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Public Affairs and Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities & limitations (Part 1)

Yes, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are going to transform the way Public Affairs professionals communicate, engage and influence their audience. BUT let's look beyond the AI hype.

Today as the state of things are, AI assistants are still in their infancy, with rather marginal productivity wins for specific use cases, inaccurate outcomes, and legal risks.

There are better ways to leverage the real Tech opportunity today. Too many PA professionals and International/EU Associations are still working in primitive way when it comes to digital. With the power of automation, data-driven business intelligence, and digital transformation, you can generate substantial productivity wins, customer/member delight, and unlock growth.

In this article (part 1), we are covering following topics:

  • Where AI can help Public Affairs now? AI tools and use case.

  • Limitations of AI tools today

  • AI Ethics: How you should navigate them

In part 2, we will discuss why you should fix your basic digital issues first, before jumping on Chat GPT:

  • Why you should resolve your basic digital challenges, first

  • How to create real digital productivity wins and growth

  • Results you can achieve in a few weeks.


Where AI can help Public Affairs now?

AI tools like Chat GPT (Open AI), Jasper, ... can help you create more relevant digital campaigns that resonate with your stakeholders and achieve your goals.

Among Public Affairs different roles, AI tools will impact the most communication, marketing and design jobs, but also policy/advocacy jobs, on 3 dimensions:

  • content creation

  • data capture and insights monitoring

  • advertising/campaigns optimization.

1. Generate basic content and enhance creativity

  • Chat GPT acts as a checklist provider, which you can use before writing your content. For instance, it gives recommendations on how to write a blog post that ranks well in Google and results in conversions or a great press release.

  • AI tools can help you generate draft content for press releases, emails, letters, blog post, social media post, images, videos, newsletters, ad copy that resonates with different audiences.

  • AI tools can analyse your topic, audience, tone and keywords, and produce content that matches your brand voice and style.

  • AI tools can help you write ads optimized for clicks and conversions using predictive technology.

  • You can also use AI tools to edit, proofread and optimize your content for SEO and readability.

  • AI tools can help you enhance your creativity by providing you with inspiration, ideas and insights for your digital campaigns.

  • ...

A good way to start

  • – this is an AI copywriting assistant. It covers a wide range of marketing functions like Ads Headlines and Primary Text, Company Bios, AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) copy, Problem-Agitate-Solution copy, Engaging Questions, Short Social Posts, Email Subject Lines, Content Rewriting. Free trial.

  • Hemingway - to check the readability score. It analyses your content and suggests where you could make it clearer, more concise, or improve your diction.

More tools we spotted for your content creation:

Few more copywriting tools:

  • Writesonic



Audio editing:

  • Descript

  • Adobe Podcast

Image generation

  • Midjourney

  • Adobe Firefly

2. Monitor your topics and manage reputation

  • AI can help you manage your reputation by monitoring, analysing and responding to your online mentions, reviews, feedback and sentiment.

  • AI tools can use natural language processing and sentiment analysis to track and understand what your audience, media, politicians, competitors and influencers are saying about you, your brand, your products/services and your policy issues.

  • You can also use AI to respond to your online comments, questions, complaints and compliments, and build trust and loyalty with your audience.

  • ...

A good way to start

  • The AI recommendations are a good starting point for a newbie and are disappointing for experienced professionals. Think of it as your assistant or a junior who can take over some of the mundane tasks/base contextual work you’d normally have to deal with yourself or things you already know as an expert in your field (draft copy, summary of trends, speaking points...). You must review/sources/edit the add a layer of quality (point of view, story, authenticity...)

  • AI can help track media impressions, coverage, and analyse sentiment.

  • For social media marketers, you can discover high-impact influencers.

  • AI can help detect prospects

3. Campaigns optimization

  • AI can help you segment your audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviours, preferences and needs.

  • AI can help you personalize your digital campaigns by delivering the right content, at the right time, to the right person, on the right channel.

  • AI can also help you optimize your digital campaigns by testing, measuring and improving your results.

  • AI can create targeted media lists or help identify journalists most likely to be interested in a story.

  • AI can provide insights into how a campaign performs and make recommendations for changes.

  • AI can help evaluate the effectiveness of marketing and communications campaigns

  • ...

A good way to start

Limitations of generative AI for PA today

Things are moving fast in AI. But in 2023, most of the outcomes of AI tools like Chat GPT are still limited with superficial added value and quite some risks.
The good news is that AI is not going to replace PA professionals anytime soon!

  • Since Chat GPT’s data sets come from 2021, answers are not actionable for strategic insights and policy (to say the least, the world has changed a lot since 2 years).

  • If you expect new tactics and out-of-the-box ideas to experiment, pass your way.

  • In all cases, critical logic must be applied to make this content relevant, accurate, original.

  • Plus, AI tools come with important ethical concerns.

AI Ethics: How you should navigate them

The use of ethics in AI is essential to prevent the misuse of technology. Without an ethical framework behind it, artificial intelligence can result in 3 problems.

We believe, that using AI tools in 2023 in the context of PA, risks still outweigh the benefits.

1. Privacy and Security Concerns

It can impact the brand's credibility but also bring legal ramifications. For content creators, there is a real fear of intellectual property theft. The information AI uses to improve isn't guaranteed to be protected. The amount of personal data or strategic business data users unknowingly give away for AI solutions isn't disclosed — and it could be using unauthorized intellectual property to work.

Without stronger ethical guidelines at EU level, it can lead to data breaches, legal conflict, and other misuses. Some companies have already forbidden the use of ChatGPT for their employees, like JP Morgan, Amazon, Verizon or Accenture, or Samsung after spotting some strategic data leaks. Google Bard AI is not available in the EU yet, as there are concerns that it can extract personal information leaked on the internet, and not in line with GDPR.

In May 2023, the European Commission told the staff not to use Chat GPT for sensitive work and established some basic internal rules to prevent Shadow AI.

2. Unequal bias

Many AIs have displayed an insensitive or unfair bias against certain individuals or groups using the technology. So how can programming be less biased? This is one of the hottest topics in AI right now, and the solutions (and regulations) are still being forged to create an AI of trust for Europe (EU AI Act).

3. Incorrect or Incomplete Information

As a PA pro or content marketer, you want to keep control over your messaging. As such, AI tools outcomes do not help that much. You would never risk publishing an article that you can’t trace back.

  • There are valid concerns about whether the results it generates are reliable. Just because AI said it, doesn't mean it's accurate or reliable. Chat GPT cannot access the internet to collect data in real-time and understand the world has changed since 2021.

  • While it can be a good source of inspiration, you should not use it for content creation for your campaigns to avoid plagiarism. Typically, AI does not disclose the exact sources of information it shares with users.

While AI has the potential to automate some routine tasks, it is not yet advanced enough to replace creativity, strategic thinking, and human interaction.

At the same time, more and more organisations are now laying the foundation that will make those AI tools useful. And that foundation is about having a strong data strategy, an optimized digital ecosystem, and smart automation in place.

This must be a business priority and we, at Symantra, can help you to generate substantial productivity wins (free up 1 day a week for key staff to work on more high-value activities), lower operational costs by 30%, unleash growth, and create more impact in campaigns.

Next article:

Public Affairs and AI: Resolve your Basic Digital issues first, before jumping on Chat GPT (part 2)

Symantra is a Brussels-based digital agency specialized in 360° solutions for International Associations and Public affairs.

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