In the age of AI and marketing, there are lots of debates about what the future holds for brands. Will AI help brands become more relevant or will it cause a rift between brands and our ability as humans who buy stuff to make conscious choices? What, overall, will AI contribute to the quality of our interactions with brands as we march steadily into the machine-learning future?
When it comes to the value of great marketing, it’s all about how that brand engages with their customers and the degree to which they help make our lives better.
But we already know that.
So, wouldn’t a brand embracing AI already send it a step in that right direction? Perhaps this quote from President Obama back in 2016 (ironically, given as part of a memorial speech in Hiroshima) will add some perspective:
“Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us.”
Obviously, he was referring to the creation of the atomic bomb, but how do we apply that logic to marketing?
For example, we’ve seen the rise of ideals/purpose-driven brands and their documented success with regard to growth and financial performance. That’s a big part of enhancing quality of life; aligning with values and being a source of affirmation, motivation, empathy, and meaningful connection.
According to a 2017 Havas media study, 75% of us expect brands to make more of a contribution to our quality of life. That means it’s not just about getting a great quality product for a good price, or perception of value based on a product alone. The context of this tidy statistic is actually related to how brands leverage Artificial Intelligence, or AI—the non-human but equally value-added revolution shaping the present and future state of marketing at astonishing speed, whether your brand has digital roots or not. AI brings a measure of efficiency that, in many ways, helps us simplify our lives in an increasingly complicated and busy world.
Certainly, there have been some amazing advances in AI that make it more strategic and even, in some instances, more enjoyable to interact with. But the real challenge is making sure brands don’t neglect human engagement as a complementary requirement to the use of machine-driven engagement.
So, what are some opportunities for brands in the age of AI to think about how their human side can augment their chances of building and maintaining a loyal following? Well, it’s important in this context to understand the roles that AI can and can’t play. With inspiration taken from the Emotive Brand blog, there are four things human intelligence requires that AI or machine intelligence does not: empathy, creativity, insights, and aspiration.
Let’s consider what that means for brands that want to use AI as a marketing tool without sacrificing their ability to be more human.
The moral of the story here is that AI is a great tool for brands and can even help them be better at being more human. At SCOUT we prioritize the conversation about Human Brands and push our clients to dig deeper to make more meaningful connections with the people who buy their stuff.
According to Roy Amara, president of The Institute For The Future, when it comes to technology, we tend to overestimate the effect it will have in the short run and underestimate the impact it will have in the long run. That’s why it’s important to understand the limitations and risk factors for brands that are presented by AI, despite its advantages. It’s why it’s important to always invest in maintaining a literal, not metaphorical or “virtual,” human touch.