December 18

Embracing ChatGPT for Higher Education: Balancing Brand Authenticity with AI Innovation


by | Dec 18, 2023 | Featured, Strategies, Tools

Brand authenticity is almost always on the top of the list of values that resonate with young students. How can you stay deeply authentic while embracing ChatGPT for higher education?

You may feel that using AI-enhanced tools is “cheating” or somehow inauthentic when it comes to creating content for your higher education brand. 

But using ChatGPT for higher education doesn’t have to be inauthentic to your brand’s perspective, interests, history, values, or personality.

In this post, I want to explore ways in which you, as a higher ed marketer, can balance your brand’s authenticity with new technology like ChatGPT.

The Rise of AI in Higher Education Marketing

In recent years, generative artificial intelligence (AI), especially ChatGPT, has made significant inroads into various sectors, including higher education. 

ChatGPT for higher education is an innovative tool that can streamline processes, personalize communication, and enhance content creation. 

When it comes to brand authenticity, most higher ed marketers are not worried about how AI can help them streamline recruitment by providing instant, automated responses to common admissions queries.

Likewise, personalizing communication by programming ChatGPT to recognize individual student needs and preferences, through which it can give tailored responses, isn’t really a concern.

But when it comes to content creation in particular, many higher education marketers grapple with the question: Can we use ChatGPT without compromising our brand’s authenticity?

Put simply, can a robot stay true to who you really are in the content it creates? 

Understanding Brand Authenticity

Before we dive into how ChatGPT for higher education can align with your brand authenticity, let’s define what brand authenticity means in the context of higher education. 

It is the perception that your institution’s messaging and actions are genuine, consistent, and true to its core values and identity. 

Students, especially the younger generation, are incredibly adept at identifying and aligning with brands that showcase genuine authenticity.

As I wrote in this blog post about marketing to Gen Z prospective students, Voda lists four things that are markers of authenticity for an organization:

  • They stand for something beyond just making money.
  • They make a positive difference in the world.
  • They’re transparent about what they do and how.
  • They’re “real,” incorporating relatable people in their communications.

According to what we’re seeing from the younger generations, the goal is clear: maintain this level of authenticity in your content while taking advantage of all the benefits of ChatGPT.

So how exactly do we do that?

Calibrate ChatGPT to Your Brand Voice and Values

The key to maintaining authenticity while using ChatGPT for higher education is to ensure that all content generated aligns with your institution’s voice and values. For clarity purposes, the following suggestions are assuming you are using the fully-functional ChatGPT 4 version (only available in Open AI’s ChatGTP Plus subscription).

Start by feeding ChatGPT examples of your existing content that exemplifies your brand’s tone, style, and messaging. 

Ask ChatGPT to analyze the content, looking for the key brand elements that make up the content. 

Use your brand style guide to further clarify with ChatGPT the requirements you’ve set for your brand messaging.

Just as you would in working with any third-party assistant or freelancer, make sure to state clearly to ChatGPT the objectives for each content piece you’re creating. 

This will all help the AI learn and replicate your unique brand voice in future outputs.

Input Your Marketing Personas for Customization and Personalization

ChatGPT for higher education excels at creating personalized content. 

Use this to your advantage by customizing ChatGPT’s outputs to address specific audiences, such as prospective students, alumni, or faculty. 

You can input your marketing personas into your customized ChatGPT so that the AI is aware of the different audiences you’re trying to reach. 

Personalized content, when aligned with your brand’s ethos, enhances authenticity and connection with your audience.

Infuse Originality in ChatGPT for Higher Education

While ChatGPT is a powerful tool for generating content ideas, it’s crucial to infuse originality into the AI-generated content. 

This can be achieved by adding unique insights, data, and stories relevant to your institution. 

Think deeply about what makes your education brand unique, and find ways to include these differentiating factors in the content that ChatGPT is generating.

By doing so, you ensure that the content is not just another generic piece, but one that resonates with your brand’s unique narrative.

Maintain a Human Touch

Remember, ChatGPT is a tool to aid your content strategy, not replace it. 

The human element in content creation is irreplaceable, especially when it comes to conveying empathy, passion, and the human experience of education. 

Use ChatGPT for initial drafts or idea generation, and then inject human creativity and emotion to bring the content to life.

Constantly be on the hunt for new student, alumni, and faculty stories that convey the essence of life at your school that you can readily input into the content you’re crafting with your AI “cobots.”

Ensure Consistency Across Channels

Ensure that the content created by ChatGPT for higher education is consistent across all marketing channels. 

This requires a human editor to read through the content across channels and modify it to match the tone and style of your brand. 

AI tools like ChatGPT have no awareness of the big picture of your marketing strategy. That’s a piece of the work that only you can do! 

Consistency in messaging, tone, and style across your website, social media, email campaigns, and other platforms reinforces your brand identity and authenticity.

Best Practices for Embracing ChatGPT for Higher Education Marketing:

  • Regularly update and train the AI with your latest brand guidelines and content examples.
  • Collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to provide insights and feedback on AI-generated content.
  • Use ChatGPT for time-intensive tasks like data analysis, leaving more room for creative and strategic planning.
  • Continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of AI-generated content to ensure it aligns with engagement goals and brand perception.

Enjoy the AI Revolution

Incorporating ChatGPT for higher education into your marketing strategy does not mean sacrificing authenticity. 

On the contrary, when used thoughtfully, ChatGPT can enhance your ability to create meaningful, personalized, and authentic content that resonates with your audience. 

It’s about striking the right balance between leveraging AI’s efficiency and maintaining the human essence that lies at the core of your brand’s identity. 

Embrace the future of AI in higher education marketing, but do so in a way that reinforces the authenticity and values that define your institution.

Interested in a custom AI Masterclass for you or your team? Connect with us today!

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