Using AI at the Wrong Time

Ronn Torossian
2 min readMar 23, 2023


AI is being used more and more by companies to create public statements and content, saving resources and time. However, the resulting generic or impersonal responses may not be effective in connecting with the public and conveying empathy. To build relationships and trust with the public, companies need more than algorithm-generated content. Brands need to establish personal connections and show understanding of the customer’s needs.

After a shooting at Michigan State University, the university attempted to use ChatGPT, an AI writing tool by OpenAI, to craft a statement. References to this caused backlash against both the university and the people creating it and generated a PR crisis. To rectify this, the university sent out an apology email following their initial one.

AI tools

AI can provide data analysis and language generation for PR crisis management, but it cannot generate meaningful and empathetic responses. Thus, AI-generated statements should be only the beginning of a process rather than the final product. This is an error Michigan State University made with creating its statement. Companies must remember to add the human touch when creating a statement to best communicate their message.


A hybrid approach involving both AI and human input can improve customer service responses. Companies can generate an initial response using AI writing, then have a human team review and edit the language to ensure it reflects the company’s values and the circumstances. This allows for a more personalized, emotionally-aware response than solely relying on AI.

Companies should also be transparent and authentic about AI writing tools in any statements. It should emphasize the importance of human input and compassion, conveying honesty and vulnerability. Language is crucial too. Companies must ensure appropriate phrases and patterns, as well as nuances of language, with an empathetic tone. Reviewing the language used is essential to ensure suitable expression and the necessary level of empathy.

In the wake of a PR crisis, it’s crucial for companies to issue statements that are prompt, thoughtful, and empathic. This can be an opportunity to show the brand’s values and commitment to social responsibility. Timing and phrasing are both key considerations.

Companies should take concrete actions to respond to the tragedy and support those affected. Brands should also be ready to address and respond to feedback and criticism that arise via social media, whilst being respectful and empathetic in any responses. Having a plan in place can help build trust and credibility with the public.



Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR, one of America’s leading & largest PR Agencies and the Author of the best-selling PR book: "For Immediate Release"