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New IPR research examines how comms leaders are approaching Generative AI as a tool rather than a strategy—and why it works

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Public Relations

Business leaders have been working Generative AI into their operations as a productivity and automation strategy, and company divisions, including marketing and PR, have followed suit. But new research from the Institute of Public Relations reveals that communication and technology leaders, while enthusiastic about the potential of GenAI in their organizations, say they see the technology as a tool rather than a strategy. While the difference may simply be a matter of perspective, the researchers point out the reasoning why this is a more effective approach, in terms of both utility and results.

IPR’s new report, Generative AI in Organizations: Insights and Strategies from Communication Leaders, sponsored by credit rating firm Experian, offers perspectives from communications and AI leaders on the various types of GenAI ownership and management within organizations, addresses opportunities and concerns, and assesses GenAI’s impact on business efficiency, workforce dynamics, and societal implications. Leaders also offered some of their favorite tips, tricks, prompts, and go-to sources for learning more about GenAI.

how comms leaders are approaching Generative AI as a tool rather than a strategy

“We wanted to drill down into understanding the perceptions and uses of generative AI in organizations and explore how communicators are navigating the landscape and addressing concerns both externally and internally,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, president and CEO of IPR and the author of this report, in a news release.

Some key findings include:

Comfort with GenAI

Most communication leaders embrace GenAI, but emphasize continuous learning and proper implementation with safeguards.

Concerns and risks

Despite the enthusiasm for GenAI, there are significant concerns about security, content validation, misinformation, data security, and copyright issues. A strong emphasis is placed on ethical AI usage, particularly in maintaining transparency and compliance with industry regulations, especially in sensitive sectors.

Ownership and governance

The study highlights a lack of consensus on GenAI ownership within organizations, with varied approaches from centralized to department-specific responsibilities.

how comms leaders are approaching Generative AI as a tool rather than a strategy

GenAI guidelines and ethical frameworks

Organizations are actively developing or have implemented internal policies and guidelines for using AI. Some are delaying full AI implementation until further experimentation and testing are completed.

GenAI’s role in communication

The report underscores the positive impact of GenAI in enhancing creativity, content creation, and workflow efficiency within communication functions. Leaders view GenAI as a tool rather than a strategy.

how comms leaders are approaching Generative AI as a tool rather than a strategy

“This is just the beginning of our journey into understanding and using generative AI,” said McCorkindale. “Through the IPR Digital Media Research Center, IPR will continue to be at the forefront of this conversation, including looking at the broader societal and ethical implications of AI.”

This IPR research is one of the first in-depth reports that investigates the use and impact of AI through interviews.

Download the full report here.

The report features interviews with 30 communication and AI leaders in the U.S. and Asia conducted from November 2023 to January 2024 to find out how they are integrating generative AI technologies such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, DALL-E, and MidJourney into their organizational strategies.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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