You and your clients have a rep to protect, and crisis can come from many different places. One big source of brand reputation problems? The digital space, where the negatives can spread just as quickly as the positives.
No PR can be omnipotent or always-online, so a reputational crisis will happen at some point. In our webinar ‘The AI Conundrum: paving the way for the future of comms’, Danebury Research founder Paul Stallard shared findings from our collaborative white paper to prove just how prepared PRs need to be.
Read on for the numbers on accountability, fake news, and how valuable public relations is.
Business leaders are worried about reputation…
– 94% of business decision makers have had to deal with a brand reputation issue
Every business needs to maintain their reputation, and this is a big concern for those at the top of the hierarchy. Causes of potential headaches and sleepless nights for industry decision makers come from both inside and outside of company structures. According to our data, 53% of reputation management cases were due to actions taken by an employee, while 46% came from a customer or external person.
– 67% worry that poorly managed brand reputation issues would seriously damage their company. Half of business decision makers would be unsure how to reduce the impact of a brand reputation issue
Ensuing damage is a concern for over half of polled business leaders across the financial services, utilities, pharma, media, retail, and transport sectors.While the number of decision makers that wouldn’t know how to stop a reputational crisis in its tracks is slightly concerning, business leaders do know who can help them.
…but the majority know that PR is a problem-solver
– 82% agree PR support would be vital to manage a brand reputational issue
Good news – 84% of business leaders proactively use PR to improve their reputation in the media and online, and 79% already have a plan in place to deal with any brand reputation issues.
Appreciation for public relations continues to rise. As we found in our previous white paper with Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White (‘Elevating the role of public relations in management’), PR people are increasingly part of strategic decision making at the top levels of business.
Fake news and misinformation are a key concern in business now
– 77% believe fake news/misinformation would cause their company reputational damage
As mentioned by Polis Analysis’ Thomas Barton in the Vuelio webinar ’Why PRs need to take online misinformation and disinformation seriously’, fake news is predicted to be a significant challenge over the next 20 years.
80% of business leaders are already preparing and have taken steps to protect their company against fake news or misinformation. 75% believe fake news/misinformation is already on the rise.
Business leaders want the media to take more responsibility
– 71% think journalists and the media need to do more to validate sources to help prevent fake news/misrepresentation
Fact checking is baked into the journalist’s job, but what about AI content generation at publishing companies like BuzzFeed and Axel Springer?
37% of those on top of the business food chain believe content generators like ChatGPT will worsen the quality of media content, and that 83% of publications should mark when it’s been used to create a story. 37% even believe the technology could kill creativity completely. But is it all bad when it comes to AI?
AI is a source of trepidation for business bosses
– Only 22% of business leaders have personally used it for work-related purposes
AI technologies are still very much in their infancy for content creation – less than a quarter of decision makers have toyed with it so far. Perhaps due to this lack of personal experience of just what these apps can do, numbers show wariness. 37% believe ChatGPT is more of a risk than an asset, while a significant 65% think ChatGPT poses a threat to jobs.
AI is also a source of opportunity for PRs when building reputations
– While 62% of business leaders believe it’s too early for ChatGPT to be used in PR, 45% are actively investigating how it could be used as part of their communications
– 67% of business bosses believe ChatGPT prompting will be as important as SEO – a mainstay of comms – going forward.
On whether it really will take job opportunities away, a scary possibility much media coverage has put forward, not all business leaders agree. 45% believe it will improve productivity for the humans already working for them, and 78% agree the technology will free up time, enabling PRs to be even more creative with their strategies.
Whatever the future holds, anyone working in the field of reputation – whether building it, protecting it, or fixing it – will need to incorporate emerging technologies into their toolkit.
‘I have been in conversations with clients and they’ve asked what our stance is on the use of AI already, and whether we should be using it,’ said Paul.
‘We’re in the early stages in the PR industry so far – we’re excited about it, exploring and investigating it.
‘We need to embrace this as a tool and not be scared. We need to know the strength and weaknesses, so we can advise our clients correctly.’
Watch the full webinar ‘The AI conundrum – paving the way for the future of comms‘ and download the accompanying white paper ‘Reputation management: How PR and comms can maintain trust in an AI-assisted future’ for more on this topic.