, comms pros should prepare themselves and their key stakeholders and spokespeople for what this inevitable learning curve means. Namely: 

  • Ensure that any external communications like press releases are as clear as possible – don’t be afraid to issue a longer announcement if it means you’re communicating effectively to the media. 
  • Prep spokespeople before interviews to get into the basics with reporters, even if it feels rudimentary to them. And as always, spokespeople should avoid jargon or technical language as much as possible. 
  • Expect that corrections will be needed once coverage is live. This is a complicated topic, and reporters may not always get it right – particularly those authoring write-ups on an announcement without speaking directly to a source. Ensure that your team is closely monitoring coverage and is prepared to reach out to the media with clarifications as needed. 

Use cases and conversations around GenAI are evolving quickly, but comms professionals are accustomed to operating in a dynamic environment. At this moment, we have an exciting role to play, shaping meaningful corporate narratives and driving education around one of the most revolutionary innovations in many of our careers.

If your firm is looking for strategic planning around your own generative AI story, contact us here.

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