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David Lucas
| 21ST JUN 2023

Zeno Thinks: In the AI era, how can technology brands cut through the noise? 

As a Technology team here at Zeno London, each week we discuss stories that have hit the media and the learnings we can take from these to help the brands we work with. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that over 90% of the stories the team has brought to these meetings over recent months have been focused on one topic: Artificial Intelligence (AI).  

The volume of stories, the range of sub-topics being covered and the broadness of publications reporting on these platforms has surprised us all. With a high volume of media interested in the topic, landing coverage for technology brands looking to tell their AI stories and share viewpoints must be easy, right? The answer is more complicated than you might think. 

To find out what is cutting through and how brands can make their stories heard, we carried out some analysis on trends in reporting and how these articles are being shared by audiences. As might be expected, the volume of articles mentioning AI has been steadily increasing since Chat GPT’s public launch in late November 2022, spiking even higher in March 2023 around GPT-4’s availability. Encouragingly for brands, engagement (social media shares, likes and comments) has increased at the same time, showing that there is pubic appetite for the increased number of AI stories in the media. 

Looking more closely, we found three phases that define media reporting since Chat GPT’s launch: 

  • Building an understanding: Initially, stories that connected AI with well-known figures and generated surprising results garnered engagement. However, after the launch of ChatGPT, the focus shifted to practical and everyday applications of AI, such as its impact on future jobs and integration into existing technologies
  • Recognising AI's potential: Media coverage expanded to explore AI's potential, particularly its ability to generate convincing images and perform writing tasks. As the conversation progressed, concerns about job displacement and existential risks associated with AI gained prominence 
  • Facing the reality: The conversation then shifted to the realities and risks of AI, fuelled by discussions on its rapid development without adequate understanding of its broader implications. Industry figures like Elon Musk and organisations like the Future of Life Institute contributed to the discourse

As the volume of stories on AI increased, naturally the number of journalist requests for insights and examples related to the technology was also on the rise. Based on conversations with our media contacts, several common topics of interest have emerged: the impact and practicalities of pausing generative AI development, AI's role in the workplace, government regulations and investment strategies, AI across industries, issues and risks associated with AI, and the key platforms and their offerings. 

Faced with the challenge of balancing high media interest and audience engagement with a large volume of brands looking to tell their AI stories, how can technology businesses cut through in the AI era? Here are four pieces of advice: 

  • Practical application trumps innovation…: Highlight practical applications of AI to demonstrate its benefits and problem-solving capabilities 
  • …But privacy and security trump everything: Address privacy and security concerns head-on, working closely with product counterparts to ensure confidence in the platform's safety and mitigate any potential issues 
  • Data stories should provide something different: Instead of focusing solely on data, think about showcasing unique applications of AI to bring it to life in a meaningful way 
  • Be ready to adapt at speed: Stay agile and responsive to the rapidly evolving AI landscape, preparing a basic AI story and being prepared to update it as new advancements arise 

For more detail on our analysis, download our latest report ‘Standing Out In the AI Boom’ here.