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How HVACR Companies Can Prepare for Deepfakes

May 3, 2024
As AI technology spreads and becomes more accessible, business leaders must prepare for how to handle a deepfake crisis.

HVACR companies should list potential deepfakes that could damage their reputations.

Imagine if an AI-generated video of a worker wearing a company uniform doing something inappropriate in a customer’s home circulated online. Whether the video was real or not, public concerns of fraudulent activity could arise, ultimately affecting the company’s reputation. 

Deepfakes, or AI-generated video, photo, or audio files, aren’t just for celebrities and politicians, they can also be used to manipulate or spread misinformation that can destroy an HVACR company's reputation. 

In today’s digital age, anyone with a computer can access online tools that create deepfakes. In fact, depending on the AI tool being used, it can take less than 30 seconds to create a damaging deepfake. 

As AI technology spreads and becomes more accessible, business leaders must prepare for how to handle a deepfake crisis. Below are simple tips that could save their business. 

How to Prepare for a Deepfake Crisis

1. Prepare a Crisis Playbook

Every company should have a crisis playbook in case an incident happens. AI is not going away. Companies must update their crisis playbooks to incorporate an AI crisis, this includes deepfake attacks. HVACR companies should list potential deepfakes that could damage their reputations. Some HVACR industry examples of damaging misinformation could include; security risks for homeowners, damage to property, misrepresentation of before and after results, or fake testimonials or reviews. After listing potential crises, put a plan of action into place to prepare your team in an emergency. HVACR businesses rely heavily on positive reviews and a strong reputation. A crisis communications playbook is crucial for companies who want to retain their positive image to clients and customers. 

 2. Prove the Deepfake is Fake

If a deepfake attack happens your company must be able to verify that the deepfake is not real. It’s more likely that people will believe your company if the deepfake is verified as false from a third-party source. Create partnerships with third-party AI experts whom you can reach out to if needed. When a crisis hits, customers and clients need reassurance that they can trust your company. This is especially important for HVACR companies that depend on customer trust for business continuity and success. 

3. Employee Training

Most often an employee will be the first to recognize that misinformation about a company is being spread. Educate your employees and provide them with a step-by-step process that they should follow if they believe they have seen a deepfake that negatively affects the company. First on that list is reporting the Deepfake to company leaders so that they can implement the Crisis Playbook plan to disprove the Deepfake. Remember that media spreads fast and employees need to act quickly so leadership can spring into action before a deepfake is spread too far. 

 

Josh Weiss has worked 25+ years in the PR industry and is the President and founder of 10 to 1 PR, a strategic communications firm focused on helping clients across North America- including home services companies operating in multiple states-  grow positive brand awareness.

He is also an expert in crisis communications management having helped numerous companies through difficult times. Josh can be contacted at [email protected] or for more tips, download a free deepfake crisis communications preparation guide at 10to1pr.com/deepfakes.

About the Author

Josh Weiss | President

Josh Weiss has worked 25+ years in the PR industry and is the President and founder of 10 to 1 PR, a strategic communications firm focused on helping clients across North America- including home services companies operating in multiple states-  grow positive brand awareness.

He is also an expert in crisis communications management having helped numerous companies through difficult times. Josh can be contacted at [email protected] or for more tips, download a free deepfake crisis communications preparation guide at 10to1pr.com/deepfakes.