Deciphering OpenAI's Post-Altman Communication Strategy
The firing of Sam Altman at OpenAI isn't only a major event in the tech industry but also a fascinating story with lessons for public relations and corporate communications.
Even if you’re not following the AI industry at all, I think this is a corporate crisis communication case study in the making.
The firing of Sam Altman (now ex-CEO) at OpenAI last Friday isn't only a major event in the tech industry but also a fascinating story with lessons for public relations and corporate communication professionals.
First reaction of Sam Altman on X
This isn't about examining a corporate restructuring just to dissect it. It's an opportunity to explore the important role of communication in the misunderstood world of AI and technology.
The silence of OpenAI: more than a missed opportunity
In the wake of Altman's dismissal, OpenAI's decision to keep a low profile speaks louder than words. The organisation's reticence created a void that was immediately filled with speculation and rumour.
For us in public relations, this is a clear example of a strategic mistake. When a story is ignored, it tends to take on a life of its own. OpenAI's strategy, or lack thereof, reminds us that if you don't communicate clearly, others will build your story.
The reaction of Nick Dobos, creator of the world’s No. 1 most used custom GPT
In the IT industry, fueled by great minds focused on invention and development, the importance of strategic communication is often overlooked. The Altman episode reminds us that even the most cutting-edge technology needs a voice, a narrative, and a context. This is where our experience comes in handy.
The importance of corporate communication.
Transparency is key. Transparency is critical in a world where trust is a valuable commodity. The scenario at OpenAI emphasises the importance of clear, consistent communication, especially when dealing with difficult leadership transitions.
Harmonising visions: the conflict between OpenAI's non-profit roots and its for-profit ambitions is a delicate dance. It's a delicate balance that requires deliberate, purposeful communication to ensure everyone involved is on the same page.
Proactive crisis communication: follow the golden rule of being proactive rather than reactive. OpenAI's response to leadership change is a textbook example of how silence can exacerbate a problem.
Beyond technology: AI ethics
Ethical concerns are just as important as scientific progress. We must do more than just share information about what is going on. We start by explaining why. It's about structuring the narrative to reflect the inevitable fears, hopes, and scepticism that AI brings.
This isn't just another corporate issue. We need to bridge the gap between technological advances and public awareness. We need to be strategists who are able to navigate the complicated interplay of ethics, profit, and innovation.
The story of Sam Altman and OpenAI is more than just a change in leadership. It's an example of the critical role of communication in the technology industry. It reminds us that it's our job as PR professionals to construct stories, work with perceptions, and guide clients through difficult situations.
We should use the lessons from OpenAI's debacle to emphasise the importance of our work. In a technology-driven society, the human element of communication is more important than ever.
What do you think?
A corporate crisis case study in the making?
What I am reading/testing/checking out:
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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.
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