4 Tips to Maintain Authenticity and Thought Leadership in the AI Era


This question has been on my mind lately with the wave of AI conversation. 

I remember being on Clubhouse stages every day in 2021 and the most common response to any question on brand, content and social media, was ‘be authentic’. Be you.  

But in a world of ChatGPT where every human has access to a bot to answer any question, we inherently are going to start sounding alike and trusting the bot to be ‘us’.  

So I asked my LinkedIn famiLEE what they thought about it, and nearly 80% said they DO NOT think authenticity is dead. PHEW! ???? 

rachel be lee linkedin authenticity

BUT for this to be true my friends, we have to be the stewards of authenticity and thought leadership. We get to use the tools to be more productive and efficient and CANNOT lose sight of what true authenticity means.  

What does authenticity mean in marketing?  

The way that I was trained over the last 2 decades (yes I’m including high school) is that we must do the research and have credible resources to formulate a position. I was trained heavily on this during my college level courses in high school, and my two business degrees and jobs at Microsoft and Gartner.

We gather research from different resources to see different perspectives, give credit where it’s due and then have a thoughtful personal perspective based on the research we did.  

I think this mindset has never been more important, not just in marketing, but with our children AND this is where AI gets really tough and hard for me. There’s no sourcing, and AI is pulling from millions of other people’s perspectives and opinions, some legitimate and some not, WITHOUT sharing that resourcing with us.  

selfie rachel b lee

So to ME, Rachel B. Lee, authenticity is doing exactly what I described above. Being educated on a subject and having legitimate references to help justify my position. It’s about having a thought that is MINE, not a bot or anybody else…thus that poll, ‘is authenticity dead’ came directly from my beautiful mind.   

In the spirit of authenticity and AI, I asked ChatGPT4 what authenticity means and it gave me these 3 aspects:   

  1. Consistency: Authentic brands maintain a consistent identity across all touchpoints. Their message, tone, visual style, and customer experience remain steady, providing a sense of reliability and familiarity to their audience. 
  2. Honesty: Authentic brands tell the truth. They don’t hide their flaws or failures, nor do they overpromise and underdeliver. They understand that customers value honesty and can sense when a brand isn’t being genuine. 
  3. Meaningful Actions: Authentic brands don’t just talk about their values—they live them. They take concrete actions that reflect their commitment to their values, whether that’s through ethical sourcing practices, robust community involvement, or exceptional customer service. 

I think these are great! Honestly, I do. The question is, if you were writing a blog or a post on behalf of yourself or your business, would you just take these as is, or would you adjust this thought so it makes sense for your values and expertise?

Right now, most people are just taking the result and putting it as is, THUS authenticity and thought leadership ARE on the brink of DISRUPTION, maybe even EXTINCTION, in my humble opinion.  

How Generative AI Could Disrupt Creative Work 

I read an incredibly insightful article from Harvard Business Review about how generative AI could disrupt creative work. First, I’d like to point out for this article, I’m doing my own personal research outside of AI and citing the article here to give credibility ????  

The article points out, “Generative AI could be the biggest change in the cost structure of information production since the creation of the printing press in 1439.” 

printing press

There are 3 scenarios discussed:  

  • An explosion of AI-assisted innovation: This scenario isn’t (necessarily) a threat to people who do creative work. Rather than putting many creators out of work, AI will support humans to do the work they already perform, but simply allowing them to do it with greater speed and efficiency. 
  • Machines monopolize creativity: The unfair algorithmic competition and inadequate governance leads to the crowding out of authentic human creativity. Human writers, producers, and creators are drowned out by algorithmically generated content, with some talented creators even opting out of the market. 
  • “Human-made” commands a premium: The “techlash” resumes with a focus against algorithmically generated content and people begin to value authentic creativity more again and may be willing to pay a premium for it.
AI technology

My perspective…it’s all of this. AI is not a new technology. It’s just being democratized right now and getting mass marketed.  

So we’re just starting to see the AI assisted innovation hit and then I think machines will push out a lot of creatives (sooner than we think). And I HOPE with regulation and smart people, we’ll move to a place where human made becomes the premium. But with any technology wave, will go through a massive rise and a massive fall and then balance out…let’s just be the people that help balance it all out.  

4 Tips to Maintain Authenticity and Thought Leadership in the AI Era 

Yes, we need to prepare for disruption. But we humans are the ones creating the AI and WE are the ones that are alive. We are changing and evolving every day and a computer will never keep up with the most powerful computer out there: our brains.  

While the rise of AI may be threatening the authenticity of marketing, it’s up to us to ensure that we maintain our integrity and lead with value.

I leave you with 4 tips, generated by me and ChatGPT4, to maintain the humanness in everything we do:

  1. Align AI with Your Brand Values: Authenticity starts with your brand’s core values so if you don’t know WHO you are and what you stand for, you’re going to blend in with everyone else now more than ever before.  AI should never dictate your values, your value proposition, your skills, and passions. It should be a tool to bring them to life in a faster and more consistent way. For example, if your brand truly values authenticity LIKE I DO, you write an article like this using research, AI and your genuine brain ????  
  2. Be Transparent: Be transparent about how you’re using AI and how it benefits your audience and customers. Make sure you’re abiding by all privacy and data regulations and communicating with your people! This openness will create a human connection with your audience that is truly authentic and creates new opportunities. 
  3. Never Stop Learning: To be a true thought leader in the AI era, you must be a ‘learn it all’ as a I learned from Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.  You must stay in the know around all the latest in marketing and AI from new trends to insights and expert discussions. Regularly share your insights and opinions on these topics, demonstrating your expertise and commitment to understanding this evolving field and BE CLEAR on what is your opinion and give credit where it’s due.  
  4. Encourage Conversation: Engage with your audience around what matters to you and them. Whether it’s through social media, blog posts, webinars, or podcasts, create a two-way conversation with your audience around your true expertise and what you care about. That’s what being human is all about after all…let’s not let AI take that away from us!  
creativity is intelligence having fun

So, let’s embrace the change, and also stay true to who we are.    

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