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Deepfakes Are HereWhat Brands Need to Know

Trending deepfakes and their impact on your brand

What do Pope Francis and Donald Trump have in common? They were both targets of viral deepfake AI-generated images that took the internet by storm—spreading like wildfire across social media.

In the digital landscape, deepfakes are blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s fake. Recent high-profile AI-generated images like Drippy Pope featuring Pope Francis in a white puffer coat that he never wore, the chaotic arrest of Donald Trump that never happened, and Tom Cruise’s TikTok Tips that he never gave prove that deepfake technology is everywhere—and it’s powerful enough to fool the human eye. A deepfake image of an explosion at the Pentagon even caused a dip in the stock market.

Which got us thinking: How much of what we see and hear is manipulated by AI? And how can marketers prepare for it?

As the technology evolves—becoming more accessible and more accurate—marketers need to be ready to spot deepfakes to protect a brand’s reputation and credibility while building trust with their targets. We’ll explain how to spot deepfakes so you can protect your brand, yourself, and consumers from misinformation.

How to spot AI-generated images

Advancements in technology such as Midjourney, DALL.E2, and Stable Diffusion have made it extremely difficult to detect real images and videos from deepfakes—and it’s easy for virtually anyone with an account to create them.

Thankfully, the technology isn’t perfect, and there are ways to spot these misleading digital impersonations. Stay sharp with these tips to detect AI-generated images.

Look at the details carefully

Pay attention to lighting, shadows, and reflections in the image or video. If a person’s hands are being shown, look closely at the details on the hands and fingers, which AI has struggled to perfect and frequently generates extra fingers.

Go with your gut. If something seems off, it probably is and it’s worth closer investigation.

Check the source

Look at the original source of the video or image. If it comes from an unreliable source or an unverified account, you should question the authenticity of the content.

Analyze the movements

Deepfakes often have awkward movements or gestures that are difficult for humans to perform. If the person in the video appears stiff or robotic, that’s a sign it may be a deepfake.

Listen to the audio

Deepfakes aren’t just limited to images in photos and videos. They can also manipulate audio, making it sound like someone is saying something they never actually said. Listen for inconsistencies or breaks in the audio.

When all else fails, and you get fooled by a deepfake, rest assured that the media industry, the FBI, and tech companies are working to combat deepfakes and the spread of disinformation. In fact, Microsoft announced two new technologies to combat disinformation and new programs to help educate the public about the problem, partnering with a consortium of media companies to raise awareness.

How to protect your brand

Producing and sharing deepfakes without proper disclosures can damage the reputations of brands, public figures, and everyday people because the images and videos generated have become so convincing. Previously, this technology was limited to Hollywood movie studios, but in 2023, it’s easily accessed online. Read on for marketing strategies to protect your brand from potential deepfake debacles.

Public relations

The communication and crisis management mantra has long been to control the narrative, but in the age of deepfakes, that isn’t always an option. The unpredictable nature of deepfakes, coupled with their newness, has led many brands to rethink their strategy.

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Here are three tips your brand can incorporate into its public relations strategy to protect against the emergence of deepfake technology:

  • Create a process for verifying deepfake uses against your brand and establish a reporting process for your team to identify AI-generated fakes.
  • Set up a strategy for deepfake content removal from social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram have guidelines that can help your brand.
  • Prepare a communications plan to inform internal and external stakeholders and targets of potential misinformation before it happens. Having this in place can help you respond quickly and minimize reputation damage.

Reputation management and social listening

Creating a solid online reputation management strategy can help you safeguard your reputation online and quickly address a deepfake. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Use social listening to monitor your brand’s presence online, including social media, search engines, and other online forums. Doing so lets you stay on top of conversations about your brand, including any digital impersonations.
  • Create and share content that educates internal and external targets on deepfakes. Not only will you educate them, but they’ll be vigilant in helping you identify misinformation sooner. (Hint: You can start by sharing this blog with your internal teams!)
  • Build strong relationships with your targets. When you do, they’re more likely to come to your defense when deepfakes or misinformation is circulated.


As AI technology continues to improve and deepfakes become more common and convincing, it’s crucial for brands across industries to be prepared. These strategies can help you protect your brand’s reputation while building credibility and trust. Need help developing your brand’s strategy? Let’s talk.


SEO & Content Marketing Specialist