Treble recently announced the formation of an Artificial Intelligence Practice Group to add to its growing list of specialties. Vice President Will Kruisbrink will lead up the new practice for the agency out of San Francisco.

Kruisbrink has worked with AI companies such as LandingAI, SambaNova and Constructor. As a former senior vice president and partner at another B2B tech agency, he has led multiple award-winning campaigns, including a 2024 PRovoke Media North American SABRE Award Finalist nomination in the Technology: Software and Services category.

In this Q&A, Kruisbrink talks about his excitement about the agency’s newest practice group and its potential for clients.

Why did Treble create a practice group dedicated to AI?

It’s accurate to say that every enterprise software is becoming an AI company, and not only that, artificial intelligence is becoming a critical part of nearly every industry. The AI companies building these applications can be seen as the ones providing the “picks and shovels” of the AI revolution. The companies providing those AI tools are looking for ways to effectively communicate their value and innovations. It’s important for them to partner with a trusted advisor who can provide the right strategies for honing their messaging.

We believe that AI is at a critical juncture; whether it can deliver on its early promising applications will play out over the next several years. Communicating clearly & honestly about what AI can and can’t do will be an important role for PR & media professionals.

What do you find most appealing about working with AI companies?

I like that AI started as an academic, research-driven pursuit. Engineers and scientists tinkering under the auspices of a wealthy corporate benefactor have resulted in some of the more interesting technologies we use today; Bell Labs and SkunkWorks are two great examples. The brilliant minds working at organizations such as DeepMind and OpenAI started this revolution out of a curiosity that I find very inspiring.

Living in San Francisco, I hear fascinating discussions about AI nearly everywhere I go. It’s really the next big frontier in tech with almost limitless potential. I love learning about emerging technologies and how they might change the way we live and work.

What should AI companies look for in a PR agency partner?

AI/machine learning is a complex combination of programming, data science and statistics. While it might not be reasonable to expect your PR partner to be fluent in the technology, it should be required that your partner understand its history and underpinnings.

Certainly, they should look for experience in the field. As a B2B-focused agency, Treble understands the industry-specific challenges that AI companies face. There are so many facets: product announcements, thought leadership, funding and more, all with both tech and business angles.

Lots of agencies will hype up their established media relationships, and while that’s important, it’s more important to be able to create good stories. The ability to come up with timely, creative, interesting angles for journalists is a lot more effective than “who you know.”

There’s also something to be said for an agency that specializes in the deeper areas of technology. The ability to translate technical concepts into compelling stories is a lot trickier than it sounds.

There are so many stories about AI and AI companies. What can organizations do to stand out?

It’s important to lead with good intentions and expert analysis. Cutting through the clutter means finding excellent spokespeople at your company who can deliver the organization’s message clearly and concisely, often tailoring the message to the audience.

With roots in data science, it may make sense to forward more technical experts who are rooted in the math behind transformers and other machine learning algorithms.

There are a lot of people out there who may consider themselves thought leaders in the space, but only a few can turn those thoughts into a compelling story.

We’re also at the point where the AI hype is beginning to fade, and audiences are looking for real-world applications. Specificity is becoming more important, along with a focus on solving particular problems.

Also, a fast-moving company can find a way to insert themselves into developing news stories, providing expert commentary and context to complex issues.