Transforming Council Interactions with AI: Marketing Guidelines for a Successful AI Assistant Launch
The digital revolution is in full swing, prompting local governments to leverage innovative solutions to enhance their interaction with residents. Conversational AI continues to stand out as a crucial tool in this digital transformation, further enhanced by the latest tech developments with generative AI and the concept of AI Copilots, enabling councils to develop AI-powered assistants that bolster community interactions.
However, the key to successful AI adoption lies in a strategically executed launch and ongoing engagement plan. In this blog post, we explore the key considerations for local councils as they plan to introduce AI assistants to their communities.
Branding to Build Awareness and Trust
A successful AI assistant launch hinges on effective marketing strategies, aimed at informing residents about the benefits of the assistant, encouraging its adoption and making it easy for them to embrace.
Start by giving the assistant a distinct personality and building a brand around it. This helps to establish the AI assistant as a trusted member of the team. Holding internal and external competitions can help drum up excitement and secure early buy-in, crucial for a successful launch. Read our blog “The Power of Branding and Naming: Considerations when building an AI Assistant brand for your council”, for more on this topic.
Identifying and Addressing Audience Segments
A council must take into account the needs and expectations of key internal and external audience segments for successful deployment and uptake of the AI assistant. Tailored communication strategies and training, depending on each audience’s unique needs, concerns, and technology comfort levels, can help ensure smooth adoption, minimise resistance, and maximise benefits. Consider the following audiences and their requirements:
Internal Audience Segments
Council Management - Decision-makers responsible for the overarching implementation of new technology, setting goals, and managing budgetary concerns
IT Department - Responsible for integrating, managing, and troubleshooting the AI assistant
Customer Service Staff - Regularly interacting with the AI assistant so will need training on how to use the system and how it impacts their job role
Councillors/Elected Officials - Instrumental in policy-making, budget approval, and community engagement, and serve as a critical feedback channel
Other Council Staff - All staff members should be considered as they may interact with the AI assistant in some way. They will need to be briefed about the assistant's purpose, capabilities, and potential limitations
External Audience Segments
Residents/Citizens - Primary external audience as the main users of the AI assistant, can be further segmented i.e., based on age, digital literacy, language proficiency
Business Community - Local businesses may interact with the AI assistant for various purposes, such as enquiries, registrations, or permits. They may have different expectations for the AI's capabilities compared to residents
Partners and Suppliers - Other organisations and companies that the council interacts with may also use the AI assistant. Their needs will depend on the nature of their interaction with the council
Special Interest Groups - This may include non-profit organisations, environmental groups, or any other community organisations that interact with the council
Visitors and Tourists - Individuals visiting the area may use the AI assistant for information, services, or support, and their needs may differ from residents
Promote Resident Awareness and Education
Councils should focus on educating residents about the new services and its potential to improve their interactions, such as enhanced accessibility and faster response times. Here are some steps to consider:
Organise informational sessions and workshops to introduce the digital assistant and demonstrate its capabilities
Develop user guides, video how-to guides, and FAQ documents, which can be easily accessed online, to help residents understand how to interact and what to expect
Proactively gather feedback from residents during the initial stages of the AI’s deployment to better understand their concerns, and address them proactively
Publicity and Announcement
The AI assistant’s announcement should aim to generate interest and excitement among residents. Here are some tactics to consider:
Countdown to launch: Activate a countdown to launch campaign 2-4 weeks ahead of launch to build excitement – drip feeding benefits to start educating your audience
Creative campaigns: Develop a creative marketing campaign that showcases the assistant’s capabilities and benefits, using infographics, blog posts and perhaps teaser videos of the technology in action, promoting ease of use and encouraging users to try it out. Consider using ad platforms to extend geo-targeted reach in your local area (i.e. YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Meta)
Social media: Utilise social media channels to promote the assistant and engage with residents, sharing success stories and encouraging residents to share their experiences
PR and media: Leverage local media outlets to spread the word, using press releases, interviews, and feature stories to highlight the assistant’s value for the community
Launch events: Organise launch events, inviting key stakeholders and influencers to test the assistant and share their experiences with their networks
Website signposting: As well as key home page placement for a website AI assistant, consider creating a dedicated landing page on the council's website that introduces the AI assistant and offers helpful resources
Partnerships: Partner with local businesses, community organisations, and schools to help promote the assistant and reach a wider and more diverse audience
Advertising campaigns: Consider direct mail and traditional advertising campaigns (i.e., posters, bus stop signage) to engage users that are less digitally savvy
Award Nominations: Submit nominations for relevant awards for additional exposure, credibility and recognition amongst your peers
Monitoring and Continuous Improvement
To maintain the AI assistant's effectiveness and credibility, councils must closely monitor its performance and use feedback to make improvements. This involves:
Regularly analysing user interactions to identify trends and areas for improvement
Encouraging resident and council staff feedback, either using surveys, focus groups, website pop up overlays, ratings within the AI assistant itself, or verbal feedback gathered during your contact centre interactions
Collaborating with your AI partner to refine the assistant’s capabilities and knowledgebase
Ensuring that the AI assistant stays up to date with changes in local government policies, regulations, and services
Publicising new features or improvements being made to showcase ongoing development, customer service and innovation
Engaging Senior Leadership
Any successful AI project requires robust backing from senior council leaders. To this end, we’ve seen the most success with our customers where the AI project has been clearly presented as a strategic initiative that aligns with the council’s long-term goals and objectives. Their robust business case which outlines the anticipated benefits and potential ROI, is continuously updated to demonstrate success at every stage against plans, especially demonstrating early successes and quick wins during the first couple of months of launch, to build confidence. Customers that have seen the most success foster a culture of innovation, with senior leaders championing the AI assistant and promoting its adoption within the council, at all levels.
The launch of an AI assistant can be a game-changer for local government councils, enabling them to transform their interactions with residents and deliver a more efficient and engaging experience. By focusing on resident awareness, effective publicity, strategic announcements and continuous improvement, councils can maximise the potential of their AI-powered assistant and drive successful adoption.
Furthermore, broadcasting a secondary message about driving digital transformation and self-service will help councils gain recognition amongst their peers as pioneers in the application of AI-driven technology.
We’re here to support
Start planning your AI assistant’s launch plans today. Our marketing team is here to support you, ensuring you create effective marketing and communication launch strategies that focus on awareness and education to drive user adoption. Reach out to our marketing team (firstname.lastname@example.org) as early as you can in the process to start the discussion.