In a landscape where AI is reshaping the rules of the game, your online discoverability, credibility, and relatability are the currencies of the digital age. Karen Tiber Leland is the founder of Sterling Marketing Group and author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand. She believes that many are still not ready for this AI-driven digital reality and shares seven critical steps for navigating this new era.

The online battleground for attention and engagement has reached an unprecedented level of intensity, propelled by the swift rise of AI. “Being caught off guard by the approaching AI wave can place any CEO or entrepreneur in a perilous situation,” warns Leland.

AI language models like ChatGPT rely heavily on vast amounts of text data available on the internet to learn and form responses. This AI capacity emphasizes the importance of a robust online presence. “If your brand lacks online discoverability, credibility, and relatability, you’re essentially off the AI map,” says Leland.

The consequence of a limited online presence, Leland explains, can be AI producing generic or uninformed responses about a brand, hampering efforts to build thought leadership or attract investors, employees, or customers.

To counter this, Leland recommends a seven-step plan:

  1. Embrace AI Through Education and Experimentation: Avoiding AI will only widen the knowledge gap. Embrace the wealth of online resources available and experiment with AI’s potential for your brand.
  2. Understand the Importance of a Parallel CEO Brand: As a large majority of Americans believe that personal brands of CEOs and executives boost a company’s influence, ignoring this facet is no longer an option.
  3. Consistently Generate High-Quality Online Content: To provide contextually accurate responses, AI models need high-quality content. This abundance of content can take various forms such as articles, blog posts, podcasts, social media posts, and videos.
  4. Reevaluate Your Target Audience: AI can provide valuable insights into your target audience’s changing needs, helping create resonating brand messaging.
  5. Monitor Your Online Reputation Regularly: Employ AI reputation management tools to monitor mentions and manage any arising issues proactively.
  6. Revamp Your Social Media Strategy: Shift your social media focus from primarily company-centric posts to ones that are educational, entertaining, and reflect industry trends and thought leadership.
  7. Teach Google Your Brand: Leland advises brands to “author” their identity on Google with consistent long-form posts and to view social media not merely as a means for “engagement,” but as a tool to enhance brand discoverability.

Ignoring AI’s influence on personal and business branding is perilous, Leland emphasizes, especially when your competitors may already be a step ahead.

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Continually in search of "the next chapter," Sue is the sequel queen at Seeker Books. Her ability to recognize potential in new authors and emerging series keeps readers eager for more.