Crisis Communication Planning with AI: Before, During, and After a Crisis

Enhancing the Planning Process with AI: A Potential Guide to Crisis Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

Dear reader,

In this edition of the Wag The Dog newsletter (and podcast), I look at how AI can be integrated into the whole crisis process: before, during and after a crisis, with a focus on the crisis plan.

Each phase of a crisis has its own obstacles, and AI offers potential practical solutions for each. The applications described in this issue are inspired by the research and practical application of crisis prompting I presented in my book in February.

Of course, things have changed in the AI industry in the meantime, but the following scenarios (and some of the prompts) are still very relevant.

Enjoy and let me know if you are interested in accessing a crisis prompt library via the short poll at the end of the article.

Pre-crisis: Proactive monitoring and planning

Data analysis and sentiment analysis

Let's say you work in the automotive industry. AI can follow social media discussions about brake failures on all types of vehicles in real time. When the negative sentiment increases, it's time to investigate and possibly make a pre-emptive statement.

Trend Prediction

AI algorithms in your industry can analyse past data on product recalls, for example. If a similar pattern emerges with one of your goods, the AI will warn you so that you can take countermeasures before a problem occurs.

Virtual exercises and scenario modelling

Artificial intelligence (AI) can, for example, simulate a product recall scenario so that your employees can practise their tasks in a safe environment. These simulated exercises can reveal weaknesses in your strategy and give you important clues.

I discuss this topic in greater detail in my book "Mastering Crisis Communication with ChatGPT - A Practical Guide." In the book, I provide an example prompt to help create a fictional crisis communication scenario. Here’s just one of the prompts from my book:

“A sophisticated cyberattack on MBX corporation's network has resulted in a shutdown of key systems and a disruption of operations. The attackers have also released confidential information to the public. Create a crisis communication simulation plan to address the situation, ensure continuity of business operations and the protection of MBX's reputation.”

You would of course adapt the type of crisis and other details depending on your needs.

Rapid response and resource allocation during a crisis situation

Automated initial response and FAQ

An AI chatbot can send initial alerts to customers and answer simple questions within minutes of a data breach, allowing your staff to focus on controlling the problem and communicating proactively.

Allocation of resources

Artificial intelligence (AI) can estimate the volume of customer service calls during a crisis and allocate staff resources accordingly to ensure that you are not understaffed at important times.

Multichannel communication and personalisation

For example, AI can divide your stakeholders into groups such as customers, investors and regulators and then tailor communications to each group. It can help you assess which communication channels are most effective for each group, such as email, social media or press releases.

Here’s another example from my book. Here I instruct ChatGPT to create key messages for a specific segmented audience, in this case employees from the company which is under attack.

“In the same context of a cyberattack on MBX Corporation, please draft 3 key messages that can be used with employees of the company.”

Important to know: this specific prompt is a follow-up prompt and part of a larger conversation with ChatGPT in the context of a fictive crisis.

Learning and improving after the crisis

Performance metrics and feedback loop 

AI can analyse key performance indicators (KPI) such as response time, stakeholder engagement, and message effectiveness to conduct a thorough performance review.

Audit for ethical and legal compliance

After sending crisis communications, AI can evaluate the messages to ensure that they comply with legal requirements and ethical standards.

Analysis of skills gaps

AI can evaluate how effectively your team performed during virtual exercises and during the actual crisis, highlighting areas for development and recommending tailored training programmes.

AI is more than just a tool in crisis communication; it is a strategic partner. When you involve AI at every point of the crisis timeline, you are not only reacting to events but also staying one step ahead of them.

Now, let me ask you the following:

Prompt Library Access

Would you be interested in getting unlimited access to my ever-updating PR/Crisis Communication-focused prompt library. (It's a bit like having a PR consultant on call, 24/7).

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What I am reading/testing/checking out:

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  • Delegate your tasks to autonomous AI agents. Revolutionise your everyday work with game-changing and user-friendly AI tools fueled by GPT4.

  • Prompting for AI Bootcamp: This course’s focus is on skills to create advanced, goal-oriented prompts for ChatGPT, transforming business objectives into executable tasks.

A Quick Note on How I Create Content for Wag The Dog

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 believe in transparency. It's important for you to know that AI helps me draft articles, but I personally review and make final edits to ensure their authenticity.

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