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Adapting to a Transforming Landscape: Key Insights for Crisis, Risk, and Emergency Communicators

This article distills insights from Newman's 'Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2024', Muck Rack's 'State of AI in PR 2024', and the '2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report'

Dear reader,

I've been analysing Newman's in-depth analysis of media trends for 2024, Muck Rack's latest report on AI impacting the PR industry, and the annual Edelman Trust Barometer. There's a lot of information to go through.

Get ready with your favourite cup of coffee or tea, and let's dive into how the findings of these reports impact the world of crisis, risk, and emergency communication.

Happy reading.

Introduction:

This article examines how the changes discussed in Newman's 'Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2024,' Muck Rack's 'State of AI in PR 2024,' and the '2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report' are affecting the industry and provides advice for risk, crisis, and emergency communicators.

AI integration and transparency (Muck Rack - State of AI in PR 2024):

The integration of AI into PR workflows has increased significantly: 64% of PR professionals now use generative AI, up from 28% last year.

For crisis communication experts, this represents a significant shift towards the use of AI tools to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of real-time communications.

As the report notes, 21% of PR professionals in agencies do not disclose the use of AI to their clients, a practice that could undermine trust in times of crisis and risk management.

If you have not read it yet, check out my own survey report on the use of AI in risk, crisis, and emergency management.

Authority and Trust Dynamics (Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report 2024):

The Edelman report shows that public trust in traditional authorities is declining, while trust in peers and technical experts is increasing.

Crisis communicators need to recognise this shift in public sentiment and engage credible external experts to lend weight to their messages during a crisis, understanding that the voice of authority has diversified and ensuring risk communication is backed by verified information.

Economic and societal concerns (Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report 2024):

In the face of ongoing economic and societal concerns, crisis management communications must be designed to address these fears.

The Edelman report recommends that communications should be sensitive and provide clear, actionable information to manage crises in a way that considers the economic and societal well-being of the public, a key aspect of emergency management.

Innovation management and regulation (Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report 2024):

Public scepticism about innovation management, particularly where government regulators are perceived as incomprehensible, requires clear communication from crisis communicators about the benefits and risks associated with new technologies.

Emphasising ethical considerations and regulatory compliance can help to promote public acceptance and trust in a crisis.

Information Sources and Search Trends (Newman - Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2024):

As digital platforms evolve, communicators will need to adapt their strategies to optimise content for emerging technologies such as SGEs and AI-driven chatbots.

With the decline of referral traffic via traditional social media, focusing on direct channels such as websites, newsletters, and podcasts will become critical for content optimisation, maintaining visibility, and reaching audiences effectively.

Partnership between business and government (Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report 2024):

Companies are expected to partner with the government to anticipate and adapt to technology-based change. Communication plays a key role in highlighting collaborative efforts.

During technological crises, it's important to highlight collaborative initiatives to strengthen public trust and show that innovation is being responsibly managed by businesses and the government.

The TLDR version

To navigate the complex ecosystem of trust, crisis, risk, and emergency, communicators need to integrate AI strategies into their approach and utilise credible voices to address economic and societal fears.

It is important to be transparent about the use of AI, show empathy, communicate clearly about innovation management, and optimise messaging for digital platforms. These practices will help communicators maintain and strengthen trust, ensuring effective reputation management for their organisations in times of crisis.

Did you check out my crisis and emergency communication resources yet? You can download templates, checklists, and practical guidance on this page. You will find tools such as a Crisis Communication Plan Template, the Audience Canvas for Emergency Communication, and much more.

Webinar Replay

I recently talked in a webinar about Crisis Communication and AI with Philip Weiss from ZN Consulting, a leading communication agency located in Brussels.

Here’s the full episode.

What I am reading/testing/checking out:

  • Research - Reimagining History Through AI: A Deep Dive into WarAgent’s World.

  • Article: the GenAI Prism Infographic.

  • Journalist.ai. AI platform that crafts articles that are well-structured, business focused and that creates above (AI) average content.

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As you know, I'm passionate about AI and its applications in the fields of PR and crisis communication. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I use AI to help draft my articles.

Why? Well, for starters, English isn't my first language. While I'm comfortable with it, AI gives me that extra edge to ensure clarity and coherence. Secondly, I write about AI, so what better way to understand its capabilities than to use it in my own work?

I value transparency, so it's crucial for you to know that although AI assists me in drafting, I personally review and edit each article to guarantee its authenticity.

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