Contributed to EO by Eden Gillott, an EO Los Angeles member and president of Gillott Communications, a strategic communications and Crisis PR firm. She’s the author of A Business Owner’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting You & Your Business’ Reputation, and serves as the EO Los Angeles chapter’s Accelerator co-chair. We asked Eden how AI-powered language models such as ChatGPT can help entrepreneurs manage Crisis PR. Here’s what she shared:

As entrepreneurs, we all know that crisis is a part of life. Whether it’s a product recall, lawsuit, disgruntled employee, or social media scandal, how your company handles a crisis can make or break your reputation. That’s why it’s essential to have a solid Crisis PR plan in place. But how can you stay ahead of the game?

One way is by leveraging the power of technology, specifically AI-powered language models like ChatGPT. These tools can help you navigate a crisis, communicate with your stakeholders, and ultimately protect your reputation.

EO members have already shown great interest in ChatGPT—from Zoom presentations with Sagar Pandya (EO Chicago) to WhatsApp groups launched by various members, including Quan Gan (EO Los Angeles North) and social media posts by so many more members.

As a friendly reminder, the benefits and considerations covered in this post are not a comprehensive list by any means! Think of them as a jumping-off point—like the first pancake in a stack that’s always a little wonky but still delicious. Use them to spark your creativity and develop even more ways to leverage technology in your Crisis PR plan. Happy brainstorming!

Benefits of Machine Learning in Crisis PR

Here are three benefits of leveraging tools such as ChatGPT as part of your Crisis PR strategy:

  1. Reduce communication packet turnaround time. When a crisis hits, every second counts. That’s why it’s essential to communicate with your stakeholders as quickly and efficiently as possible. With ChatGPT, you can draft statements and responses that can be reviewed and enhanced by your Crisis Team (legal, marketing and communications, crisis PR professionals, etc.) This can help you craft messaging consistent with your brand’s voice and values. Think of it as Mario (as in Super Mario Bros.) using his power-ups to navigate through the different challenges while staying true to his mission.
  2. Predictive modeling. ChatGPT can analyze a vast amount of data to predict how your stakeholders might react to a crisis. By using machine learning, ChatGPT can forecast how a situation might affect your brand’s reputation and provide you with data-driven insights. It can help you make informed decisions about responding to a crisis and minimizing its impact on your business.
  3. Crisis simulation. One of the best ways to prepare for a crisis is to simulate one. ChatGPT can help you create a list of likely crisis scenarios so you can practice your response. It can help you identify gaps in your Crisis PR plan, improve your messaging, and build your team’s confidence. With enough practice and preparation, you can become as skilled at your Crisis PR response as Mario and Luigi are at jumping and fighting their way through the Mushroom Kingdom.

Avoid Potential AI-Powered Pitfalls

While ChatGPT is a helpful tool for Crisis PR, there are a few things to watch out for:

  1. Confidential information. Beware of inputting confidential, proprietary, or privileged information that could harm your company if it becomes public. Just as you would exercise discretion and carefully consider what you put into an email or text, consider the potential consequences of sharing your company’s sensitive information online.
  2. Lack of personalization. While ChatGPT can help you craft messaging quickly and efficiently, it’s essential to remember that Crisis PR requires a personal touch. Stakeholders want to know that you care about their concerns and take their feedback seriously. That’s why it’s crucial to balance the speed and efficiency of ChatGPT with the personalization that comes from working with a (human) PR professional.
  3. Overreliance on technology. While ChatGPT can provide you with data-driven insights, it’s essential to remember that it’s just one tool in your Crisis PR toolbox. When navigating a crisis, human judgment, intuition, and experience are valuable assets. ChatGPT can help you make informed decisions, but it’s crucial to remember that it’s only one part of the puzzle. Just like Mario needs to collect at least eight red coins to get the Vanish Cap (aka temporary invisibility), you need to consider all aspects of your Crisis PR plan to ensure your brand’s reputation stays strong and, with luck, your crisis appears invisible (at least temporarily).

Crisis PR is not just about putting out fires. It’s about being prepared, being present, and being proactive. By using AI-powered tools such as ChatGPT, you can stay ahead of the game and protect your brand’s reputation. Just remember to balance the efficiency of ChatGPT with the personalization, human judgment, and ethical considerations essential to successful Crisis PR. It’s like playing a video game: Sometimes you need a power-up, but you still need to be the one holding the controller.

Don’t miss EO’s 2023 EmpowHER virtual series on 7, 14 and 21 March (the first three Tuesdays of the month). EmpowHER invites women entrepreneurs to hear inspiring stories from fellow founders—including Aanchal Bhatia, founder of Sydenham Clinic; Hannah Vasicek, founder of Francesca; and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former prime minister of Denmark—during a series of virtual events that are free and open to EO members, EO Accelerators, their companies, and prospective EO members. Register today!

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog