9 Ways for Brands to make Sense of Artificial Intelligence

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By Maimun Mustafa

As Artificial intelligence, or AI as it is more popularly known, begins to shape people’s daily lives, brands have to seriously consider how they should realign their behaviour and interaction to engage more effectively with the evolving desires of customers. The rapid rise of AI in the market today is all about how this trend will disrupt multiple industries, redefine businesses, and bring in new job roles. However, less attention is being paid to leveraging the technology towards brand strategy. Experts believe that in the future, intelligent machines will become crucial tools for formulating and acting on brand strategies.

CXOs need to establish that AI is not a new market gimmick but a force here to disrupt business in days to come. It is a timely technology and it is there to stay.

AI Available for All Sizes
One of the best aspects of AI is that it can be leveraged for success by any size of the enterprise. Small businesses can actually deliver similar experiences as giant corporate competitors by employing predictive analytics operations. In fact, eager entrepreneurs with innovative brands can get a better foot into the market, thanks to ad-targeting using AI.

Clear the Noise in the Clutter
With the number of consumers using ad-blockers increasing, brands need to cut through this noise to deliver an honest and effective message to consumers. This has given birth to an AI war, where creative brand professionals are finding themselves to provide an engaging user experience. Those who are not yet leveraging predictive analytics and powerful algorithms to deliver better user experience simply do not stand a chance to stay in business.

Live the Simple Life
AI has become a prime conversation topic among branding professionals. Why so? The core task of any value proposition is that it should make life easier and AI does exactly that. Therefore, creative marketers are equally concerned about AI in addition to their tech-savvy programmer counterparts because the market demands attention to this exponentially growing phenomenon. We are being bombarded with an invasive amount of information, and we need to be able to process these massive quantities of data available and optimize their usage. However, in many scenarios, people have to go by mere intuition. Is it feasible? Maybe in a century or a millennium, yes. When it does, the results are not usually well targeted. That’s where AI comes into play. AI is no longer an apocalyptic nightmare that was prophesied in The Terminator movies but a lucrative prospect for business brands to take advantage of. Think of IBM, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Lenovo, Coca Cola, Adidas, Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft. What do they have in common? They have all begun using AI in their marketing and branding strategies to give simpler and better experiences to customers.

Leverage AI in Digital Advertising
After programmatic and cognitive advertising (which are based on advanced algorithms helping with demand and supply optimization) AI advertising is the new term to look out for. There was a time we used to make ads ourselves, and many of us still do. However now you may not need to bother as the AI can now make ads for you. That is exactly how Coca Cola and Quartz, partnered with DigitasLBi Hewlett Packard Enterprise, decided to win the market over with this win-win. Additionally IBM Watson has become the most empowering tool for any business, and still more companies are using AI to boost sales. Another great example is Albert, Harley-Davidson’s AI-driven platform for marketing. The Albert AI helped increase sales by 2,930 percent and saved time and effort for Harley-Davidson’s marketers. Moreover, the numerous outstanding features Albert had to offer made making ads really effective. Albert’s of the word “call” performed almost 450 percent better than those with the word “buy.” An obvious improvement.

Lead the AI Age with Lead Generation
Companies like Gazelle.ai make sense of myriads of data and through machine learning to surface great leads: growth companies. Gazelle.ai was designed from the ground up to help business development professionals work smarter and faster and to get those professionals in front of the right companies with the right information at the right time. Gazelle.ai’s heuristic algorithms access vast pools of data across multiple sources including industry, spatial, and firm-level data spanning more than ten years. The platform consumes data from leading providers and looks at hundreds of signals such as financial ratios, pension payments, establishment numbers, executive salaries. It also looks at data like export activity at the county/industry level (level, growth, intensity) and state/county level variables including quality of infrastructure, business costs, patents, as well as 4-digit and 6-digit industry-specific data.Combining this rich data with AI techniques such as dynamic deep learning, neuroplasticity and dynamic input attention, Gazelle.ai is able to consistently identify companies poised for growth and expansion.

Incorporate The Customer Service Factor
After “advertising,” “personalization” is the first phrase we hear when talking about AI in branding. Brands are rushing to make experiences more personalized in their marketing plans. However, personalized customer service remains a distant dream without AI. Personalization and strong communication go hand in hand. It is near to impossible for a brand to dedicate a personal human assistant to each customer when it comes to after sales service. Here come AI personal shop assistants and chatbots to the rescue in the communication supply chain. More interactive shopping experiences can also result as a consequence of integrating AI with branding. Product recommendations to analyze cross-sells and upsells tend to be faster than any human, and result in a creative engagement. For example, Starbucks and its virtual barista allows customers to place orders by tapping a button and communicating with the personal assistant. On the other hand, American Eagle’s Aerie chatbot attracted more users with the AI than with all their other social media channels combined. The entertaining and interactive means helps brands in winning audiences over.

Strategize with SEO
The most significant aspect to keep in mind about AI in SEO is the power of voice search like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. These technologies have forever changed search queries. As such, question words like “how,” “where,” “what,” “who,” “when,” “why,” “close,” and “nearby” have all become query triggers. This is why brands are having to face the need to change their keyword planning strategy as well. You can also leverage AI in your content marketing. AI saves time, delivers generated content, customized news feeds, and predictive intelligence.

Design Digital with AI
AI website design can be found most notably in The Grid. It is called the website of the future, and perhaps it designs itself without any human help deserves respect. This is only the beginning—we’re only at the starting line of a tremendously promising adventure in marketing and design..The Pokémon Go obsession a few years back showed that augmented reality (AR) could rule the mainstream. AR has already become an inherent part of our lives, and virtual reality (VR) glasses, virtual desktops, Google’s Tilt brush, and many more tools and toys are selling themselves on the net. Lenovo’s New Glass C200 combined AI and AR in a very smart way. In the near future, we’ll have a chance to make purchases in VR environments as well. Virtual Kiosks can save up space and virtual assistants can help brands get an edge in cutting costs of labor while still keeping a human touch.

Artificial Mind and Heart
This availability of IBM’s Watson, Amazon’s AWS, and Microsoft’s Azure offers the potential for brands to experiment with machine learning applications at minimal expense.Cloud-based AI services enable developers to build products that a few years ago would have seemed like magic. As these services provide much of the processing and computational power, the job of product teams switches from designing algorithms to furnishing usable data with a desired output in mind.To put it another way, cloud services allow teams developing applications that rely on machine learning to shift some of their resourcing focus from machine learning-specialists to product designers.

However, no matter how tempting it is to ride into a new technology wave, incremental steps might be a better tactic when it comes to AI. The balance is ensuring brands retain moments of empathy and relationships when it matters. The smartest experiences are the sum of all net consumers experiences combined. AI has provided for smoother and more human-like communication interactions, thereby creating stronger connections between people, machines, and the brands behind them. If we keep branding at the center of how these relationships are built, it is imperative that these machines have “heart” in whatever they communicate to end users.

*The Writer is a Serial Entrepreneur and can be reached at maimun@globalchamber.org

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