He has a valid point when you consider that reputation management has become a required skill for managers and investors.
First, AI and ML technology replaces misleading metrics such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) and Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE), and empowers companies with the ability to
· capture and analyze a wealth of unstructured data to predict future growth with a higher accuracy potential;
· forecast customer and stakeholder behaviors; and
· create simulations and plans to help them “get in front of” a wide range of crises that impact a brand’s reputation.
Second, ML provides unique perspectives on reputation as it affects corporate investment. Senior leadership teams must make reputation a key indicator in their decision-making as it does shape stakeholder behaviors.[i]
The good news is that reputation management may very well be the easiest point of entry for companies looking to develop an AI environment but are frightened as to where to begin.
Many organizations may already have the talent resources in place that focus primarily on reputation management. If your company is using an external resource like a social media agency, chances are they are utilizing an AI tool to protect and hopefully enhance your online stature. Either way, now would be a critically imperative time to do a formal review to explore the different options of AI that can best steward your firm’s reputation.
I use the words “critically imperative” because there are already forces working against you in the social media arena, either from competitors or more likely from sinister elements (like hackers and spammers) that are gunning for your online reputation.
“Fake news” may be a mere buzz term in our current political rhetoric, but for businesses that fall victim to bogus profiling or worse yet – real profiles that become compromised, the profound negative impact from the false information being disseminated is very real.
Therefore, you need to think of your new AI program as an “elite special forces unit” or counter-intelligence network whose mission is to get in front of these attacks before they do some real damage to your bottom line.
Another advantage of AI is that it can help you shape public sentiment. In other words, you can define what others are saying about you if you are sending the right messages to the right segments, at the right time and with the right vehicles. There are some political repercussions if not properly managed, but the previous scenario of constantly reacting to harmful reviews appears to be a far more slippery slope.
From an operations standpoint, AI can respond to customer queries in more sophisticated ways than you are experiencing from your search engines or email systems. Having the flexibility and extra time to focus on your core business is by itself a significant justification for investing in AI for this essential marketing and customer service function.
Reputation management is an area where AI makes us better, and not less human. More to the point, AI is a must for reputation management to fight off “inhumane elements” that are harmful to your business.
As Sebastian Thrun, founder and president of Udacity, says, “Nobody phrases it this way, but I think that artificial intelligence is almost a humanities discipline. It’s really an attempt to understand human intelligence and human cognition.”[ii]
For my firm, it was this focus on the humanities discipline affecting business that led to the development of our eSentiment SaaS based solution. More than a mere reputation management tool, it allows an organization to measure its public sentiment score based on social network data.
To elaborate, eSentiment gives you specific insights into the feelings of your target audiences on social media outlets relating to your message, services and products. Having the ability to capture and measure these sentiments empowers the executives and marketing leaders to be proactive about adjusting their brand communications and customer service execution. It is these advanced tools that can have an immediate impact on sales & business development.
And as mentioned earlier, with social media’s growing influence on an already whimsical investment community, eSentiment and other like-minded reputation management products are becoming an “absolute must” for managing investor relations and minimizing market volatility.
In closing, this is not merely a pitch for our product, but an appeal for greater awareness of the growth opportunities that can arise from ML for reputation. I would only ask that you consider eSentiment and my firm in your review of products and service providers who can help you establish a successful AI program for your company’s reputation management. Your overall business success may depend on this added step.