Karla Jo Helms Podcast Transcript

Headshot of Chief Evangelist Karla Jo Helms

Karla Jo Helms Podcast Transcript

Karla Jo Helms joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, Home of The Digital Executive Podcast.

Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Karla Jo Helms. Karla Jo Helms is the Chief Evangelist and Anti PR Strategist for JOTO PR Disruptors. Carla Jo learned first-hand how unforgiving business can be when millions of dollars are on the line, and how the control of public opinion often determines whether one company is happily chosen or not.

Or another is brutally rejected being an alumni of crisis management. Karla Jo has worked with litigation attorneys, private investigators, and the media to help restore companies of goodwill back into the good graces of public opinion. Karla Jo operates on the ethic of getting it right the first time, not relying on second chances and doing what it takes to excel.

Karla Jo has patterned her agency on the perfect balance of crisis management, entrepreneurial insight, and proven public relations experience. Helms speaks globally on public relations, how the PR industry itself has lost its way and how, in the right hands, corporations can harness the power of anti-PR to drive markets and impact market perception.

Well good afternoon, KJ. Welcome to the show!

Karla Jo Helms: Hey, thanks Brian. I’m happy to be here.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely love this and KJ, you know, I traverse the globe, 50 countries and counting doing this podcast and I some occasionally I get you know, someone in my hometown or I’ll get somebody that’s in PR. Normally I don’t interview PR publicists.

Right? But I know you’re the anti-PR strategist, but I love having a publicist on. So, I appreciate that. Sure. Carla, KJ, we’re going to jump right into the questions here. Given your rich background in crisis management and your role in founding JOTO PR Disruptors, can you share what inspired the creation of Anti PR and how different differentiates from traditional public relation approaches?

Your work seems deeply rooted in providing measurable results and shifting public opinion. What was the pivotal moment that led you to develop this approach?

Karla Jo Helms: That’s a good question. I started off in crisis management right out of school. So that was my foray into public relations. That’s about 9 percent of the industry.

And public relations when you’re molding a public opinion, which is what you’re doing, but when you’re doing it on the crisis side, you’re trained in strategy and those tactics and methodologies is based on engineering and physics laws. And so, it’s a very mathematical equation. I learned early on how corporations throw their competitors under the bus using public relations and many companies that don’t know the name of the game are taken out by that sort of warfare. And I do call it warfare. So, I learned early on that companies that didn’t know the game of public opinion and building a foundation of positive public opinion and good works well publicized were easily.

Thrown under the bus and taken out and they were always fast-growing companies that were taking over the market share. And bringing something new to the market that would have changed the ecosystem and taken it away from their bigger behemoths. And so anti PR is just a trademark process that I developed that uses the crisis management techniques and the media’s algorithm to help.

Unknown companies or startups, right, that are doing disruptive, innovative things, get them an insane amount of publicity so that they have third party credibility can educate their markets and allows them to compete with the bigger behemoths without the threat of a public opinion attack.

Brian Thomas: It’s gosh, it must be hard to, you know, come into this industry right out of school and then see that it’s just cutthroat. You know, that’s got to be really challenging. And I see a lot of stuff that goes on out there, but I had no idea that this can happen in the PR space. So, I appreciate you sharing that. I really, really do. You know,

Karla Jo Helms: I will tell you this. It is cutthroat. I’m so glad I earned it, like, learned it early on. I learned from some of the best crisis PRs, the best litigation attorneys, the best private investigators in the world and. The reason why it’s cutthroat is that PR and goodwill drives a third of the valuation of a company. So, think about that.

Brian Thomas: Wow. Amazing. Well, thank you. I’ve already grabbed a few gems out of this podcast, just on one question. So

Karla Jo Helms: So good. We’re done. No. Kidding!

Brian Thomas: To get the rest for nine 99 a month for 36 months, right? So, KJ, I appreciate that. Let’s jump into the next question. How can businesses positively harness AI’s power to shape brand awareness and strategy and how critical is it for them to understand AI algorithms?

Karla Jo Helms: Well, I’m going to tell you, it’s more the media’s algorithm. Let’s go with the first part of the question. You know, how to use AI to shape, you know, brand strategies and communication, right? That was your question.

