Bringing AI to Life – Communications in a crowded market

Developing and deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) is incredibly tough. Yet it’s big business, and only getting bigger: venture capital funding hit a record $9.3 billion globally. From fashion to healthcare, law to finance, cyber security to drug development, AI is revolutionising how organisations operate and serve their customers.

It’s also frequently close to the centre of debates around the impact of technology on society, with concern about its impact on job displacement and biased data.

All this means that organisations across the globe are scrambling to develop, evolve and push their AI story, with vendors championing products, organisations explaining to employees how roles may change, and different groups voicing concerns with AI’s application.

Our clients are no different; it’s one topic that unites many of them across different industries.

So, we wanted to explore some of the challenges AI firms are facing to get their story told. We spoke to in-house marketing and comms leaders in the UK, some of the UK’s most knowledgeable technology journalists, and one of the country’s leading political thinkers on the topic, Lord Clement-Jones, Chair of the Lords AI Committee.

We found several key areas of focus.

The first is the sheer noise. Vendors have to work really hard to create a differentiated narrative and journalists are being bombarded by AI stories from all quarters. The result? A dilution of the message, and an increase in the confusion of what AI actually is, making it harder to develop a clear position and to overcome the increasing scepticism from audiences starting to become wearied by both AI’s hype and its ubiquity.

Secondly, ‘AI washing’ abounds, with vendors badging their latest offering as some form of AI, when the claim is tenuous at best, making it harder for external parties, whether potential customers, influencers or journalists, to identify the truly innovative propositions from the bandwagon jumpers.

Tied into this, there’s also the need to educate the market and being seen to move the industry forward. AI taking jobs is a concept people can understand and apply to their lives; AI still equals robots or terminators for many, so the stories have to be tangible and educate. Some of this comes down to distinguishing between general and narrow AI: sentient, cognizant AI versus AI that deals with helping humans solve a specific problem. It’s here where more needs to be done to focus on benefits around the human impact and ensure transparency.

Finally, any discussion that looks at the impact of AI on people will ultimately need to consider ethics. Whether it’s the potential consequences of increased efficiency or the threat of unchecked programmes discriminating against certain groups, any brand operating in AI must at least consider its ethics position – headlines touching on AI or technology ethics can strike a chord with consumers, which can in turn influence their view of AI as a whole.

So how to address it? Download the report here for insights from our expert respondents (including several brilliant clients) and our combined thoughts on how to ensure your AI story has impact.

Written by André Labadie, MD Business & Technology

To find out more, get in touch with Andre at andre.labadie@brands2life.com 

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