How Leadership Helps Create Successful AI Adoption

How Leadership Helps Create Successful AI Adoption

by Cara Sloman, CEO, Force4 Technology Communications 

The widespread adoption of AI is a watershed moment in the world of marketing and PR. AI-powered tools can automate a myriad of time-consuming and mundane tasks, freeing marketing and PR pros to focus on more strategic activities. For instance, an AI can pull names for a media list that a human can then check. 

Any time a company adopts new technology, the tone its leaders take helps determine whether the tech will succeed. It’s a leader’s job to set the vision and inspire the team, as well as develop and sustain company standards for how to use AI – and deal with whatever issues and risks arise. As a leader, your job is to set your organization up for success, and today that includes successfully implementing AI and gleaning its benefits. 

Three factors in effective use of AI  

For the PR and marketing teams, AI-driven solutions can be a breath of fresh air. For PR pros, AI tools offer advanced data analysis to help make better decisions. For marketers, AI uses buyer attributes to help create the right message for each audience and deliver it at the right time. 

There’s much more to using AI than just training employees to use it. To use AI effectively, think about these three factors: 

  1. Get clarity on how AI can assist you in reaching your business goals. Make these goals clear to gain stakeholder support; this will put everyone on the same page. Stay current on AI developments by tracking with tech vendors, industry publications and research institutions.
  2. Consider AI’s ethical implications. It’s been known to show bias, for instance. And sometimes you can’t tell how or why it came to a certain decision due to lack of transparency. When looking at solutions, delve into whether they were responsibly developed and if there are guardrails in place. This will reduce ethical and transparency concerns.
  3. Keep in mind that when you start an AI project or adopt an AI-based solution, this creates change at the organization level. As a leader, you’ll need to stay in close contact with stakeholders about how the solution or project is going. And yes, training is important – especially for teams that might resist this change.

Striking the right human-AI balance 

Before adopting AI for PR and marketing, it’s important to address several potential issues and risks. For instance, some people might be concerned that AI will replace them; that’s an understandable issue for content creators that can create resistance. One risk is that generative AI tools like ChatGPT need to be fact-checked due to their tendency to hallucinate. 

Another risk is the temptation to rely on AI without the benefit of human wisdom and experience. This is particularly problematic when it comes to making decisions that require human reasoning and ethical considerations. In other words, humans still need to be in the loop; it increases the odds of having accurate, unbiased data and insights. 

Communicating with humans will always need the human touch. AI is known for its speed and vast knowledge base, but balance that with the qualities AI doesn’t have: the intuition and lived experience of human beings. You’ll still need the creativity of your staff to work with AI automation to retain a real connection with customers and maintain your brand voice. Solving customers’ pain points via real-world experience will give you the competitive advantage over those who rely solely on AI for their content. 

Leading the culture transition 

Leaders influence company culture, and this is a vital role during the AI adoption process. Clear communication is vital here, as always. Be honest and sincere when you tell your team about the possible benefits AI has to offer, as well as the concerns about its use. Create an ongoing dialog about what AI is and isn’t capable of. 

A best practice is to integrate AI with an iterative approach. This enables people to experiment, learn and refine their interactions with AI. Your company will then be well positioned to use AI effectively, discovering new opportunities and achieving corporate goals. This is a repeatable approach that will help your organization get the most out of AI. 

Strong leadership, strong AI results 

AI is shifting not only how we work but our company cultures as well.  It can automate all those time-intensive activities and reveal new business possibilities. As a leader, you must acknowledge the risks but also the potential of AI technologies, guiding your PR and marketing teams through this new landscape to greater tactical automation and operational efficiency. Remind staff that AI isn’t here to steal their jobs but to assist them with their jobs; creative work will always need the human touch. Yet AI implementations are not automatically successful; strong leadership is a key ingredient in that success. 

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