Brian Thomas: Yes, basically, how do we leverage that AI in that, in that realm?

Karla Jo Helms: Yeah. You know, we have been using AI models for years and, you know, now that chat GPT has come out, it’s way more accessible to many people, but it doesn’t replace, and it’s not a factor to use to be lazy.

It doesn’t replace like the creativity. You can use it as a tool to level up to give ideas to enhance your imagination, your creativity and so forth. But you need to be very careful about having it craft. All of your communications, today, Google’s already cracking down on what they consider spam AI content.

And even many media outlets are looking at, you know, byline articles that come in and. Press releases and so forth to see if it’s like all written by AI. So there’s a human element that you can never take out of communication because you won’t reach your audiences. So, the use of AI has to be very intelligently used, but to basically level up if that makes them.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. And being in the publishing business as well here in media we see a lot of that. And so, I appreciate the insights for sure. And KG, what specific steps can business leaders and communication teams take to better utilize AI for beneficial purposes while mitigating the risks of its misuse?

Karla Jo Helms: Well, mitigating the risks of its misuse is just what I said. Don’t have it be a replacement for your communication, but you know, we are in the age of this cognitive Revolution, right? And there is going to be more and already is more proliferation of content out there, right? Produced by AI teams are able to do things faster.

In a short amount of time, put out more content companies and brands are going to have to be very aware of how to guide and control public opinion for the brand. And that is the top of the funnel that is really guiding and controlling the goodwill of the brand. What people understand about your products and services and the problems, the situations, the harm, the controversies, the money wasted, the money lost, you know, the money to be gained, right?

The invalidation of the status quo, like all of the problems that their target audiences and prospects are trying to solve that. Is what needs to be communicated in a brand story and use AI to then help give guidance on how to formulate that type of communication across different. Channels of the marketing and sales funnel, top of funnel content, middle of funnel content, bottom of funnel content, everything has a different rule of engagement, but it.

Brings it. First of all, it changes people’s minds and gets them to think newly. And then when they start understanding you, then they realize, oh, they have a problem. Then they realize, oh, you can help me with my problem. Then they realize I can pick between you and another competitor. And so I think companies today, especially when they’re disruptive and innovative and doing things for the greater good, have a duty to communicate more in the public opinion realm than less.

They need to guide with that human element and that is what’s going to stand out against this onslaught and glutton of AI content.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. Very well put and you’re right. Just, you know, when. I was discussing AI several years ago, and we talked about it’s a human and machine symbiotic relationship and that’s how it is still today.

We still need the human’s part of this process to make sure it’s authentic and make sure that. These things don’t go off the rail. So, I appreciate the share and KJ last question of the day, how can businesses strike a balance between leveraging, between leveraging AI for strategic advantage and maintaining authenticity in their brand messaging?

Karla Jo Helms: Well, you know, one of the things we go back to is you mentioned like the AI algorithms, and I told you that, that there’s actually media algorithms. People know there’s social media algorithms and, you know, search engines and so forth, but. The media itself is a business, and it has its own algorithm for consistency, putting out enough content, right?

Or knowing the different cadences where you can actually build momentum, right? In the court of public opinion, and, one of the best things you can do is truly understand that and how it relates to your brand goals and how much or how little you need to communicate in order to reach critical mass for your brand.

Knowing that you can then really harness AI to help you with that creative strategy to know, okay, how much publicity do I need to have? Right. And then coupled with that, what are my other functions of communication that I need to have that needs to couple or go with that? And what is the cadence for each one of those?

So, it’s not too much. It’s not too little. You can actually map that out mathematically. With AI and you can learn how these big corporations that are public companies mathematically know how to take over share a voice in the market.

Brian Thomas: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. And you blended such. Great gems around how AI can be leveraged and obviously there’s some pitfalls with that, but this whole PR space that I get to be exposed to on a regular basis with a lot of great guests here.

So, KJ, I appreciate that. And it was such a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

Karla Jo Helms: Thank you. And congratulations on your near 900 podcast episode. I think that’s fantastic.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. Thank you. And bye for now.

Karla Jo Helms Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.


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